Sunday, November 1, 2015
Day 106 - Maritime Day and Wardarnji Festival
I forgot to talk about the architecture in Australia at all, how could I! Just as a small input: the picture shows a typical Australian town cottage. As Australia is a huge country (an entire continent to be precise) there is no lack of space at all. This is the reason why most of the houses and cottages are single-storied. The roof is made of corrugated iron that heats up like hell in the sun, but also cools down very fast in the evening, much faster than bricks or roof tiles. Most old houses like ours are made from wood. The new buildings are increasingly multi-storied to host more people on a smaller area. The problem of expanding cities is that the people living all at the verge have no choice to get easily to their daily life products, because everything is concentrated in the centre. This is the big plus of Singapore, where quarter (= MRT stop) is provided with shops for all daily needs.
Anyway, the first of our two activities today was attending the Maritime Day at the harbour. The event was big and popular, and there were so many things to do: listening to a bagpipe marching band, visiting a sailing ship, visiting a tug boat, having a look through a stuffed boat shed, admiring classic cars... Pretty impressive how the crews on board have to live on such a small space.
After having seen all the Maritime Day attractions (in contrast to the bus drivers claim, we didn't see however any strippers), we strolled through the E-Shed Markets which were not as crowded as the Freo Markets, but sold more or less the same tourist stuff. With a fresh watermelon juice we headed to Moore's Contemporary Art Gallery where we voted for our favourite portrait, to contribute to the decision of the Fremantle International Portrait Prize.
In the evening we hurried to the Fremantle Arts Centre, because I thought we were already late for the begin of Western Australia's biggest Aboriginal dance festival. Too late? We came just to the right time - despite our delay. Easygoing Aussies :-)
"Kaya, Wandjoo Walyallup!" - meaning Hello, Welcome Fremantle. We also learned a few other words like "Yonga" (which actually is the right name for "kangaroo", because kangaroo actually means "I don't understand"). "Koora-Koora" stands for the beginning of every Aboriginal story time story ("a very very long time ago").
In the centre of all performances, - or better: the floor for all performances - was this beautifully created sand painting which of course was more or less unrecognizable afterwards.
We had a chilly but great evening learning so many new things! We heard stories about the best friends emu Weitj and kangaroo Yonga (explaining why kangaroos are dirt coloured), stories about other animals, cleansing dances, dances about animals (birds, kangaroos, emus, dingoes)... Most dances were accompanied by awesomely sounding didgeridoo music simulating animal's voices and giving everything a rhythmic base.
Nearly all performers were Aboriginal Noongar people, and there were many children, so that they grow up with this culture. Even though the persons looked quite ancient (they wore kangaroo furs or just a simple sheet to cover the most important, and they were body-painted), one of the elders explained that this world's oldest living culture has always adapted and is still adapting. They proved this statement within the next minutes, where a single dancer, a group and a pair performed Aboriginal dance moves to modern music.
Videos coming soon....
Against our expectation we didn't get in touch with Halloween too much this evening. Only the supermarket cashiers were disguised and some glowing pumpkins greeted us on our way home. No knocking, no "sweet or treat", nothing.