Thought I'd compose a journal entry to update you all on what I have, and haven't, been doing these last two weeks.
After arriving in Darwin, Bas and myself joined a tour group to Kakadu for a three day camping trip. One of the highlights for me was a boat trip down the Mary River. On the boat trip we went by a wetlands area and saw a number of interesting water birds. I also got my first glimpse of the awesome saltwater crocodiles which can grow up to 9 metres in length. They are such handsome beasts and to see one you can almost imagine yourself back in the time of the dinosaurs. Some are even so famous in the area that everyone knows them by name. I am told that one croc who goes by the name of Eric will be appearing on the BBC soon. I'm guessing it won't be long before he cracks Hollywood and we will probably be seeing snaps(!) of him with various she-crocs in Hello magazine before long!
Another highlight was the second night of the trip camping under the stars in a swag. A swag is like a canvas sleeping bag with a mattress that you put on the outside of your sleeping bag. We dragged our swags right out under the stars and were able to enjoy a stunning night sky and the odd shooting star. Our first night had been a very different story as we had camped in very hot conditions in mosquito heaven. They were everywhere, buzzing in your ears and trying to stop you from sleeping. I even put mozzie repellent on my ears but to no avail!
Darwin itself has some really nice things to do and here are a couple of my favourites-
1) A really cool open-air cinema called the Deckchair Cinema where you can enjoy good films with a beer right next to the sea. You sit, not too surprisingly, on deckchairs!
2) Another is a pub which does 1 dollar (40p) backpacker meals. I think they will be glad to see the back of me!
3) Finally, there is an awesome night market (Honz, you'd love it!) by the beach where you can go and watch the sunset. There is loads of different international food stalls there and you can take the food right out onto the beach with you. They also have people playing traditional aboriginal instruments and one group even has a guy who played not one, not two, not even three, but four didgeridoos, I kid you not!
In my last journal entry I mentioned the possibility that I would find work here in Darwin. I have subsequently decided not to work and am instead heading to Sydney tonight on my way to New Zealand and then home.
Oh, I forgot to mention, having been kicked out of my hostel along with about 20 other backpackers, I have been staying in a tent in the middle of town the last few nights. Before you start wondering what debauch behaviour resulted in my getting kicked out I'd just like to assure you I didn't do anything wrong! I got a nice wake-up call around 9.30am from the hostel owner to say - 'Graeme, you've been here about a week now and we need your bed so if you would like to come and check-out by ten that would be great'! Luckily I didn't feel too victimised as a number of others were also rather rudely asked to leave and those who weren't went voluntarily out of disgust. My new landlord is a breath of fresh as he says very little but instead nods his head, points his finger and says the occassional 'cool', or, when he feels particularly talkative, 'cool dude'!
I now have a 1.30am flight to look forward to so I'm off to do some washing and pack up my tent, it is a stressful life being a backpacker!
I hope everyone is well, lovely to hear from you all,