Posted on July 24, 2014
Ah Broome. The warm and sunny town reminds me of a time when life was simple. I was sent here last year for work, initially apprehensive and somewhat discomposed, then six months down the track found myself embraced by the community and way of life, and truly sad to leave. The unhurried pace was curative and a real tonic for a soul that previously searched for meaning and gratification in busyness and seemingly important jobs with very long to-do lists.
Things are different up here. Yes, there is work, but there is always time to catch up for a drink on Friday afternoon, time to take that bike ride around the port, time to go to that gym class on Tuesday evening, time to have a dip at the beach, time to watch yet another breathtaking sunset (or moonrise!), time to cast a fishing rod off the rocks. And that time isn’t the never-arriving tomorrow, it is today. Yes, we have our jobs and we do them well, but time is made and set aside to tend to ourselves. We make time to chat, consolidating old friends, connecting with new ones. There is a term frequently used up here – to have a yarn – which from my observations means to have a relaxed but meaningful exchange, with no fixed time limit or agenda, finding out more about each other, going wherever the conversation may spontaneously flow. The focus is on the person and where they are in life, often not necessarily asking them the questions that seem to be so commonly asked to define and categorise a person (like my personal unfavourite, “What do you do?”).
I spent six days in Broome just a couple of weeks ago, with the only purpose being to do just that. Have a yarn with some very dear friends and acquaint myself with some new ones too.
Let me not forget nor lose sight of the truly important things in life.
Posted on July 26, 2013
I can barely begin to describe just how transforming these last six months have been. Those of you who know me well will have realised just how far outside of my cushy, fashion-filled, food-centric comfort zone I’ve been taken and may even have thought that I’d come screaming back home, in a hurry to put all this behind me. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart and soul of the people and this land have somehow just crept into me and won me over, bit by bit. It’s like the red pindan that makes its way into every nook and cranny of your house and stains the soles of your runners an indelible bright orange also gets into your blood, leaving a bright and unforgettable mark.
Here are a few images that I chose to hopefully convey what my work days have consisted of, my favourites being those where we travelled to tiny remote Aboriginal communities where beautiful children run amok. I will miss these guys a great deal. Some are painfully quiet and shy, but others are garrulous and affectionate, and lavish their attention and hugs (and snot!) all over you. Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality I haven’t been able to share any images of these children but I will never forget them!
I probably won’t post a whole lot until I’m settled back in Perth! So ciao for now!
1. I hate change. It had even become a running joke between Jinn and I that I am so resistant to change that I can’t even bear to rearrange the prints on the wall in our dining room. Well, so much for that! With this job I’ve had to move from town to town and work with new people, performing completely foreign and out-of-my-depth tasks, sometimes on a daily basis! My confidence has grown immensely in this area, and although rigidity and structure can be a strength I have definitely learnt to go with the flow, stay happy and not always feel the need to be in control. It’s actually been quite a liberating, exhilarating and empowering revelation for me.
2. I hate swimming. I hate the beach. I’m still not a strong swimmer but dang a secluded beach and feeling the waves lap around your ankles is a tonic to the soul.
3. I hate bugs. Nope. I still hate bugs. I’ve just learnt to be braver. And have a large can of insect spray and an even larger shoe at hand.
4. I’m a city girl. As much as I love big cities with their high fashion stores and chic boutique bars, I’ve also developed an equally strong love for the wild, wild country. The sheer freedom and delight the land and its people bring. Imagine driving down a bumpy, dusty red road in an equally dusty red four-wheel drive, the trees and termite mounds whizzing past you. Wildlife abounds, a flock of white corellas squawk and fly above you, a shy wallaby bounds past, or if you’re lucky a pair of brolgas spread their wings and float majestically by. Your destination may be a rocky gorge with fascinating rock formations, or a secluded creek where you’ll while away the afternoon trying to catch barramundi, but really just having a good ol’ yarn with a good mate. Time just has a completely different meaning and concept up here. Instead of running from task to task, smartphone in hand, time is best spent doing whatever you want, at whatever pace you choose, in a t-shirt and thongs. Just the other day one of the longtime inhabitants here called me a “Kimberley girl” – now that’s a compliment! 🙂 In some ways, the best way I can describe my experience (trying not to be too cliched here) is that I feel almost like a well-kept animal that’s finally left its safe warm cage and found that the wild outdoors is actually truly amazing and beautiful.
Broome – you have not seen the last of me.
Posted on June 21, 2013
My awesome Mumsy and Papsy came up to visit me a few weekends ago, and amongst taking in the Broome markets and feasting on barramundi wings and Kimberley mud crabs, we also went on this cool hovercraft tour. At first I was like, hovercrafts are real?!?!? I thought they only existed in sci-fi novels and movies! What a doofus…And to top that off, part of the tour included a look at some actual dinosaur footprints (see the photo above!). Admittedly, they’re not that easy to spot, but once they’re pointed out to you and you see just how regularly they’re positioned, you recognise how those holes could not have been made by some random act of nature or weather.
My mum always tells me stories about how she used to pelt boys she didn’t like with slugs and snails, but I never believed her as these days she is the definition of clean-freak. However, when the hovercraft landed and the low tide revealed a treasure trove of sealife I practically had to run and hide to avoid being splattered with bright red sea cucumbers and sea snails of assorted sizes. My dad, well he was not so lucky. I may or may not have used him as a human shield.
This was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’d experienced yet. The way the colours were reflected in those tiny pools made by the tidal flats. The lingering pinks and purples of the dying light. With only six weeks left up here in the Kimberley, I’m coming to realise just how much I’m going to miss this place.
Photos by me
Posted on June 17, 2013
One of the best things we did whilst up at Cape Leveque was join local elder, Brian Lee, on a four-wheel drive tagalong tour. Brian led us along the pristine beach and down to a nearby creek, all the while sharing stories about his Bardi people and the land, and showing us how to spearfish and catch giant Kimberley mudcrabs! Brian was so expressive and enthusiastic. A couple of times he hopped out of his car like a flash, spear in hand, jumping into the surf to retrieve his catch. His face also told many stories by itself, the light in his eyes shining as he explained how his grandparents would have lived in harmony with the land years ago, and his features undeniably showing his Bardi, English and Japanese heritage, testament to the history of this region.
We came to Hunter Creek, traversed its sandy banks at low tide and made our way to the mangroves where the mudcrabs hide out. Expertly, Brian showed us how to extricate these giant crabs from beneath the roots of the mangrove trees before giving us a chance to do the same (quite unsuccessfully!). After a few hours in this amazing wilderness we found ourselves perched on a rocky outcrop, hungrily eyeing the catch from the day: two successfully speared mullet, three giant mudcrabs, and a branch covered in tiny oysters. All were deliciously smoked on a coal fire, and we feasted. I’m not sure I will ever eat crab this good ever again. Ever.
Posted on June 13, 2013
If you look really closely you can see I sunburnt my nose! I don’t know about you, but sometimes as painful as they are, I often cherish my little sunburns as signs of a great weekend just passed. Rach said she was itching her mozzie bites fondly on their return to Perth! (And yes, I do not condone getting sunburnt and heartily endorse the whole slip-slop-slap thing, but I think I missed a patch on my nose!)
I’m absolutely digging the whole neo-90s look that’s sweeping the UK at present. I’m slightly obsessed with the crop-top-pencil-skirt silhouette, updated with new prints and colours. And can you blame me for adding neon into the mix? I bought this skirt from Urban Outfitters in London and it is oh. so. comfortable. The downside to comfort? No external holding in of the gut so I have to remind myself not to carb load just before wearing this one! But hey, who cares – I love it!
Posted on June 11, 2013
There is definitely something energising and invigorating about the air in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Not only did my niggling foot injury miraculously improve whilst being there, but all four of us suddenly became morning people! Waking up before sunrise in order to catch those first orange rays on our faces is something most of us would never even contemplate doing in the city. Yet there we were, awake as anything, eager to watch the spectacular show of natural beauty as the sun made its glorious arrival for the day.
We topped off the sunrise with a beautiful breakfast, prepared on the balcony overlooking the ocean and the trees. Sarah had brought along lots of supplies, so this morning it was to be a scrumptious feast of French toast doused with honey, strawberries and mint. What a treat to be able to spend time with family and friends in the most beautiful of places – the wilderness, the sounds of the ocean, the laughter of great company.
Do come explore this corner of the earth – its raw beauty will change you, I guarantee it.
Photos by Jinn
Posted on March 20, 2013
We went back to enjoy Cable Beach on my last evening in Broome. I had vowed to watch the sunset from a different beach each night I was in Broome, and true to my word we saw the sun set from a different part of Cable Beach to before. We stayed out late, well after the sun had set, deep in conversation and watching the sky turn from red to black and then erupt into a magnificent starscape. Beautiful scenery, warm nights, a sweet smelling breeze and excellent company – what could be better in life? – Jinn
Posted on March 18, 2013
I’m writing this really quickly because the longer I look at these pictures, I get a rising sense of impending doom and start experiencing palpitations. The tour at Malcolm Douglas’ Crocodile Park starts off with a little wander around the park on your own, meeting the cute feathered and fluffy inhabitants of this park, which lulls you into a rather false sense of happiness and oh-isn’t-Australia’s-fauna-just-so-beautiful-and-BENIGN. Everyone then gathers to the main pond where you pass around the most gorgeous baby crocodiles (of course with their mouths deftly tied shut to save you from certain digit amputation) and once again everyone coos and poses smiling with the tiny reptilian offspring. They’re surprisingly soft to the touch! In the nearby algae-covered pools, you start to see that the surface of the water is actually patterned with the ridges of many spines, just lying in wait.
Then – it’s feeding time. This was the most thrilling and amazing part of the tour. The guides fearlessly enter the enclosures and practically taunt these giant crocodiles with fish, making them launch themselves into the air to show off their size and sheer strength. They are utterly ferocious and brutal even to their own kind, and what makes them so fascinating is just how deathly still they are just moments before the attack. You will literally not see it coming.
I give this place a rating of five bajillion stars out of ten. Take plenty of sunscreen and water, and wear something breezy. And please say hi to my friend the “barking” owl! He actually says “woof woof”, that’s his natural cry, and he and I had a stimulating conversation, a heart to heart even. Nice to know someone really gets me.
Too close for comfort!
The guide was not a small man, he was at least 6 foot tall!
My friend, the “barking” owl – he’ll have a conversation with you! Most civilised!
Posted on March 13, 2013
Excuse the tatty hair in these photos – Jinn had just touched down in Broome, I’d come straight from work after spending a rather sweaty day travelling back from Kununurra, and rather than going back to my apartment to set his bags down and rest he said, “Allons-y!” So off to Cable Beach we went to catch the sunset! So this little shoot was pretty impromptu but we couldn’t help but take advantage of the peachy skies offsetting my totally unplanned peachy outfit. 🙂
This was actually the beginning of an amazing weekend that I just didn’t want to end. Not only was my hubby/BFF/accomplice here with me, but also someone who understands my Insta-obsession (don’t look at me like you don’t know what I mean!). I’ve not yet encountered anyone up here who shares my addiction so there have been countless social situations and dinners where I’ve practically had to sit on my own hands to prevent myself from taking a photo of my food or a gratuitous self-pic! We took so many photos in just three little days, so let’s hope my trigger-happy fingers have been appeased for now…until Jinn’s next visit of course!
Posted on March 11, 2013
Whilst Jinn was in Broome I really wanted to make it down to Gantheaume Point as I’d read that there were real dinosaur footprints imprinted amongst the rocks that you could approach when the tide was low. There’s something cool about seeing things that are millions of years old, I find it fascinating and it makes me feel rather small yet thrilled at the same time.
We wandered and splashed around the amazing little rock pools for ages, searching for prehistoric footprints and marvelling at the tiny treasures that the tide had left behind. Pieces of colourful coral, pools brimming with tiny sea snails and my favourite hermit crabs, and strange white slug-like things which looked like alien creatures from a Doctor Who episode.
Well, before we knew it, the sun was setting and we had yet to find any signs of ancient dinosaur life. But you know what? We just didn’t care as we were taken in by the most gorgeous sunset we had seen yet, along with the amazing lighting and ever-changing colours of the sky which made it a photographer’s paradise. Plenty of locals had driven their 4WDs onto the beach and were casually enjoying the sight over their picnic dinners, it looked like heaven and the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. Gives me ideas for next time!
This place is an absolute must see, with sunsets that rival or, dare I say, are even better than Cable Beach’s. There’s plenty of signage on the way there and I highly recommend taking a 4WD and a hamper full of yummy food and beverages. And if anyone knows where those footprints are, please enlighten me!