Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, June 27, 2009

After Mount Isa we took an overnight bus ride to a town called Katherine. This town was half the size of Mt. Isa so we were in for a treat. Along the way, we were lucky enough for our bus driver to put in one of the goriest, most horrifying movies I have ever seen and he played it really loud, so even if you didn't want to watch you couldn't stop from hearing it. We were sure to thank him for that.

Our hostel was fairly nice and had a great pool. The town was set up much the same as the last but with no attractions in the city limits. To see anything you had to travel on another bus to get there...and it was really expensive to do that! So, we spent our time at the pool and the local hot springs - but it wasn't too hot.    We saw most all of the town and a huge amount of Aboriginal people. Nice enough people, but they don't really talk to others outside their tribes. They are always outside, even during the hottest time of the day. They hang out in the parks under trees. Very few of them wear shoes and most walk around with bandaged feet. Shoes = healthy feet. We got into a discussion with the hostel manager about the Aboriginal culture and he told us that the government is required to pay every single person an average of $80,000 AUD per year for using their land! $80,000 per year! He said they like living the way they do and don't want to turn their lives around. The cost of any type of alcohol is really expensive here, because that is mainly what the natives spend their money on. In all the guide books, it warns visitors of going near the riverfront at night in these small towns, because that is where the natives hang out and by dark they are well in the bag. The government supplies their homes too.

We do see a lot of really great Ab. art and wish we could bring some home with us, but it'd be a little hard to bring back a huge painting. But, many of them are really talented.

We met a lot of people in the Outback, but you can understand our surprise when we saw a guy walking around in a University of Iowa t-shirt. Small world. Turns out he is from a town really close to where Brian grew up.

We booked our bus rides to Darwin and leave on the 28th. Looking forward to a larger town and more to do. But, we must say, it was well worth it taking the bus to see the Outback. The small rest places the bus stopped along the way consisted of gas, toilets, food (fried) and the random camp ground. If you passed one of these stations/homesteads up - it'd be hours before you came to another. At one stop they even had a postcard made of the Shell gas station. Really, a postcard of the Shell gas station?    We are still regretting not getting one. Next time we'll come with some more cash and really see everything!

We arrived to Darwin in the early evening and spent the rest of the night getting a feel for the city.  It is located on a peninsula surrounded by beaches, but you can not swim in any of them.  They have a very large population of crocs here and also Box Jelly Fish.     Thanks, I think I'll stay away from those.  But most hostels have pools and they built a really great lagoon and wave pool for the community.  It is in the 90's here and there is HIGH humidity.  This, however, is the COLDEST it gets because now it their winter.  Not many locals even swim this time of year.  Its hard for Brian and I to even be outside for more then an hour. 

We have spent lots of time here planning our next move but also lots of time to see the city.  We rented bikes yesterday (my bum still hurts) and road all around town.     They have a lot of history as this town has been rebuilt twice.  It got bombed during WWII and also had a cyclone swipe it out in 1974, so everything is fairly new.  We hiked out to the wharf last night and enjoyed the sunset over a few drinks.  

Today is Territory Day so tonight we went down to the beach where they had a huge fireworks display.     There was a market going on with lots and lots of food and a really great Oz band called Em Dee.     We spent a lot of time watching them and people dance to the music.  The fireworks were great and as soon as they were over, a camera crew walked over and sat next to us for an interview.  They asked us how much we liked them and how they compared to home.  Who knows if they aired that on TV.  So, that was the second time we have been interviewed on the beach - the first time was in Chile.  So strange.  We are international stars now.
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