I’m in Venice

Venice, California, that is…

I went for a walk today. The first person I met was a middle-aged lady with 4 or 5 heavy shopping bags, walking with difficulty because of a limp. I helped carry her bags to her car and found out she had just picked up free food distributed by a good Samaritan at the end of every month.

She said she had trouble meeting the rent and buying sufficient food as she could only work part-time, because of her leg. And the leg wouldn’t get better because she can’t afford the physio she needs. Seems to me something ridiculous about that — affordable medical care would mean more productivity, but in the richest country in the world…

It seems so odd that Malaysia can provide very low-cost (often in fact free) health care, whereas USA so often can’t.

I have to say, that as a West Australian used to dazzling white sand, this doesn’t really do it for me.

Still, there are always the birds to look at. (Heermann’s Gull above and American Crow below)

Or the artwork…

Or the street performers…

Or the dogs…

Or the green doctors prescribing medical marijuana…

Sunrise at Kennedy Range.

More of the red country. You are probably getting sick of these pix!
The rocks glow in the dawnlight…
And below is a photo of the rocks u nderfoot at the viewpoint. 
Obviously some old Roman paving, right?Or the remains of a Greek temple?
Actually, all natural, made by heat and cold and water.

The Escarpment scramble, Kennedy Ranges

 The Escarpment was directly behind the caravan park (see the previous post — the shot with my telescope and tripod.) On our first full day we set off to climb it. Three of us. Our combined age is 212 years. The secret is the walking stick climbing pole. Works wonder for ageing knees.

Near the beginning of the climb
Further up the gully. The blue circles marked the “path”
Still further up…
Our caravan park from the top
The adjacent Draper’s Gorge from the top
Another view from the top
And the top was flat….
The road into Draper’s gorge from the top

Temple Gorge Camping Ground

Over 1,200 kms from Perth.

The first thing you have to do here is trust me. I didn’t do a thing to these photos. No auto contrast, no saturation of colours, no nothing. This is in the Kennedy Ranges, within the Temple Gorge Campground, Gascoyne. Run by park volunteers. One waterless uni-sex toilet, no showers, no water. No internet. No mobile coverage. No alternative accommodation within less than 200 kms or so. No shops.

Just quiet perfection. And colour.

View from our caravan, dusk.
And another view, telescope pointing at a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles perched on the range.
Campground at 7 p.m.
Our van at 7 a.m.
Late afternoon light
Evening light
Near the campground mid-afternoon
Campground at mid-afternoon
Campground at 7 a.m.

After Carnarvon…

We left Carnarvon and headed towards the interior, with a brief stop at Rocky Pool (where there is permanent water) and Gascoyne Junction, where we stock up on diesel.

This is what the mighty Gascoyne River looks like for the best part of the year
At Rocky Pool, the corellas make the most of the water
My sister and I enjoy the view…
Being Australia, there are always colourful flowers in unlikely places
…and Corellas in every tree…
And the river often has no water at all
…or so much it washed away the town of Gascoyne Junction. It is being rebuilt. A little higher.
And the Junction marks the end of the bitumen, the last of the towns…

A town called Carnarvon

A town famous for its mile-long jetty, where husband fished every night
…with considerable success…
…in a land where ants build nests with coin-slot entrance
Lots of birdwatching opportunities – here, Black-winged Stilts
Where trees lean to tell you which way the wind blows…
Where there are some lovely old buildings…
 But where the town centre was mostly draped in building-site adornments
….like this. Why would they do this in tourist school holiday season?
Delightful only homes built for the sub-tropical heat and rains…
…a town where the Gascoyne River meets the sea
…and the falcons are everywhere, even in the centre of town
…a town famous for its bananas

Do we have universities in Malaysia?

Here’s a city that shows it knows the difference between twisted terrorist murderers and Islam. New York, you rock.
And here’s an American academic calling on his students to discover what a university should be.
Among many other things he says:
 Another purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to
engage in open discussion in order to critically examine beliefs,
behaviors, and customs. Finally, another purpose of a university
education is to help students who typically are not accustomed to
thinking independently or applying a critical analysis to views or
beliefs, to start learning how to do so.

Critical thinkers are open to having their cherished beliefs challenged,
and must learn how to “defend” their views based on evidence or logic,
rather than simply “pounding their chest” and merely proclaiming that
their views are “valid.”  
Universities hold a special place in society where scholarly-minded
folks can come together and discuss controversial, polemic, and often
uncomfortable topics. Universities …have special policies
in place to protect our (both professors’ and students’) freedom to
express ourselves. Neither students nor professors have a right to
censor speech that makes us uncomfortable. We’re adults. We’re at a
university. There is no topic that is “off-limits” for us to address in

Malaysians, do read the whole article, and ask yourself –using his definition of what a university should be, do we have any universities in Malaysia? Oh, and be careful you don’t write anything in the comments section that could send me to jail under Section 114(A) of the Evidence Act, whereby I become responsible for everything said by those who comment.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidifiltri
Maaf Zahir & Batin

Quobba Station & Fat-tailed Sheep…

A dry landscape
But even dry landscapes have beauty within
Red Bluff beach caravan park
The caravan park office/shop…and what is that on the bluff behind? A communication tower…
…with an osprey nest and an osprey bird landing on it?
Three tiers, note. I suspect the other nests belong to crows
Beautiful beaches
Complete with fossils
Lots of fossils
…and still more fossils

And another beautiful beach — deserted…
Ok, so not quite deserted. The Crested Terns were out in  full force
Back on the road again…and what are those odd creatures?
Fat-tailed sheep
Really, really fat-tailed sheep