Friday, November 21, 2008

Anyone Understand Arabic or Arenglish?

Remember the days a decade or two ago when you'd buy an electronic apparatus like a video recorder and the manual with it was written in Chinglish? No matter how hard you tried, you'd be in tears from laughter although frustrated as hell because you couldn't get the %*@#ing thing to work?

Remember those days?

Well, here's a sign I photographed at the Al Ain Motor Vehicle Registration building when I went to transfer my vehicle registration a short while before we departed. I sure as hell couldn't read the Arabic and after I had read the Arenglish three times, I had absolutely no idea what it meant.

The astonishing thing is that SOMEONE had written it and apparently understood what it meant. Ain't that scary?

I guess when you sell fuel for a pittance you can't expect to have signage that reflects accurate grammar, syntax and spelling too. Now I wonder how good the Arabic actually is?


PS: Double click to enlarge the sign
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Surfing the Todd River!

I never thought I'd see someone surfin' the Todd, home of the Henley-On-Todd Regatta and as dry as firewood for most days of most years. But yesterday when I went to take a look, there he was ... the "Todd River Surfer" doing his thing.

We've had some lovely rainfall during the past week which has brought the temperatures down and is greening The Alice.

Take a look at the photos here and you'll get a sense of the excitement that follows a few billion litres of rain.

Some enterprising people even set up a small tent to sit and watch their kids and enjoy the moment.
There are three causeways and a couple of high level bridges at Alice Springs. So, when the Todd flows, the causeways are blocked off and we can get from side to side using the high level bridges.

It's not often that the high level bridges are flooded, but it has happened on one or two occasions. When that happens, part of the business centre go under too.

Our friends at Al Ain will be envious of our rain fall since Al Ain is even drier than Central Australia.


PS: Look at the lovely old ghost gum at the right hand side of the last photo. It's probably several hundred years old.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weather to Die For Hits The Alice

November, normally a warm to hot month, has brought unusually cool weather to Alice Springs this year.

Starting with thunder storms in late October that demolished trees, fences, and a few roofs, November has been wonderful.

We've had some excellent rainfall and cooler days. The mornings and evenings have been perfect and now that the rain has cleared, the stark blue skies I love are back.

We have numerous native trees and plants in our garden and get many different birds visiting us. This is something I missed in Al Ain where, despite the greater access to water, the birdlife is much scarcer than at The Alice where birdlife is plentiful.

This honeyeater I captured feeding in our Grevillea (shown in next two photos). We have several different types of Grevillea around our house and they are all popular with native birds.

Our intention in revegetating our garden is to include as many native species as possible to reduce the water need and increase native wildlife.

Although there is no water shortage in Central Australia, (unlike our capital cities excluding Darwin) there is said to be around 400 years supply in our aquifer, it's expensive to buy and most of our residents treat it with the respect it deserves apart from the expense aspect.

While I find all our native plants attractive, my favourite for as long as I remember has been the Sturt Desert Pea (red and black).

Named after Indian born, British explorer, Charles Sturt, I first saw the flowers spreading for 10 or 15 metres across the top of a red sand dune in 1960 several hundred kilometres west of Tennant Creek.

At the time, I was on school holidays working with the Exploration Department of Peko Mine and Tennant Creek.

I recall thinking what a waste it was for such a beautiful display to be so isolated that only the odd geological team, like ours, would ever see it. Perhaps no other human being would ever see it. I was so impressed with their beauty they have been my favourites ever since.

Unfortunately, they are very temperamental and seem to grow only where they feel like it. I've planted seeds in different places and then, unexpectedly, they'll pop up and proliferate somewhere else as though they have a mind of their own.

Despite their temperament, the Alice Springs Town Council horticultural team seems to be able to place them in our median strips and they grow like fury.

Maybe I should ask them the secret.