Monday, December 15, 2014

Travel! Again!

 Writing to you from some place I wasn't meant to be tonight... 

After just one week at home with the family and I found myself jumping on another plane! 
This time I was headed to Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island for jama (work). 
...Early morning rush to the airport, takeaway meal at the gate, door opens and we file out of the inefficient aircon and onto the tarmac. Back into the morning humidity and the scent of half baked av gas. 
Into the air again! 

This time I didn't really want to go, I didn't want to fly again but after 10 minutes in the air looking over the wild NT coast and snaking rivers I let go of all the things I thought I could have been doing and settle into reading a a book, 'Homage to Catalonia' by George Orwell. (Orwell's personal account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War)

The plan was to fly to Elcho on Friday, prepare for a meeting on Saturday, assist reps from various communities with transport, do all the other stuff that's my job throughout Saturday, be on hand for a special commissioning service on Sunday (Dogs body, you need it I get it sorta thing), fly home to Darwin Monday morning... Well that was how it was meant to go but of course there weren't any direct flights left to Darwin on Monday and I didn't want to spend another night away from the family so I managed to get onto one of the charters back to Gove where I could catch the 3:30 plane back to Darwin! Perfect plan, in theory!

What happened? The charter left late, flew around a thunder head or two and arrived just in time for me to bolt to the main terminal... I got a ride half way and would have just made it if my ticket was valid! Yep I was booked on the wrong day and if I had arrived just 15 minutes earlier I could have altered the ticket... but I didn't and so now here I am! Camping at Nhulunbuy for the night (In a luxury motel, thanks to my generous and forgiving employer). My late arrival was no one's fault but my own. It was pretty ambitious to think I could get anywhere on time at this time of year, besides the fact that the ticket was mucked up was entirely my fault!

Tons of mangoes still ripening on Galiwin'ku

About where I've been. Well I just had a great weekend in Galiwin'ku, everything went reasonably smoothly and I managed to be billeted in a house where I had my very own room! On Elcho there's a serious lack of housing and many houses are way overcrowded, but people make do the best they can. Still it adds to the pressure when some Balanda turns up looking for somewhere to sleep and I was grateful to have some privacy! I am truly grateful for my Fijian hosts who were so hospitable, by the time I had to leave this morning I was seriously wondering why I'd willingly leave!

Saturday meeting took up the whole day, I think we finished just  before 8pm which made it a 10 1/2 hour meeting if you subtract half an hour for lunch. On Friday night Elcho saw the first rain for the season. (A good omen)

 Rronang Yuranydjil and Djulunga (+ 1) Outside Galiwin'ku Church

Inside Galiwin'ku Church - Rejoicing and giving thanks. Vows made.
The church service on Sunday included a commissioning service for the Christian Educator for North East and West Arnhem. The service went for about 3 hours (there's a lot to get through following cultural protocols as well as regular church service, heaps of manikay and bungul (singing and dancing). I spent most of that time running around in the rain sorting out refreshments and playing bus driver.

So with all said and done, nearly everyone booked and headed back to their respective communities I thought I was home and hosed. But then chance stepped in and here I am! Writing a blog post from a motel room on the Gove peninsular! Couldn't be in a better place really except whenever I have this kind of freedom the devil wants to come out and play! Dangerous place for me to be! Cranky with myself for stuffing up, nowhere to go, a town full of booze in the middle of Prescribed Aboriginal Land and nothing much for me to do! I spent nearly an hour in the Supermarket battling demons! In the end I settled on a bottle of coke (No salt and vinegar chips... no booze) and, eventually some healthy food for dinner. (Oh and a copy of a film about Lance Armstrong, 'The Armstrong LIE'.

With time on my hands I'm struggling to do the right thing! At least I get points for healthy eating...

Tomorrow is another day!


Chandra said...

You are almost the continent trotter now. Look at you man!

The green tortilla (cilantro flavored?) and the fixings look great.

Glad you are enjoying these little trips.

Peace :)

David J said...

Hey Chandra,
Yeh. Actually I'm ambivalent about traveling a lot. A really big part of me just wants to keep on moving, it's exciting, but on the other hand it can be fairly tedious and self indulgent, I need to be here for my family too. The bread was spinach and herb, quite nice too.