Falling into 2017

We woke up a little later than normal on the first day of 2017. 8 am wake up, and breakfast at 8:30 am, to be able to catch our ride to our very first adventure in 2017…bungee jumping!

It just so happens that bungee jumping is on my bucket list. It was pretty good timing for me to check this off on the first day of 2017. 

The bucket list keeps getting longer as I get older, but the original was most just adrenaline pumping activities and things you can’t do before you’re 18, like skydiving (20th birthday activity) and getting a tattoo (still haven’t done this, maybe I won’t ever?!).

We got in a van that took us to the location, which was closer to the mountains and outside of the city area. We were jumping with AJ Hackett’s company. He is infamous for bungee jumping off the effiel tower and then getting arrested for it. We knew we were in good hands with this company because they had a spotless safety record and their founder was obsessed with the sport.

When we got to the location, there was this great sign that made me laugh.

We got inside and signed our lives away, which we were used to doing by this point. All the activities had waiver forms that needed to be signed, just in case.

I was doing the “Mingin Swing” first with a friend who wasn’t bungee jumping. Our previous tour manager said it was best to start with the swing because it was a good warm up for the bungee jump. Just enough adrenaline, but nothing compared to the jump.

We were the first to go, out of the group. My friend was a bit more nervous than I was for the swing. She isn’t an adrenaline junky, like I can be. I was ready to “hold her hand” and make sure she had fun, even if she was terrified.

For the swing, we were hanging on harnesses, with our stomachs to the ground. Basically, we were pulled back and then released, swinging back and forth.

The supervisor of the swing gave me the lever to pull when we made it to the top. We were slowly pulled back and up, into the jungle area. We could see on the ground a red light that would turn green when I was supposed to pull the lever to release us. As we went up, I definitely started to feel the fear washing over me. It was a lot higher than I had relaxed…

We clicked into the top and my friend screamed, thinking we were falling already. But, I hadn’t gotten the go ahead yet. I saw the green light and then the supervisor give me the thumbs up. I yanked the lever as hard as I could and we began to fall. My friend gave the biggest “freak out” scream, I have heard. I screamed too, it was fun!

We felt our stomach drop as we fell, just like a roller coaster. When we made it to the height of the other side, she asked to get off, but this time there was honestly nothing anyone could do. We were going to swing back and forth until we slowed down and the supervisor could stop us.

I tried to keep her calm and having fun, for the rest of the swings. By the time we stopped, she was smiling and seemed like she enjoyed the experience. We got a great video, which is pretty epic.

Next up, was the bungee jump. I was feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, after having completed the swing, which was going to be nothing compared to falling straight down from a higher platform.

The supervisor of the swing advised that I down a beer before going up and not to look down before jumping. I do not like beer, but I thought alcohol could be a help.

Both my friend and I got some coronas and relaxed after our heart racing time on the swing. We had a front row view of people jumping off the platform, towards the still water. They would scream and bounce a couple times, before a staff member would go out in a small raft and pull them into the raft and bring them to the edge of the pond.

While relaxing and also skiing myself up to up, one of the other group mates was up to jump. She was terrified! We couldn’t tell exactly what was going on, but it seemed like she was crying and have panic attack like symptoms on the platform. They took her off the jumping platform for a little, probably sitting her down to relax, before she reappeared of the platform again. She was still clearly freaking out, but this time she did jump. She screamed the whole time and seemed slightly relieved when she got pulled into the raft.

This whole situation did not help my confidence, and I could feel myself becoming more on edge. So, I decided I would go up and jump before my rational mind talked me out of jumping off a platform 100 meters off the ground, towards a pool of water.

As I climbed a stairs, I gave myself a little pep talk. Trying to remind myself why I was doing this and how symbolic it was the “jump into 2017.” I just had to jump, that was it. Easy!

When I got to the top of the platform I met up with a couple other group mates who were about to jump. I watched as the platform staff harnessed them in and got them ready to jump. There was an intricate pully system used to make sure the person fell only a certain distance.

When my group mates were ready, they brought them to the jumping platform and didn’t give them much of a chance to turn around or think about it. They just said, to just jump. I thought that was truly the best way to do it. If I looked down or gave it a second thought, I might not take that leap. At that point I wished that they would push us, but where is the fun in that?!

I watched a few of them jump pretty effortlessly, so I felt better knowing I was in good company of people who were building my confidence in jumping.

It was finally my turn. I got on the harness and they began to strap my legs together and attach everything. At that point, I was just focused on making sure they did everything for safety, just as they had done for everyone I watched before. They asked I wanted to touch the water and I though “why not” so I said “yes.”

They stood me up, and guided me as I waddled with my feet wrapped together to the jumping platform.

I did my best not to look down, and look at the ocean view from this high point. But, they asked that I get my toes to a certain line, near the edge, so I did have a look down. It didn’t freak me out, but the sight did remind me of how high up we were. They did the same “verbal push” that they had done with everyone else. They counted down and said “jump.”

In the most unnatural thing, I leaned forward and fell off the platform (you can’t really jump with your feet tied together) and fell head first towards the water. My stomach dropped and I screamed, before barely touching the water and bouncing back up. By this time, I was laughing a little, feeling relieved after making the first drop and bouncing back again. I bounced a couple times, before slowing enough for the staff member of the raft to come out towards me on this pond and helped me grab a pole, while still hanging by the cord upside down. He grabbed my hand from there and they lowered the rope, so I would land my back on a pad. My blood was all pooling in my upper body, since I was upside down, which was an uncomfortable feeling. I was happy to be lying down in the raft. He brought me to the edge of the pond and had me step out of my harnesses and such. My hands were still shaking from the adrenaline rush, so I had a tough time getting the harnesses off. When I finally did, I stood up slowly, to not get a head rush or any thing. I walked out of the area and towards the viewing area and got a few claps, like we had been doing for all the jumpers.

My heart was still racing a little and I felt energetic after completing the bungee jump. It was a good feeling! The first thing I really wanted to do was watch my video from the GoPro that had been attached to me. I headed to that area and watched my awesome video, which was a great takeaway from the experience. Something fun I could show my family and friends.

I then FaceTimed my parents, since we had wifi there and told them of my jump. They both laughed and remarked how they thought it was a little crazy. Happy New Year!

We watched everyone else jump and chilled out before leaving to go back to the hotel.

I was exhausted when we got back and would have preferred to nap for a while, but I had signed up for whitewater rafting in the afternoon. I was supposed to eat lunch, but just snacked, before taking a 20-minute nap.

Another friend who was going whitewater rafting woke me up to go to the lobby to catch a bus to go to the river. I was zonked, completely out of it most of the way through the bus ride, getting on the gear and floating during the first part of the trip.

That was until we hit some serious rapids (not sure what number it was on the rapid scale, but I know the max we would see was a 3). Almost falling out of a raft will wake you up real fast.
We finished down the river with a much more awake Alicia.

After an exiciting ride down the river, we took our boats out of the river and changed out of our soggy clothes to head back to the hotel.

We had a great group dinner ahead of us! We got all dressed up, and I took my first selfie of 2017…

We headed down to the harbor to an Australian restaurant. We had the chance to decide before hand what we were going to eat. One of the options was none other than a kangaroo.  Being in Australia, I thought, “why not?”

This was the kangaroo main dish (entree in Australia means appetizer). The kangaroo was like beef, only a little more gamey.

For dessert we had the Australian delicacy, pavlova! I’ve made this dessert before and absolutely loved it. It was awesome to be able to eat this yummy dessert in its home country. The dessert was named after a famous ballerina.

We had had quite a few late nights on the east coast so far, so we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow, we had a long day of driving ahead of us before we would get to the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands. 

Uluru Sunrise and Sunset 

We got up early again…ugh! But, so very worth it. We got a quick breakfast at 4:15 in the morning and made our way into the national park.

Because Uluru is known for its beautiful color changes during the day, there is both a sunset and sunrise viewing area. We made our way to the sunrise viewing area of course.

We got there early and I set up my GoPro to do a time lapse of the sunrise.

The sunlight reflecting off of rock gave off beautiful colors. It was definitely worth it to wake up early for this sight. I took a bunch of pics with this red rock and so many more over the next 24 hours…

From there, we headed to the base of the rock to walk around the rim, which is normally a 10 km hike. However, this morning some of it was closed because of large puddles, so we didn’t get to walk the whole thing.

It was stunning to get closer to this red rock and see how imperfect it was up close. From far away, it looks so round and red. But, there are many colors on this rock and many holes and hidden caves. It felt like a intimate look at Uluru.

From there, we headed back to our accommodations to relax a little before our helicopter ride to see a whole other side of Uluru Kata-tjuta National Park.

We were picked up a little after lunch time to make our way to the helicopter ride.

We headed up and made our first stop to see Kata-Tjuta!

From there, we made our way to see Uluru!

I LOVED seeing the rocks from the ariel view because it gave you another view of these massive monolithic red rocks in the middle of Australia.

We then made it back to the accommodation in time to get all dressed up for our special event tonight to end this Outback adventure. We actually got to put on makeup and tried to care about what we looked like, which was a first for basically this entire trip.

At 6:15 pm, we left our accommodations to go back into the national park

for a campagne sunset. We arrived at the sunset viewing area and I again set up my camera to take a video of it all. Unfortunately, the battery was so I didn’t get the whole sunset…

But, we enjoyed some bubbly and snacks! Most importantly, I discovered beetroot humus, which is insanely good! Haha

We took lots of group pictures, to make sure we would remember this moment. We were so happy to be together and to have met each other.

We got back on the bus and sang our new favorite song: home among the gun tree! It’s an Australian fave and we learned all the dance moves. Now it is stuck in my head…

We headed back to the bar at our accommodations and danced until late. Some of us would be continuing on to the second leg of the trip on the east coast, and some of us would not. We had all survived the conditions of the outback and just didn’t want to say goodbye.

Uluru = Ayers Rock

I woke up to people around me shuffling around in the dark and bright beams of flashlights shining in my face. It was 4:15 am and we were heading out to Kings Canyon for a sunrise hike.

I had already gotten dressed the night before in my hiking clothes just so I could easily get up and on the coach, no hassle.

The stars were still stunning when we were heading to the coach. I quickly ate my breakfast bar and gulp down water for the hike ahead. We were about to do a 6 km hike, which our tour manager said could take us up to 3 hours to complete. I plugged in my headphones, still sleepy for waking up earlier than normal, and blasted some EDM to help me get ready for a great hike.

We got to the base of the canyon at around 5:15 am, just as the sun was beginning to rise. I quickly put on my sunblock, being the incredibly pale person that I am, you never know if the even in the rising sun will give you a sunburn. Also, I sprayed some bug spray, to make sure bugs didn’t want to be close of friends with me on this hike.

Our tour manager had let us know that there were two options for hiking this morning. The first was a 6 km hike, which for the first 30 minutes would be straight up the canyon with seemingly never ending steps. It would exhaust you at first, but after the first 30 minutes the rest of the hike was not a heart pumping. The second option was shorter and through a creekbed. I of course wanted to do the 6 km hike, knowing the view would be worth the sweat this early in the morning.

We started up the steps and damn was it tough. Non-stop steps for about 30 minutes. A few people headed back down the to do the creek walk instead of completing the rest of this 6 km hike. When we made it to the end of these delivish stairs we had a great view of the rising sun just beginning to hit the tops of the canyon. It was a pretty sight!

The rest of the hike was just as beautiful and stunning. It was relatively easy for the most part. The way the rising sun hit the red rocks of the canyon gave off a beautiful golden glow unlike anything I had ever seen in person. I was just so happy to be there, taking in the view.

We took some steps down and crossed a bridge over what was called the “garden of eden” and then climbed more steps up to get to the other side with a really gorgeous view over the whole canyon. We stopped here for a while to take some photos.

Having a tour manager/ someone to guide you around places is great for so many reasons like having special insights, someone planning and organizing activities, and someone to look after you if anything happens. But, in this moment we were happy to have Mark because he knew all the best places to take great pictures to capture the moment. Especially in the tricky lighting of the rising sun. We got some really cool photos.

We continue on and down the canyon, down many steps until we made it back to our starting point.

We felt absolutely elated as we joined the rest of the group, high off of endorphins and beautiful sights. We boarded the coach and headed back to the station for some brekkie.

Brekkie in oz (Australia slang) is mostly fried eggs, bacon (more ham like), beans, toast and tomatoes. Put it all together and you’ve got a great sandwich. I am loving it!

After brekkie and a quick shower, we loaded onto the bus to go to Yulara for our final days of the trip. On our way, we stopped at fool-a-roo, which can fool some people who think it is the real Uluru. The sand was getting so red, we knew we were getting closer to the red center.

By lunch time, we had made it to the town square and got lunch from the local grocery store. I picked up some boomerangs to bring back at a gift store.

We then boarded the coach again, this time to go into Uluru Kata-Tjuta Nationa Park!

So before I go further, I want to better explain the park. Uluru is more commonly known in the states as Ayers Rock. Kata-Tjuta is a rock formation nearby, which is less round compared to Uluru. In fact, Kata-Tjuta literally translates into many heads, referencing the 26 domes of red rock. Both are huge monolithic rocks made of sandstone with high amounts of iron in them, which exposed to the elements, give them the red color.

The first thing we did was go to the cultural center to learn more about how this park came to be. In the mid 1970s, the land was given back to the indigenous people, who then leased the land back to the government for 99 years to have this park. There are many stories about Uluru, which is the most sacred of the two rock formations. Though Uluru is quite round, it does have some holes and discoloring on it, so there are many aboriginal stories to explain how the rock came to be.

From a geological perspective, the rock was formed over thousands of years from sediment. Then, it was pushed by up through the ground, turning exactly 90 degrees. Though Uluru is quite tall from the ground up, it is not as tall as Kata-Tjuta, which has some domes taller than Uluru. However, Uluru is considered the largest monolithic rock in the world because geologist believe that it goes as far at 6 km below the ground.

Geographically, it is basically in the center of Australia. So people consider it the heart of Australia.

It is truly incredible on all fronts: both spiritually and scientifically.

We then got back on the coach and took a lap around the rock which gave us a better perspective of how massive it really is. We would get to interact with the rock a lot more tomorrow!

We spent the rest of our time in the park with Kata-Tjuta, specifically doing the whopper Gorge walk. It was a bumpy one and the second one of the day, so I was a bit tired. However, being up close with the rock gave you great perspective on spectacular this lesser known rock formation is on its own.

Once we completed the hike, we went back to our lodge style accommodations, got a good shower and ate dinner. None of us wanted to stay up very late, given that we had gotten up before sunrise today and would do it again tomorrow.  We passed out happily!

Sleeping in a Swag in the Outback

We woke up to more rain this morning. Though it is supposed to be the dry season here, it has been rainy and overcast the entire time we have been in Alice Springs. In fact, this is true for most of the desert area of the Outback. Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), which is our grand finale to this leg of the trip, was flooded out yesterday and the national park was closed. We were starting to get worried we wouldn’t be able to go into the park, which would put a damper on the trip. Our tour guide kept a positive attitude and lined up a plan b, c, and d for us, if the park was closed.

I am keeping positive thoughts, no matter what!

We got up early, packed our overnight bag for camping, ate breakfast and headed out for the day at 7 am. When we were talking about what we were looking forward to most at the beginning of the trip, I said what was going to happen tonight: camping outdoors in swags. It’s a very Aussie thing to do, plus we would be deep in the Outback, so I wanted to see all the stars. Because of the rain, we wouldn’t be able to do a ATV ride around the campsite and might not be able to camp outside…I was a little disappointed.

Our first stop of the day was on the outskirts of Alice Springs to learn about Aboriginal culture. On the way there, we passed the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service, which helps assist people in remote areas. It was established a while ago by a famous Australian who even made it onto the paper money.

When we pulled up to the shelter where we would meet our guide, it started raining even harder. We ran under shelter. One thing I have noticed is that no one but me brought a rain jacket. Our tour manager said that Americans and Canadians seemed to always have the best rain gear. I love my Gore-Tex rain jacket, which has been incredibly useful here. Trying to bring back the rain jacket trend!

Our guide was very knowledgeable about aboriginal people, so I was looking forward to hearing his thoughts. In particular, I was interested in comparing how the US has worked with Native Americans and the Australians and Aboriginal people. From what I could tell in my travels so far, there was a bad unemployment problem. There was also some health issues and quite possibly alcoholism.

Besides learning about the culture, we would also be able to try Bushtucker, which is food from the bush that aboriginal people would eat. There were some normal fruits and vegetables, but also some insects we might be able to try…

The guides started off by talking about how the aboriginal people got here and survived in the bush. They came over from Shri Lanka a while ago and have survived in Australia for over 40,000 years. They slowly moved from the Northern Territory to lower down in the continent. They moved in small tribes and kept their numbers small, allowing for more adaptablility. They had survival rules like sharing their food with everyone or there would be serve punishment and if someone was gravely injured, they would be left behind.

They had some very interesting marriage traditions as well. Apparently, a long time ago there was an inbreeding problem that they wanted to avoid, so they created strict rules about who could marry who. You could only marry people who were 4 families removed. How you would know which lines someone came from was their name. In fact, there were only 8 names in their culture. You would receive your name from your great grandmother or great grandfather. That meant that if you had a sister, you both would have the same name, since you both has the same grandmother.

The girls were married off at around the age of puberty, so around age 12. This was because of the harsh conditions, many of the women did not receive the nourishment to have enough body fat to have a menstrual cycle, so having a baby at a young age was really your best bet for reproducing. The man who the girl would marry, however, was in his early to mid twenties. The boys would need to go through initiation with their fathers and uncles to learn how to provide for his future family, which took time.

The mother was the one who picked out the husband for her daughter, choosing the best to provider. After the daughter married to the husband however, the mother-in-law and son-in-law did not interact. This was because of the closeness in ages. If you married at 11, had your first child at 12 and then married off your 12 year old child when you were 24 to a 24 year old man, then the husband was closer to your age. There would be issues with attraction, so this rule was put into place.

We got the chance to try some bush tea and bush bread, which was delicious. It honestly was just like black tea and scones.

We then got into the learn about the bushtucker. We got to look at vegetables, fruits and seeds that indigenous people found in the bush.

We then got to learn about the whittchity grub, a caterpillar like insect found inside trees. One of our group mates was the one to try it..

We then also got to try kangaroo tail. It was like a really fatty piece of beef or pork.

From there, we went over to see some of the art that aboringal women had created. I even bought a piece that would go nicely in a kitchen or dining room.

Finally we went to learn about the weapons that they used, including spears, shields and boomerangs.

I even got to try my hand at throwing a boomerang, and realized I would not have survived in those days.

We then drove off to our next destination, kings creek station, to camp under the stars.

On the way, we stopped at an emu farm.

When we finally got to Kings Creek Station, there was a noticeable difference in the climate, which was much drier.

It was an absolute beautiful sight, with red sand everywhere. The sunset was gorgeous at nighttime.

We got to sleep in swags outside, under the beautiful stars, which was awesome. We had been so worried about missing this opportunity. A Swag, for those who don’t know, is a canvas covering for your sleeping bag, so that you don’t have to use a tent.

We listened to some guitar, watched all the bugs dance close to the light and just gazed at the stars. Being so far away from a city, I saw the most spectacular sight of stars I had ever seen. We saw the Milky Way and just stared in awe. We even got to see the southern cross, which is on the Australian flag. There is not picture because it is very hard to capture the stars without a proper camera.

We fell asleep outside in hot weather, with nature all around us. And, I’m here to say, on the other side, that I survived!

Gorgeous Katherine Gorge

It’s Christmas Eve and it is about 80 degree Fahrenheit here, along with humidity. No white Christmas here!

We woke up at 6 am to get breakfast at 6:30. The night before, as I expressed my love for tim-tams, one of the aussies told me about a trick with Tim-tams and coffee.

The trick is to bite off diagonal corners, then place one of the bitten off corners into the coffee. Then you need to suck through the other bitten off corner to get coffee and make the cookie smooshie! Yum, so delish!

We then got on the bus with all our stuff and headed out of Kakadu National Park, where we had spent the last 2 nights. Our first stop was the Kakadu entrance sign to get a picture or two.

Then we headed off to a cafe to get lunch that we would take with us to Edith Falls just down the road. When we got to Edith Falls, we were not allowed near the water, since there may be a few crocs in there. We are our lunch in the grass near by with a view of the Falls. The flies were insufferable though. I guess that is the outback for you!

We then quickly changed into bathing suits for our next adventure.

We then arrived in the town of Katherine about 2 hours later. We stopped at Woolworths for some water and other necessities. Finally heading off to our next adventure, we passed the Katherine School of the Air. Because of how remote this area is, they used to have children gather in a school house and listen to the radio to learn. It just helped me understand how remote the area we were in was, before modern technology. But, even then, I was still having trouble getting wifi now.

The coach pulled up to a dock, where we all loaded into the boat for a Katherine Gorge tour. The gorge was huge and went on for over 100 km. It had a reddish tint to it from exposure to the elements. It actually reminded me of what I imagine the Grand Canyon would look like in person.

We got a certain point in the Gorge where we wouldn’t be able to cross by boat, so we got out and crossed to the next boat on foot. We got a photo or two there.

On the next boat, we saw the iconic Katherine Gorge photo. It was beautiful to see the water running through the reddish rocks, with a little green here and there, a blue sky with a smattering of clouds. Picture perfect!

We then docked the boat again, this time to find a waterfall within the Gorge.

We started on the path, which clearly was not well laid out. There was a lot of climbing on rocks that were slippery with sand and no clear place to put your foot next. A few of the girls only had on thong sandals which broke on the way there. I was behind them and got a little annoyed at the situation, since I had my tevas with me. I really wanted to see this waterfall, so I was getting impatient.

We did get to the waterfall with plenty of time to enjoy the water and the experience.

I brought my GoPro in with me, which was great because the footage is awesome!

The two Aussie sibilings climbed up a rock formation nearby the waterfall and were jumping off the ledge. It looks like fun, so I decided to climb up (again thankful for my tevas) to the top.

Once at the top, about 12 feet from the water, it was a little nerve racking to think about jumping. But, of course there was no other way down and I really wanted to do it.

I jumped and it of course was exhilarating! I came up smiling and laughing. Just a fun way play in the waterfall pool. And, I love that kind of stuff!

Feeling more alive, I swam to shore to get my outer clothes back on and head back to the boat. We got back on the boat, headed back to the dock, got on the coach and headed to our accommodations for the night.

Given that it was Christmas Eve, there were not many restaurants open. So, we ordered pizza and sat by the pool. We got to try an Australian dessert called “lamington.” It’s a yellow cake with a chocolate and coconut frosting and a whipped cream top. Really good!

We swam for a while, before heading to bed for another early morning. This time it would be Christmas!

Exploring Kakadu!

We woke up at 6 am, got breakfast at the restaurant. I made sure to avoid the vegemite! We left the accommodation at 7 pm, to drop off some people who were signed up for a scenic flight of the park.

Kakadu is a massive national park. In fact it is half the size of Switzerland and the size of Maryland. There are over 10,000 different species of insects, which was quite obvious by looking around. There are lots of wild animals as well, like wallabies, crocodiles, dingos, board, wild horses and more.

While some did the scenic flight, the rest of us headed over to the Bowali cultural center to learn more about the indigenous people. We saw their calendar on a stone. It was not by months, but by seasons, which makes more sense to me. I don’t get the point of month’s of December 21st is when winter starts. Just had an extententional crisis wondering about why we had months on our calendar.

We then headed to an area where there was an indigenous rock art walk. We loaded up on bug spray and sunblock before heading in.

There are ants with green butts running around everywhere. Our tour guide mentioned that if you ate the green butt part, you would get a shot of vitamin C. A few of us tried it and it was actually pretty great. It just tasted like citrus.

There were large rock formations, almost wall like, where we could see the paintings. Because most of the culture is held closely by elders, many of the larger meanings of the stories are not known by people outside of the culture. However, we could glean some basics from the drawings. We saw a wallaby on one, another was about fertility, another about celebration and so many more.

From there, we did a quick hike up to see the larger rock formation from a distance. Mark told us about the small rock on the edge of the cliff. Apparently, within the indigenous culture, you are not supposed to mate with a sibiling. But, a chief did and he symbolically placed a feather up there. Now, there is a rock to symbolize it and remind others not to do what he did.

Here is me at the top!

We headed over towards the yellow water, to have lunch. We had a baguette with some cold cuts. Relaxed for a while and just enjoyed the air conditioning.

We then headed down to the yellow river for our cruise. We were on the billabong river in kakdu, getting a wetlands cruise. Our guide was straightforward and funny. He knew a lot about the waters and the animals inside. Though we couldn’t see any crocodiles. There were definitely a few hundred in there!

They are able to hold their breath for up to 6 hours and slow their heart beat down to one to two beats per hour. In dry season, they layout in the sun to keep warm. But, since it was very hot out, they were mostly sitting at the bottom of the river. We were instructed to try not to fall overboard. But, if we did, we had about a minute before a croc would be after us. Comforting, huh?

There were lots of other wildlife in the river as well. We saw “Jesus birds” who look like they are walking on water, but really they are walking on Lilly pads. We saw some beautiful flowers from a specific type of Lilly pad. This one the indigenous women would harvest for their stems. Not before doing a prayer to keep the crocs from eating them. If they did get eaten, the elders would say they didn’t do the prayer right…

After a long day in 80 degree weather, we headed back to the accommodations to hangout in the pool. A girl from LA bought some yellow tail wine and red solo cups. We enjoyed some laughs over that. We hung out in the pool for a couple hours before heading to dinner.

After dinner, we just hung out around the table and talked about the differences in culture. I love hearing from the aussies on the trip because though they don’t know this part of their country, they know about most everything else. We talked about cricket, politics, differences in candies, stores, restaurants and more. It was funny to hear they even have the bachelor in australia. It is the Australian version, of course. I thought I might actually watch that one! Ha!

We headed off the bed because we once again had to wake up early.