Saturday, March 22, 2008

Australia Log Part 2

[Posting for my brother, who is in Australia on vacation]

Hot.

Humid.

That's what 33c (101 f) feels like in 80 percent humidity.

Last night was a short night, got to the hostel at 1am, kakadu dreams picking us up at 7am....woke up at 6:30am.

So it was good I slept on the plane. Its been a while since I stayed at a hostel and it took a while to get used to it. I also realized I forgot my towel....and with all stores closed on good friday, I'm kinda screwed. Time to sacrifice myself a t-shirt :)

So the tour guide came to pick us up at 7am....brought us down the street and I signed for the tour which was paid for already. In the tour is 5 ladies and 4 dudes....marlon(female) from France, scott from ireland, derek from Taiwan, jules the lone local ozzie, brinna from Switzerland, sven from Germany, and yanna, from Germany.

The composition thusly was 3 German speakers, 3 Chinese speakers, and 1 French, two dedicated English speakers ( though jules spoke a bit of Mandarin and French and German :))

Most of them are here on a working holiday and their stories of grape picking and banana lifting and watermelon carrying both made me envious and glad I never had to do that for my holidays.

But then the 3 months of vacation.....sigh.

Our guide was des. A local ozzie who's been guiding for 12 years now, 4 with kakadu dreams.

Our first stop was at the jumping crocs store. we stopped at the center and then got to hang snakes of our bodies for a while before they whipped us all on the boat.

Not more than 5 minutes have passed before the first croc came by and the boaters got it to jump.

It was.....amazing!!! The crocs came all stealthily up against the hanging pieces of buffalo meat and then dove a little bit before it came lunging back up towards the meat.

Rather spectacular (look at pics)

Later on in the boat ride, after four or five crocs, the boaters started attracting birds and they looked like falcons....but probably not. I got some incredible shots :)

A wonderful start to my ozzie vacation thus far!

The rest of the day consisted of.a few hours drive interspersed with a short 6km hike (return) into and out of a swimming hole.

The hike was quite flat with some small pond crossings....the hike ended into a few waterfalls (very small)....unlike most waterfalls iin the sierras where the water is fresh icemelt, the water here is entirely from the rain. Hence the water is not cold....quite warm and nice, but given the 33c temp, we'd rather the water was a few c's cooler.

After our hike and swim, we came out to a resort camp where most of us went for another swim, this time in a 2 million dollar pool. We spent about 15 minutes before showering. I sacrificed my tank top. :)

Then dez (our guide whose real name is boughton) brought us to our sleeping spots....a big covered tent with the sign (safari outpost) posted outside it. Inside the big tent, there was 8 smaller tents, some one person tent, some two person tents.

We prepared dinner, some chopping, some peeling, some mincing......in the end, we had a veritable feast! Wallaby steak, pork sausage, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, stir fry veggies.....it was sublime.

The path into and out of the camp was only passable via a 4 wheel drive road with some small pond crossings... So bathroom break after the meal was necessary.

Also, sweating began soon after the shower. :)

I went to sleep after the bathroom break and apparently snored loud enough to drive brinna out of the main tent entirely. "I had to move camp twice, she told me in the morning.".
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