Look, I am sorry to have left you without anything decent to read over the last week, but the ladies arrived and one thing led to another and you know how it is! So let me give all you avid blog-readers a quick update on our toings and froings since the last post (or reveille).
We checked out Katherine Gorge on 11 August. It was as spectacular as we had expected and as a photo or two will show. We did this while Morrie was having his fingernails trimmed in Katherine and loved it. The previous day we had learned that John McDouall Stuart was a poor speller and that it should have been Catherine! Who cairs?!
On 13 August we said tata to Katherine and thanked Keith for having put us up or put up with us and headed to Darwin to stay with Malu and Mari Barrios. Next morning off to the Rapid Creek markets for a real knee-trembler of a mango smoothie, followed by yum cha Darwin-style with Malu Mari and friends.
Monday required a bit of house-keeping with a quick haircut and a blood donation at Casuarina following which we moved into the Medina Apartments right on the waterfront. This was really ridiculous (tenting) to sublime (Medina) material! We each had at last a real bed, a washing machine and dryer, and even a separate room called the bathroom. At this point we almost decided to call the rest of the trip off and just linger longer in Darwin but common sense soon took over.
Then Tuesday (16 Aug) arrived and we met Ged and Christine at Darwin airport in the wee small hours for an emotional and tear-filled reunion. And you should have seen how Ged and Christine handled it! After staggering out of bed later that morning we had a great lunch at the Mandorah pub.
Wed 17 August was a day spent separately by the 2 couples, checking out Fannie Bay Prison and the East Point Military Museum, etc. Now here's an interesting point for all of you who are interested in interesting points: if you were a Catholic and hanged at Fannie Bay, you had the noose put on first followed by the hood. I'll explain to anyone who is still reading this rubbish.Then followed a tour of the Paspaley showroom by Richard McLean and Amber, culminating in Ian's wallet being emptied for some extremely attractive bling to adorn Ged's neck.
Wed night we dined with Rachel Gough and fiance Mick. We concluded that Mick was eminently suitable to take Rachel's hand and her other bits in marriage and will be able to reassure Don and Lynn in this regard if we ever in fact return to Sydney. Life is very good up here and Rachel and Mick have a great future together.
Now on to Thursday when we (ie the 4 of us) began our 2-day stay in Kakadu. What a corker that national park is (shipping container accommodation notwithdstanding!). Now over to John.......
....er...yea...naturally before we set off to pick up the ladies at Darwin airport we unloaded all the garbage out of Morrie so we could fit them and more garbage into Morrie, especially for his trip to Kakadu.
Now, Kakadu, there's one of Australia's iconic destinations that you really should see before to bundy off.
Kakadu national park is essentially jointly owned and operated by several aboriginal tribes and the Commonwealth Government. It covers 20,000 square kilometres, has seven distinct regions and is abundant in flora, fauna and spectacular views. After the three hour road trip from Darwin we hit the East Alligator region hard and quickly - Cahill's Crossing where we saw two crocodiles trying to mate - I won't go there, then on to a place called Ubirr - aboriginal paintings and a stuning view from quite a high peak - Crocodile Dundee stuff.
Stayed at Jabiru that night - Jabiru is essentially a mining town built by Ranger - the second largest uranium mine in the world: the town cost $95M to build. It just happens to be in the middle of a large national park.
Early next morning John and Christine went on a quick flight over Kakadu, into Arnhem land, over the Ranger mine etc..............gives you a wonderful perspective of the size and diversity of the park.
Walks around billabongs, up to lookouts and then late in the day the Yellow Water cruise where Meg the Kiwi showed us 2000 different bird types, 3000 different plant types and one crocodile type - they're silent and sly - I wouldn't like to offend one.
Jol that night complimented the croc burgers with a little off key Jimmy Hendriks.
Now back in Darwin where we will spend the next few days and then farwell the ladies late Monday night.
Just about to hit the wave pool, have a quick Satadee arvo snooze and then off to dinner uptown somewhere and then listen to some music courtesy of the Darwin Festival, which incidentally is done very well.
Catch Joel Ozborn if you can.
Hang on...hang on ....somebody is calling me........yep, it's my good friend James Boag.
I love this country.
I & J