just arrived at siding springs observatory for another round of observing with the anglo-australian telescope.
there isnt a whole lot of excitement during the seven hour drive through the bush to get here, regardless of whether you take the hunter valley route or the mudgee route. but i must say, i am highly amused by the place names around new south wales!
i remember driving around the UK and being utterly confused as to how anyone was supposed to know the proper way to pronounce place names. for example, Leicester is "Les-tah," Belvoir is "beaver" (i'm not joking, and made the mistake of using this pronunciation in australia. the horror!), Loughborough is "luff-buh-ruh." actually, anything with an "ough" in it is pointless to even try. just wait to hear someone say it. especially edinburgh.
apparently a common mispronunciation of Loughborough, especially among australians, is "looga-burooga." having done some driving around this part of australia, it's clear that a lot of place names maintain their aboriginal origin and are pronounced mostly phonetically. so if the word has a lot of letters, like coonabarabran, you just take your time, pronounce all the letters, and it sounds exactly as it looks. or, in true australian fashion, you just shorten the word. so instead of saying the 5 syllables of coon-a-bear-a-bran every time, you just say coona.
coona is the closest town to the observatory and also happens to have one of the best names i've encountered yet! but on the drive today we also passed by dunedoo, wallerawang, cullen bullen, and marrangaroo :)