a lot of my favourite bloggers have been really quiet recently. i have my own excuses: work's busy, uni's busy, it's starting to get cold and i'm getting decadently lazy (i assume some others are out and about enjoying an initial burst of spring). however i did take some lamb out of the freezer today that tomorrow will end up in my first casserole of the season and i'm really looking forward to that.
also this weekend i've been away on a camp for uni. we spent two days and one night in the murraylands region of south australia. i've not really seen much of australia, even less of south australia, and this is not a part of the world i've ever really been to before - although i have driven through it on the way to somewhere else.
and it was gorgeous. the murray river flows through the area (i was pleased to see it flowing. drought, climate changed and morons growing rice upstream have totally fucked the river. excuse language, but it makes me extraordinarily mad!). water levels were low, and some of the ferry crossings are shut because of this, but the area is totally beautiful. these photos don't even vaguely do it justice. you 'll need to come one day and see it for yourselves!
as a class of tourism students we went to many local sites and operators, including yabbie farms (yabbies a indigenous australian crustaceans. i used to catch them from the damn on my uncle brian's farm when i was little. apparently they're big news on the dinner plates of tokyo, but i've never eaten, or thought of eating, one), paddle steamers, ecotours, almond groves and museums. we also visited a fantastic sight called ngaut naguat, pronounced nought nought. sitting on the banks of the river it was a traditional camping and hunting sight for the local Nganguraku people and home of the black duck dreaming. non-australians probably don't know much about the dreamings, and as a white fella i'm in no place to give a decent lesson, but basically the dream time was the period in history when the land, its features and all its inhabitants were formed. so the black duck dreaming describes how the black duck came into being.
we were taken around the site by one of the local people (you can only get access with an aboriginal guide) who explained how to read some of the rock carvings, and showed where some early archaeological work had been done, and talked about the history of the site, from both a dreaming and geological perspective. the carving below is thought to show that the river sometimes housed estuary dolphins, before weirs were established by white people and the occasionally salinity of the river was stopped - the area is pretty far inland.
this was by far the highlight of the trip for me. unfortunately the STUPID and IGNORANT people in the group made great fun of the way the guide talked - which was pretty much like an aboriginal person would - and displayed no end of lack of cultural sensitivity or understanding. that night, pissed as farts on half a glass of apple cider, the also made horrible fun of the international students in the group, who had paid huge sums of money to come from japan, china, laos, india and papua new guinea to study in australia.
i tell you it made me so mad. the PNG lady told me there was no point being angry and if i didn't enjoy myself they'd win. i'm afraid to tell you they won and i spent the rest of the trip seething!
my plan now is to go back to the area one day really soon and enjoy myself thoroughly, just to stick it to these imbeciles. and these people are studying cultural tourism. i put it down to too much of daddy's money!
on a totally different note, once again i have failed to come up to standard for the cupcake hero challenge. no surprise, my marshmallow, and particular the icing, were a bit of a failure. but it was good fun and i've never cooked marshmallow before so i learnt something new.
this month's challenge is 'earth hour'. i was totally stumped, but have now come up with a killer idea, so expect news of that next weekend!