Waterfalls and more waterfalls

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jun 05, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ok, our first day of the new tour down to Adelaide - a long way away!

We started by stopping at some Termite Mounds - which are literally about 5 metres high and amazing. It takes about 10 years to build them a metre high so the one we saw was about 50 years old - and each termite eats one grain of sand, climbs to the top, poos it out and then mixes it with the poo and leaves it - hence why it takes so long!

We first went to Florence Falls - a short hike through the bush to get to a beautiful rockpool and waterfall where we all swam, then onto Buley Falls which was a series of waterfalls and pools all interlinked - we wished we could have spent longer there. The other people on the tour are lovely - there's 16 of us and about 50:50 male female ratio which makes a change!

We then had lunch before going onto an aboriginal tour where we were all welcomed to the country (including Kakadu and Litchfield) by this aboriginal guy spitting water onot each of our foreheads and saying what sounded like - Kookookoo. Basically it means we're protected from the spirits of the land and wont be harmed while here. He then took us through the uses of some of the plants and bushes around (unbelievably clever - I have no idea how they found out what to eat and not to, and, more importantly, what to do with the poisonous ones to make them edible). We then had a didgeridoo display (it's REALLY hard to do), and a little demonstration by the main guys neice on weaving and basket making. This girl was amazing - she was probably only 12 and the most self-possessed and adult girl I've ever met - a far cry from English 12 year olds! Between 3-6 years old aboriginal girls choose their futures - either dilly bag making, basket weaving or cooking and cleaning. Can you imagine any 3 year old in the western world being able to learn how to weave a basket or a bag? Between 7-14 they learn about their culture etc and from this point on brothers and sisters NEVER speak to each other again - so sad. Then at 16 they get married. And this happens now - not 100 years ago or anything. Very bizarre. They also have a very different idea of family - all her uncles are called 'dad', and all her neices and nephews are 'son' or 'daughter', while they call her 'mum'. (In aboriginal, obviously!!!) Men are allowed up to 13 wives and women up to 3 husbands - it is just such a different culture in every way. It was very weird to see it in reality, rather than just reading or hearing about it. We then did some aboriginal dancing to clapsticks and didgeridoos to say goodbye to the aborigibnal people.

It was very, very, very hot though - and pretty sticky. We stayed in 2 man permanent tents, with a 2 inch high 'mattress' covered in plastic which doesnt help the heat! Also lots of mosquitoes - not so great. We decided we can deal with either heat OR mosquitoes - both is just too much. You have to be in your sleeping bag to protect from the bugs but then feel as if you're dying of heat - not a perfect combo!
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