I’ve met enough local folks that I don’t have go hitchiking into town quite so much anymore. (Or ever, actually, as most of them have been really quite intent upon giving me a ride, because there are actually an unusually high number of people who prey on travelers out here, apparently.)
I got picked up yesterday morning, and I thought I was going to the store.
Okay, to be real, I thought I was going on like, a bit of a scenic route to the store, where I would be taken to some cool shiny things that locals know about.
We did not make it to the store.
Instead, I went to Barry Falls (I think), but there were way too many people there, so we left there, and then we went to…some spot along the river, where I learned how to catch mud crabs (pick them up from behind). We took a proper outback road – which is a dried up creek bed, because it’s still build-up, and the wet hasn’t actually come yet.
We drove by a bush fire, and out to the ocean.
There’s a pole on the cliff, and it’s where there used to be a thing called the “Rock-Sitter’s Club”, because in Australia, there are some bizarre rules about alcohol consumption, one of which was (is?) apparently that it’s illegal to drink within two kilometres of a bottle shop. So, the locals measured out two kilometres and put a pole there. People would go buy their booze, walk out to the cliffs and then sit on the rocks and drink.
I guess the Rock-Sitters Club was officially disbanded after, like, five people died or something, but people still go out to the rocks to have a drink.
We went to an old army outpost that’s apparently haunted by “The Poinciana Woman” who is named after the Poinciana trees (Also known as Flame Trees) that live by the building.
We did *not* swim in the ocean because of the box jellyfish.
So, instead we went to a lake, and it was the kind of perfect-warm, tropical water that feels effortless to be in. (This lake was also free of crocodiles, and other various deadly Australian creatures, which is why we got to go swimming there.)
We went to Charles Darwin Park (Apparently the city of Darwin is actually named after Charles Darwin. In case you needed another reason to think that Darwin is *Awesome*.) where I was tricked into eating green ants. I was told they tasted like fairy-floss (A.K.A. Cotton Candy), which, for the record, I didn’t actually ever believe, but there are ants back home that taste kind of lemonheads, so it seemed reasonable that they wouldn’t be terrible. They do not taste like fairy floss. They taste like the powder left over in a warhead wrapper. So…essentially just like burning, but with a little bit of a citrus zing to it.
Then I ate another one, just to make sure I had it right.
I haven’t been kidnapped in ages.
I kind of forgot how marvelous it is.