Thursday, August 06, 2009

Change of Plan

We had an ambitious plan for our one whole day in Alice Springs. This plan involved the Aboriginal culture museum, a museum devoted to women of the outback, and the Alice Springs Desert Park, featuring the flora and fauna of Central Australia.

The park was our first stop. Gradually, though, it dawned on us that we could spend all day here. So we did. We took our time, seeing all the animals and reading every sign that caught our eye. It felt liberating to jettison our itinerary.

Among the many tidbits of information we learned at the park is that Central Australia used to be covered by an ocean, and that there are only two or three bird species in the world that use tools, and this park has an example of one—an eagle that uses rocks to crack open emu eggs.

We also stumbled upon a lecture on Aboriginal culture given by a man from the Aranda group (or “mob,” to use his word). We got a crash-course in the complicated customs and rituals that enable people to survive on land that doesn’t have a lot to offer. The talk was pretty interesting, and we felt a little more comfortable about our decision to skip the Aboriginal museum and give our one activity for the day the attention it deserved.

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