Jelly Beans, Maps and On The Road to Alice Springs

A red full moon spied in Batchelor, Katherine's equivalent is orange! Spending a lot of time this week looking at the sky, some through a telescope, I have gained a new respect for the moon. Waiting later every night to marvel at this phenomenon, I learnt that the moon appears approximately fifty minutes later every night!

The unplayed list down to 1383 songs, sometimes just wanting to hear something familiar, this week has been the choice of the shuffle. There is something quite nice about 'Lovely day' being played randomly on a lovely day and something quite surreal about a Christmas song playing when walking a zucchini field in glorious sunshine! Mads Langer and 'Better Place' and the enemy's 'You're not alone' have become new favourites and Passenger's 'Feather on the Clyde' one of my favourite songs ever. This song evokes happy Glasgow memories.

This week alongside regular picking duties, the girls and I participated in a plant spraying round robin! Ferrying water to the fields using the ute, a hose and a box with a hundred litre capacity, switching every couple of hours, this was the true definition of teamwork! Removing powdery mildew from zucchini plants, I am pretty sure me and the other girls here will be a group of only a few who can say they did that whilst backpacking round Australia!

Taught the way Japanese words are made up this week (ten derivatives of A, E I, O and U), it has been very helpful to know in explaining sounds of english words and for writing my own Japanese dictionary :-). New French wwoofers arriving, the girls keen to know some words before they arrived, I was also able to add french teacher to my list of roles this week! Quite a different sounding language to Japanese, a teaching of 'je m'appele' reminded me of a certain friends episode (and of my dad laughing at it!) where Joey tries to speak French…! Ji ma pell ;-).

Perhaps backpacker instinct kicking in, I have had itchy feet all week. My brain, unable to decide between what it 'should' do and what it 'wanted' to do, I toyed between the west (the lure of a state not travelled), the east (perhaps easiest to find work) and the south (seemed most sensible from Darwin with a stop off at Uluru). Helped along the way by my friend Ally, some jelly beans and my map, this decision was made for me when I was offered a job on Tuesday! On the road in the direction of Alice Springs, earning some actual dollars, being a yes woman open to seeing what my future holds, in a couple of days, it is south that I go!

Crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove

Welcome to a newly themed blog site! I was feeling a bit uninspired and wanted a change… I hope you like! Should be a bit more user friendly… Still thinking though. Any suggestions welcome :-).

Back to business, to the life of a humble backpacker, arriving into Darwin the first thing I did was drop my bag at my hostel. Putting the overspill into my rucksack (having left Melbourne with space I blame my apparent bad packing), so heavier than it should be, taking it off I managed to break a strap off… Making that broken rucksack number 4, or possibly 5 (i've lost count!) ironically after fixing another backpack, resigned I went in search of a travel sewing kit. Sustenance on the brain, I sourced my first sushi in a good wee while! Arriving into my six bed dorm, I was met with four Estonians! The first on my travels, a novel accent, not understanding anything, the only word I caught was 'bedbugs'… (a universal word in all backpacker languages!) I certainly understood that one! Itchy already…! Aiming for a relatively inexpensive week, back on the filled pasta, easy, quick and tasty, it is a backpackers best friend.

Reunited with my friend Lisa who I met in Adelaide, we sourced some inexpensive lunch and caught up on the last four months. Feeling like we had seen each other the day before, it was really nice to have company in a new city :-). Venturing to the 'top' attraction in Darwin of Crocosaurus Cove (as rated by lonely planet) we found (yes you guessed it) crocodiles! Finding a sign telling me that two of the crocodiles had been renamed Kate and William in honour of the royal wedding (I wonder if they know?!) we also got to play with a baby crocodile! Soft and very cute, we got a photo to mark the occasion!

Later in the day, wandering the waterfront, via Travellers walkway, with good company and chat, I had one of my favourite Australia moments so far…

Cooking dinner on Tuesday, a voice asking for some of my hot water, turns out they were Scottish!! The first Scottish backpacker since Melbourne 6 weeks ago, they were surprised I knew they were Scottish rather than Irish (a common trend over here!) I replied with 'Well I should know as a fellow Scot'. Somewhat worrying I was then told that I didn't sound Scottish?! Whaaat?! A native telling me that?! Crazy. Reassured by some others around me, sitting chatting, conscious I hadn't been a yes woman in a while, I joined some hostel residents on a pub crawl… An interesting evening with live music and jugs of cider it ended in good chat, caledonia and some star gazing :-).

The yes woman policy was implemented again sooner than expected, on a suggestion from Lisa that we join others from her hostel in heading to Berry Springs on Wednesday. Heading out of the city, BBQ ingredients purchased en route, we arrived into the springs. A beautiful spot with waterfalls, there were some tree lined, reflective long water channels that offered some impressive swimming exercise. Having interesting chat, with one companion uttering 'whaaat's' and 'really's' I couldn't help but smile to myself and join in on quite a few :-). My brain switched up a gear to think of the English equivalents for many a French and German word, it was not so easy!! They laughed at the native English speaker having trouble! Told that I spoke english very clearly, who'd have thought it?! These Australians must be rubbing off on me…!! :-). A BBQ later we spent the afternoon at the lower falls. My companions seeking shade, I floated out alone into the water, save for some fish and dragonfly's. The last day spent with little Lisa, I do believe this is what travelling memories are made of :-).

Beach and Pub Crawl banter

After the escapades of the night before, some newly bonded roommates awoke to find that our guest had left! Now with an image for life, I will look back at the banter surrounding the situation with fondness. With a plan to do the fringe, I bumped into my new Scottish friends in the kitchen. They, with a plan to go to Hendley beach, asked if I wanted to join them. Preferring company, I said yes. With temperatures in the high 30s it definitely seemed a good plan. Banter was had over crabs, sand mermaids and bitch fights on the beach (genuinely 2 women looked ready to knock each other out!) and new connections were made.

For evening plans I decided to check out the hostel's pub crawl. $10 for 4 free drinks didn't sound too bad. Meeting Josh, Nicole and Darren, lots of banter and company was had. More than a little merry when I crawled back to the hostel quite late, I had an awesome night.

 

Vagabonding Bob

On returning to the hostel in the evening, I sat in the lounge. I could hear the two people behind me and they were most definitely Scottish. As good a conversation starter as ever, I asked where they were from. The boy, from Edinburgh, he told me that a group of them are here to study in Adelaide. Like buses, you wait ages then they all come at once!! Enjoying the chat, we were able to exchange stories and travel plans. Having returned home the night previously with a supermarket pizza in hand to find the hostel did not have an oven (6 hobs and sinks yes, but not a baking device in sight), I spent the evening with a boy that had took pity on me and shared some of his food with me. We walked up the Montefiore 'hill'. Able to see some buildings and a bit of the sunset, there were too many trees in the way to get a good view. I think I should show Adelaide the Edinburgh Pentlands!

A bit of a strange night, my policy of being a yes woman was on shaky territory. I have now implemented some rules!! Back to the hostel, I beat my companion at table tennis!! Having started not well, this was an impressive feat! An American watching us challenged the winner, and henceforth I met vagabonding Bob. On chatting, he told me he was also blogging. Weird how these connections come around, it was good to chat and looking up his page I was reminded that I have to entertain my readers! Now that volunteering is passed, this timely interjection has given me new focus and I will grab the challenge head on!!

 

Welcoming in 2013

Saw in the new year with friends of the family, watching the Sydney fireworks on the telly then had a swim in the pool at 00.15. Gorgeous! The Australian number made its first call with a nice chat to Momma and Poppa Wilson!!! Not remotely near to celebrating the bells. Good chat and company saw the early hours of 2013 in. In contrast to Christmas, very much happy to be here, already planning to be in Sydney for the next new year and solidified advice by making a new year resolution to say ‘yes’ to any opportunities arising. Welcome 2013, it is going to be a good one!!!