Carstensz Pyramid

November 9, 2008   No Comments on Carstensz Pyramid

I learnt something today. Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Oceania at 16,023 feet.

Carstensz PyramidIt’s only four degrees south of the equator in West Papua, but has several glaciers and is the only region of Indonesia where snow falls.

In Australia we don’t think enough beyond our own country when it comes to the continent.

Geographers consider Papua New Guinea and West Papua as part of our continent, but we know so little about them.

Carstensz Pyramid carries the name of John Carstensz, who was a Dutch seafarer. In 1623 he brought news to Europe about the snowbound mountain right on the equator, but nobody believed him.

West Papua was a Dutch territory until Indonesia took control in 1963. Wikipedia suggests American president John Kennedy talked the Dutch out of resisting the takeover for global political reasons.

It’s been off the international radar since then, unlike East Timor which Indonesia forcibly acquired from Portugal in the 1970s and later gained independence.

I would love to climb Carstensz Pyramid. Maybe I’ll add it to my list of things I’d do if I could.

Just to digress from tropical snowy peaks: … I still think of altitude and all height for that matter in feet. I’ve got no idea how tall I am in centimetres.

I climbed Mount Bogong a few years ago, the highest mountain in Victoria, and although references tell me it’s 1986 meres high, I relate better to the fact it’s 6516 feet.

Another digression, the WordPress spell checker didn’t like “learnt” at the beginning of this post (and again now). I doubt myself when things like that happen.

Google reassured me. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “learned” and “learnt” are:

alternative forms of the past tense and past participle of the verb learn. Learnt is more common in British English, and learned in American English. There are a number of verbs of this type (burn, dream, kneel, lean, leap, spell, spill, spoil etc.). They are all irregular verbs, and this is a part of their irregularity.

I read somewhere recently that an academic was calling for an international standard for English spelling. I’ll second that motion.

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