We finally arrived on site in the Australian outback on a brisk and rainy Tuesday. We found Dylan, Chas, Chasqui, the Aussie build crew and a koala bear huddled around a large eucalyptus wood fire. The bear might have been the skinned and stretched remains of road kill but still… it’s the first one I’ve seen.
Eucalyptus trees, lagoons, kangaroos and the Murray river have defined our landscape here. One late afternoon, Billy abruptly picked us up in Coco, the most beat up Toyota truck I’ve ever seen (it was submerged in a lagoon when we arrived on site) and drove us off to the edge of the property to chase some ‘roo. Apparently the idea was to herd them into a low grassy corner by the river where Nala, his dog, could grab one… but it looked more like a helter skelter dash through the woods by a bunch of bloodthirsty young boys. Kangaroos move really really fast! And they can change direction remarkably fast… one moment they are bounding right at you and half a second later, they’ve sheared off at a 90 degree angle. Anyway, it’s clear that we’re not going to catch them running around with our bare hands so we’ve started making bamboo spears, bamboo bows and arrows, and other weaponry in our spare time …. Hilarious! Trying to outsmart ‘roos.
The build is going well. Right now it’s just regular site crew, no volunteers, and we are sorting through the 900 or so Dendrocalamus poles and splits and I’m trying to get a handle on what, exactly, the design for the main stage will look like. I had no idea what I’d do when I showed up here but actually seeing the old setup they had last year with a series of eucalyptus poles stuck in the ground and rigged with cable, it’s getting clearer to me how this “remodel” will work. The rest of the projects look fairly simple… it’s the stage that will absorb 80% of our efforts right now if we’re not too blown out by our luckless nightly kangaroo hunts :)