Japanese

April 18-22: Rain, rain, rain
In 1871,the first telegram line was built across the Continent, connecting Adelaide and Darwin. Alice Springs was named after the name of Charles Todd's wife, the construction head of the line.

The center of downtown is about 600 x 600 meters, containing sightseeing bureau, post office, and bank. The busiest street is called Todd Mall. There are many shops and restaurant along the Mall.

Usually, people can enjoy the Mall by sitting on the bench in the shadow or drinking tea by looking the street, but the torrential rain wets everywhere through today.


Many aboriginal people live in the city. Many of them are barefooted. They seldom use umbrella and walk around the street by twos and threes. I am not sure what they are doing. Some of them, however, paint breathtaking traditional paintings or make wonderful original handicrafts. There are many shop that sell aboriginal design goods. Their art has wonderful original color and is really beautiful.
Alice Springs, the gateway to desert is said to have big difference of temperature in a day. I have fully equipped with it, but long rain makes me feel very cold even in daytime, regardless I wear a windbreaker and protecting myself from the cold rain by an umbrella. I was finally forced to buy a thick trainer at a shop.

I bought two T-shirts of aboriginal pattern design and a boomerang for my son and his wife.
On the second day, we visited Todd Mall, the busiest district of the City, to see Adelaide House.

The House was the first medical center in central Australia built by John Flynn in 1926. The building features its unusual "cooling system" by natural draft: The cooling air entered via a two-meter high tunnel leading under the floor to the large cellar. A Zigzag arrangement of wet sacking, suspended from the ceiling of the tunnel both cooled the air and filtered out the dust. This cooled air was drawn through dusts into the wards and evacuated by convection out through the high lantern roof above.
Senior volunteers receive the tourists. One of the ladies asked me to mark your location, and I put the first pin on Oita City in Kyushu Island Japan.

When Adelaide House was opened in 1926, Flynn and Traeger first succeeded in transmission of telegrams using famous Pedal Radio. The original receiver (left) and battery (right) are now exhibited in Radio Hut next to Adelaide House. This field-radio communication between the Hut and Hermannsburg Mission was the first such in Australia and for the transmission of telegrams.
The Pedal generator (white, center) can generate electricity enough to send telegrams by pedaling under the table, just like doing so a bicycle. It was just 74 years ago. When I think of those days, I feel I am living in a completely different age.

Since then, Alice Springs became the center of business development in Northern Territory. The House has been watching the times and played a major roll until today.
Now, we have already been soaked in torrential rain as many as three days since we arrived here. This is because a record-huge storm has been raging around on Central Australia. We have no choice but to make up our minds to "enjoy" the rain.

I found a theater in the Mall and soon visited it. Sound of Starlight Theatre features its original music using Didgeridoo, oboe-like aboriginal musical instrument. It looks like a simple wooden pipe, but it generates hard-to-express unaffected sounds when properly blown.

The Theater opens in the evening. I bought two tickets and asked to see the stage: so many kinds of Didgeridoos are set on the stage. The artist said he uses all of them when play the music.
I was taught how to play an African drum.

The stage is like a bush of aboriginal people.
Didgeridoo artist Mr. Andrew Langford makes me touch various musical instruments.
Some of the Didgeridoo are not painted. A special species of termite eat the core of a specific tree, leaving a hollow in the center. By cutting the tree in a proper length, the unusual musical instrument is born. B
Mr. Andrew Langford kindly agreed to be taken a picture with the biggest Didgeridoo. The Didgeridoo's end spreads like a trumpet and wonderful aboriginal pattern is painted on the surface. He said a long Didgeridoo makes a high-pitched sound and shot one sounds low.

I am expecting tonight's play very much.
After taking a simple supper, we visited the theater. The beautiful Outback (desolated vast plain of Central Australia) scenes are projected on the back screen when they play music. Andrew made the audience laugh by saying, "We have a long rain outside, but you can enjoy a wonderful starry night inside."

After the performance, the audience could touch the musical instruments. My husband tried to make sound with a Didgeridoo only to find a failure. Other people tried hopelessly as well. The key to make sound is to vibrate the lip properly by continuous blowing. I realized anew how the performance tonight was superb.