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Thursday, October 26, 2006

16th October: Litchfield National Park - Kites, Crocks and Termites

I was up very early for the trip to Litchfield. I was waiting at the pickup up, along with three Japanese tourists (who I got to know later) and a hodge-podge of others, at 6.30am(ish). We were met by the driver, Louise, and given our itinerary. The three Japanese people and I became friends: Naoya was the chattiest and his English was the best. He kept asking me to teach him new words and to improve his pronunciation. He is the first Japanese person I have met who does not muddle up his Ls and Rs. Naomi was much quieter, but as much fun as Naoya. Finally, little Takk- a cool guy with a huge hat who barely said anything. He was travelling around Australia at the age of 21 with no command of English at all! He was cool. We drove up the Stuart highway, bush on both sides of us. This was the first time I had seen the bush in seven years and that made the day really special, leaving aside the snakes, the crocks and so on. The bus was driven by Louise – a Darwinite with a zoology degree and an interest in the local people. She was very interesting and seemed to know a lot about the local area. She told us a story later on about some one she knew who ‘went troppo’ during the build up – a funny and scary story in equal parts!

So we bumped along, in the bus, which even with the air-con on, started to warm up as the day progressed. The build up had not started yet (it still hasn’t) by this point so the heat with still quite dry, but getting out of the bus to see things became harder and harder as the day wore on, simply because it was so hot!
Our first stop was the Litchfield jumping crocks. To get us used to reptiles, Louise bought out some snakes for us to play with and with many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ we wrapped ourselves in them. Louise described them as “affectionate” but have a snake wrapped round you that is as thick as your arm is not uber-pleasurable! After that we all hopped on the crock-watching boat and watched crocks, kites and drank tea. The crocks were impressive jumpers, managing to get themselves almost completely out of the water…after that little event, none of our party would have gone near open water in the Top End if you had paid them!

Once the crock tour was completed we were off driving again, through the town of Batchelor and on to the termite mounds. We saw three kinds: magnetic mounds (which look like huge grave stones) cathedral mounds and then my favourite – the termites that hollow out didjeridus. We stood around having our photos taken, like you would at Madam Tussauds and after a while we were all hot and sweaty so Louise took us to a couple of billabongs for a swim. Wangi falls is the closest place to Paradise I have been to so far in Australia – the water was warm and clear and lunch was waiting for us when we got out. In the course of that day we saw three billabongs, lots of the bush and walked through oven-like heat. It was a great day.

Naomi and Naoya taught me some Japanese in the evening. They laughed and laughed at my mangled Japanese.
How about that lake for pure Heaven, eh? The water was so warm, the whole place was quiet except for the usual cliches. It was ber-illiant.

1 comment:

Dan said...

OY Bulley!!!

Here are thine posts! Read 'em! :)