Oz again

October 31, 2009 - Darwin, Australia

 I flew into Sydney and I caught up with Ger over a pint and also with Mel and Carol (the two irish girls who lived in my house in melbourne). It was only a flying stop and being back in sydney didn't really make me feel like I had missed the place much really. Next I flew to Brisbane for the weekend to catch up with Brian Boland. (finished a v good book I was reading whilst in brisbane - 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer that i'd gotten off one of my fellow travellers Gavin on the stray bus in NZ)

Then it was onto Darwin for a few days - the heat was ridiculous in darwin especially after i'd gotten completely used to the lower temps in New Zealand (I was even starting to wear shorts and flip flops in the mid teens degrees C like the locals!) so was a bit of a shock to my 'inner thermostat' I had to take cold showers just to try and cool down! Whilst in Darwin I went on a tour to the Litchfield national park which was pretty good  - and I finally got to see some crocodiles in the wild as part of the tour when we went croc jumping (basically teasing the crocs with food before letting them have the food!). We also went to a few waterfalls and swam in the Wangi waterfall Plunge pool - where in the wet season Estuarine crocodiles have been found (aka saltwater crocs the largest of the crocs who actually mainly inhabit fresh water) also these saltwater crocodiles have been known to travel over land in search of permanent water supplies in the dry season! But not so reassuringly the sign said only freshwater crocodiles are normally found in these parts during the dry season - but yeah we all got in for a swim and sat under the waterfall etc and lived to tell the tale!

As part of the tour we visited the Buley Rock pools - which was like a natural formed spa pools at a number of levels going down a stream - much needed dip to cool down in the middle of the day. After that we visited some huge Termite mounds - some called Magnetic termites - nothing to do with magnetism but to do with fact they build the mounds narrowly on a north south axis - the broad sides facing east and west to catch the sun for heating the inside of the mound - another type of termite just builds a huge 'Cathederal Mound' as the locals call it some of which stood at 7m or so high.

Another bit of random info i found out was the guide gave me green backed ant to put its back to my tongue - which causes the ant to squirt out ascorbic acid as a defence mechanism (or pure vitamin C to you and me) I was bit sceptical at first but he did it first and so I had to try it - and sure enough it was like a really strong dot of citrus flavour on my tongue (a few more squirts and I would have probably had my RDA% of Vitamin C!! - something to ask for next time your getting a smoothy 'A dash of ant juice')

Also while I was in Darwin the last Mindil Markets of the year where on Mindil Beach just outside of the city centre - alot of arts and crafts (usual kinda thing at markets) aborginal paintings and crafts, but also numerous food stalls with food from all over the world - great if your a 'Foodie' as australians would say - which I guess I kind of am as I pretty much like tasting most types of world cuisine. So myself and few of the ones I met from the Litchfield tour wandered around and eat bits and pieces from the stalls - sri lankan curry, italian pizza, Greek spyros, kebabs, mexican, chinese, thai, vietnamese and east timor stir fried food to name but a few - needless to say i didn't eat all these but was I fairly stuffed by the end of it. We watched a few of the shows and music - the place was jammed (and it seemed like it was a big deal with the locals the last markets of the year before the rainy season) the locals all brought beers and sat on the beach at sunset eating food from the stalls - unfortuneatly you couldn't buy any beer there which would have went down a treat after the long hot day out at litchfield! There was fireworks at the end and all to close out with! (although i was away back into town when they started)

Then just had a night out with some of the ones from the tour and then turned my attention towards planning a bit for South East Asia - so next stop Singapore for a night then Thailand!


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