Darwin to Kakadu

Day 2, Wednesday 1/8/03
Today we were able to have complimentary breakfast in the rooftop restaurant of the hotel (the Frontier) in Darwin. It was nice, but a bit early and we didnt all (especially those who had stayed out in the pubs quite late) appreciate the view as much as we might have at another time. It was then onto the coach for a riding tour around Darwin. There really wasnt a whole lot to see, but we did stop on the wharf to take pictures. There we saw about 15 illegal Indonesian fishing boats tied up at sea. Apparently, when the Australian government catches them, they anchor them I the harbor and make them stay there until their trial date about a month later.

We then went to the Northern Territory museum. We had about a 1 there and saw exhibits on aboriginal art, Australias involvement in the Vietnam War and cyclone Tracy (which is actually a hurricane, but those Aussies just call some things by strange names). The aboriginal art was kind of surprised me because I was expecting ancient works of art and almost all the stuff was made in the past two decades. A lot of it depicted the Europeans coming and taking over Australia from the aboriginals, but it was painted only recently in an old style.

* We have a morning and afternoon song Paul plays on the bus everyday so that every time we hear them, we will be reminded of our Aussie Adventure. They are some song by an Australian guy called Ive done a dumb thing and Sweet Home Alabama by Lynard Skynard.

After the museum, we went into Darwin a bit to stock up on supplies and such. We walked around with Chris and looked in all the souvenir shops on Smith Street. Still getting an idea of what we want to take home to everyone.

We hopped back on the coach and drove about hour outside of town to a ramshackle metal hut thing called the digeridoo hut. I was expecting kind of a wooden hut in the woods, I guess, but this looked like one of those right-on-the-highway firework stands you see in Arizona. Around back, however, we got to see a guy making digeridoos. The authentic ones are actually made by ants, who dig out the middle of the tree, then the aboriginals sand and paint them. We tried to play them, Cory was ok (he sounded like a foghorn, Ivan said) and I failed miserably.

Out back we got to pet and hold baby kangaroos. There were two whose mother had been run over. They were so cute and very friendly. It was awesome to get to hold them. We definitely got pictures of that.

After about another hour of driving, we stopped at a roadside place to go to the bathroom and get some stuff to eat. They even had a bar. I got an ice cream bar (in January!) Around back, they had emus and two fully grown Kangaroos. We waited forever for them to jump, but they never did while we watching. Im sure they were hopping like mad as soon as we got back on the coach.

We had another 1 hour on the bus and I fell asleep. Paul woke us all up when we were about 5 minutes from the hotel. He was telling us the plan when all of a sudden, the bus stopped in the middle of the road. The road had been completely flooded out. It is the wet season after all. Paul got out to see what was going on. Everyone on the bus thought it was hilarious. It wasnt till after Paul got back on the bus that he admitted that he and Scotty were playing a joke on us and that it wasnt actually our road. Its the one they use in the dry season to get to the hotel, but it had actually been flooded over for a couple of days. We got out to take pictures and there were people fishing in the road. It was an odd sight. I think were definitely getting into an Aussie spirit, cause not a single one of us was stressed. We all had a no dramas, were on holiday kind of attitude.

Scotty managed to turn the bus around on the two-lane road without us getting suck in the mud and we made it to our hotel where well be staying for two nights. Its not the greatest of accommodations but it is clean. The walls are cinder blocks (faux finished with green paint my mom would be so proud!) and they have air conditioning (Thank God!). What we cant figure out is the reason behind putting a fridge in every room, but having the bathrooms communal and around the building.

We had a complimentary dinner on the patio by the pool. Its been raining since we got here, so one half of the chairs were wet. Luckily, we got there early enough so we got the inside seats. You could choose what meat you wanted, and we, of course, did not choose fish. Surprisingly, though, it was split about halfway with who wanted steak and who wanted fish. We sat next to Jill, Derrick and Chris and across from Kenny, Nanik and Judit. Kenny is a hilariously funny guy from Scotland. Everyone teases him about He killed Kenny! from Southpark. I love both his and Jills Scottish accent. After every time Paul plays the morning song, Kenny shouts out Rubbish! We had such a great time laughing and telling stories. Jill loves Friends and was asking what happens this season because it hasnt started yet in Scotland; it starts in February. The bugs in the communal bathroom are something I could live without, though.

The Didgeridoo Hut on our way to Kakadu

Amy holding a baby kangaroo in the back of the Didgeridoo Hut

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