Once again I have been surprised, and a little dismayed at how long it has been since I did anything with one of the goals I previously achieved.
My friend Bek runs Urban Indigenous in Perth, and she had a booking for Monday morning, so I opted to join her and her customer Ricard from Sweden, along with one of Bek’s English tour guide friends, Kim.
We set off in the tour bus, complete with genuine kangaroo skins on each of the seats, and once we had collected Ricard, headed to the home of Sheila, a renowned aboriginal artist. Here we were given an introduction to the traditional symbols used in aboriginal art, and were set loose to create our own timeless masterpieces. Mine involved a lot of travelling and crossing water!
Sheila was fascinating to chat to, and had some incredible stories. She was one of the “Stolen Generation”, taken from her family at the age of eleven, and housed in horrendous conditions in a convent for the rest of her childhood. The “Stolen Generation” is one of the darker parts of recent Australian history, and is movingly portrayed in the film Rabbit Proof Fence.
Next stop was at a wonderful art gallery, where we tried many types of bush tucker, both traditional and contemporary foods made from plants, fruits and seeds found in the outback. My favourite was the delicious quandong jam.
Lunch was in an aboriginal cafe in Northbridge, in the oldest aboriginal-owned building in Australia. The hangaroo meatballs were fantastic, and after the heavy damper (bread), and a huge dessert, we were all stuffed.
The final stop on the tour was at Didgeridoo Breath in Fremantle. This is where I did my didg course about a year ago. And when I thought about it, I realised that since I left Australia last year in May, I haven’t once played a didgeridoo.
I didn’t get the chance to say that I had done a couple of lessons before, and we began our 45 minute lesson with our instructor, Sanshi. We all did pretty well, and at the end of the lesson Sanshi explained the principal of circular breathing. I had mastered it last time around, and was pleased to be able to still do it successfully. Sanshi was very impressed with his teaching abilities!!
The journey back to the city was pretty eventful too, as the predicted afternoon storm arrived, the first rain that many parts of Perth has seen for over 120 days! The downpour was torrential, and hailstones started hitting the van pretty hard.
Eventually Bek pulled up under a tree as many other drivers had done, afraid that the van was going to be damaged. I jumped out and grabbed a hailstone about half the size of a golf ball.
The flooding was incredible, and lightening caused much of the city’s electric supply to fail. Traffic lights weren’t working, roads were flooded, cars had broken down here and there, and the traffic was chaos. It took to hours to get into the city to drop Ricard off then get back to Bek’s flat.
This morning, the storm was declared a natural disaster, the worst Perth has seen for fifty years, and estimates of damage done are up to around $100 million. One car sales yard had hundreds of vehicles damaged by tennis-ball-sized chunks of ice. Marty’s car, parked outside at work now has loads of dents, and looks a bit like a golf ball.