My first impressions of Groote Eylandt
Alyangula, Northern Territory
1. The island has exactly 3 stores.
2. 1,000 white people live there.
3. It delivers 70% of all meninges in the world (Magnesiumerz).
4. You can't swim in the ocean due to sharks, crocodiles and box jellyfish
5. It belongs to the Aborigines.
6. It is sooooo hot!
Well, in the early morning I caught my flight from Brisbane Airport to Darwin. Martín dropped me off by car. After checking-in I had some time left so we sat down and he gave me an ukulele lesson because I was bringing an ukulele with me. After saying goodbye - that was really sad! - I passed the luggage control and entered the airplane very soon (of course I couldn't resist and bought myself a book at the airport store). The flight was boring. 4 hours to Darwin. The Darwin airport is very tiny and interesting. Many flights from there go the aboriginal islands or to Asia so I saw an interesting cross section of nationalities. And I saw my first Aborigines. Their kids are mostly walking around barefooted. Their faces are the most interesting thing about them. They are very edgy and very plastic. If I were to live in an aboriginal community, my edgy face would fit in perfectly. Then I had a long struggle with my luggage. Only 13 kg of big luggage and 4,4 kg of hand luggage. I was repacking for half an hour and throwing away some things, wearing my heavy fleece jersey, stuffing things into my pocket until it fit. So I had exactly 13 kg of luggage and 4,4 kg of hand luggage. And I even managed to bring the ukulele because it fit into my small backpack. So I entered this very tiny airplane with 6 passengers!! The flight was quite bumpy because of a little storm but that was alright. The heat was like a stroke into my face when I left the airplane. Out of sudden surrounded by Aborigines I went to hug my host mum who had brought her eldest son Jackson, 8 years old. The family owns a very old 4WD where we settled in. The island has exactly one big road, it's called the Rowell Highway. After a few metres on the road we saw an aboriginal man sitting on the highway in some kind of protest. Belinda, my host mum, says he's crazy. I believe so, who else would sit on a highway?? Along the road I saw a couple of Aborigines, all so dark and barefooted. Then I got my first introduction to Groote Eylandt. I saw the shops and main roads, places where to swim safely, a BMX course and the houses. The houses are all the same. If you go on your neighbour's toilet, you know where to find it. Everyone has 4WDs because the street conditions are quite rough. So the house is very nice, big living room and 3 more rooms. One for the boys, one for the parents, one for the au pairs. The first night we went out for dinner and I had my first meat after 2 months. The family is really easy-going. It's incredible! The next morning the boys went to a birthday party and Belinda took me to the second hand shop where she is volunteering. So I organized the books in the shelves and went to buy a new phone. Since the island is so remote, the phone has to have a built-in device in order to work on the island. After that we went on an island tour. I was shown the port (where meninges is shipped to all over the world), the medical centre, the grocery store etc. Then we returned home and relaxed. In the evening I was babysitting the boys and their 3 friends together with the other au pair, Ann, because the parents went to a Christmas party. Well and now, in the next morning I am hanging around in my bed and writing these blog entries.