Thursday, August 11, 2005

Garma


I knew as I left that I was walking the fine line between fearlessness and idiocy. This is partly because I was already exhasuted and just about to leave for a very big trip, and secondly because it was a very very long drive to do in one day on questionable roads. But we did it, me and three old ladies took the bait of free entry to this big indigenous cultural fesitval in Gove ( north east arnhem) and drove the 1100k's to get there, across the rivers and all the bumpy dusty corrogated roads, which incidently weren't that dusty because it had *rained* which is unheard of at this time of the year, and instead there was mud everywhere. when I say we drove, I mean that I drove and the other three gave me moral support and food.

It was worth it though. We camped under the stars and there was an incredible vista out to the sea, and bunggul (corroboree) dancing and performance every after noon and big inspiring speeches, by big important people about unity and the future for Australia accepting and embracing its multiculturalism etc etc... really I suppose it was the 'vibe of the thing' that made it good, though it was well populated by Important White People ( manily from Canberra), there was at least some gesture of real communication and connection between the different groups there.
There were some fantastic honest ( indigenous) films too ,and every second film had family ( or references tofamily) of the people I was travelling with so at times it was very emotional ( lots of deaths and issues relating to the strugges of life) , and I think all of us cried openly at least once on the trip...

On the last evening I lay next to the camp fire and looked at the incredible stars in the sky and I could hear Yothu Yindi playing songs , live, not far away ( I was psyching myself up for the drive home) and hear the people around me sleep. I felt very peaceful. And when I went into the tent my mami F put blankets over me and i fell into a deep peaceful sleep.

The drive home was slightly more eventful than necessary. One of the river crossings the water came right up to the bonnet and though we got through ok, the poor old engine had sucked some water into the diesel, so had a a couple of hundred k's of worrying feeling in the car. I was relieved when we made it to a community ( though they informed us the nearest mechanic was still 150k's away). A carpenter looked at the car and declared there was someting wrong with it ( which I had already actually realised), he let some air and diesel out of the engine and showed me how to do it. He said, if the car stop just keep emptying this. I was a bit concerned I must admit but we made it safely to the next civilisation and when the tank emptied of diesel we refilled it with a nonwatered fuel and drove home.

It was lovely to be home, and I feel so close to my travelling companions now , though I must say we all drove each other mad at times), it was a new level of intimacy sleeping and eating together and being surrounded by strangers for four days. It felt like one of those trips that were momentous but you couldnt really tell at the time. I have a feeling it was the beginning of many things.

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