DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

50th Birthday Vacation in Australia—Day 6

I forgot to put this in my birthday (October 13th) entry. On that day, while watching the videos on MAX, they had horoscopes scrolling along the bottom of the screen. Mine said:

You may need to give yourself a break from being such a cosmic hotty tonight and just think for a moment.

A cosmic hotty; that just cracks me up.

This is the outdoor lobby area of the Darwin Airport Resort hotel, in which we spent the night.

We had breakfast, which was offered between 5:30 and 10:00, and as we entered the greeter asked, "Will you be having the continental breakfast or the full breakfast?"

I couldn't remember if breakfast was included with our room rate, but we decided on the continental, which was just plenty—a choice of a variety of Kellogg cereals, including one with a slight name change: the famous "snap, crackle, and pop" variety was not called Rice Krispies, but Rice Bubbles, for some reason.

When we checked out, about a half hour later, we found out that breakfast indeed wasn't complimentary, and the charge for two continental breakfast? $33. Glad we didn't get the full breakfast.

I thought I had arranged for us to be picked up at the hotel and taken to the charter flight area, but when no one came to pick us up after 40 minutes, we took the hotel shuttle there. It wasn't a problem, in that it was only three minutes away, it was 8:40 and the flight was to leave at 9:00.

We boarded our little charter jet with one other couple who were also headed to Seven Spirit Bay.

At about half-way through the trip Robert and I both noted, with a little alarm, the fuel indicators—there were two of them side by side—both suddenly dropped from three-quarters full to one-quarter full. About 5 or 10 minutes later, the gauge continued its downward trend, and Robert and I both tried to pretend it didn't matter.

I looked away, and the next time I looked back, both gauges had jumped back up to over three-quarters. Reserve tanks.

We had a nice welcome at the "Seven Spirit Bay International Airport," which, literally, was a protective shelter at the end of a gash in the land that was our airstrip.

We were greeted by Amy, who was totally sweet, and we chatted just a little bit with the six or eight people who were leaving. We then had to sit and wait until the little plane actually took off again before we could head to The Lodge. This is because the pilot is not in contact with anyone, so if something should go wrong, Amy could radio back to The Lodge, where they could radio the air traffic control folks.

We were welcomed by the manager, Graham, where he went over a few things with us—that's us and the other couple who had flown in with us—and then he first showed them to their habitat, and then us to ours.

Just like the brochure promised, we have a view of the bay from our habitat, which is open on three-fourths of its walls—all screened with louver type window treatments. Three are two ceiling fans, and the breeze comes cross ways at night. We were also shown our bathroom, which is just cool being outside.

We took a swim about an hour before lunch, which was quite refreshing. We talked with a woman in the pool who seemed a little miffed when we didn't recognize the name of the Australian city she was from.

There were a few of these little guys hip-hopping around the place:

Brodie served us lunch, which consisted of a delicious salad with lamb, tomatoes, feta cheese, some buttery kind of delicious croutons, onions, and lettuce of course. It was topped with a light dressing that reminded me of cucumber or tzatziki. Dessert was boysenberry sorbet over fruit, which looked delicious and was delicious.

During lunch Ali stopped by our table to talk about the afternoon excursion. At this point, after meeting Amy, Brodie, and Ali, I wondered if you had to have a name that ended in an "i" sound to work here.

We had a nice interruption toward the beginning of lunch as Ralph, the resort iguana, made an appearance.

Ali had thought about going to a place where we could see some "micro bats," but none of the other guests (there are a total of 12 of us—6 couples here today) expressed interest in going.

I explained to her that since we were only going to be staying here two days, in a pre-arrival e-mail exchange, it had been recommended that we see: Hospital Point, the Nypa Palms, and Gunners Guoin.

She said, "Okay, perfect. Tomorrow morning's outing is to Gunners Guoin, so you can do that tomorrow. This afternoon we could see the Nypa Palms instead of going to the bat place. Let me just check with the last table here, and see what they think. They just arrived yesterday, so haven't seen most things, including the Nypa Palms, so they'll probably be game."

As it turned out the last table, which consisted of Jane and Susan, had plans to just relax for the afternoon, so we ended up going to the Nypa Palms, so it turned out to be a private guided tour, as it was just us and Ali.

We had a great trip. It took 40 minutes to get there in a 4WD, complete with horns on the front. That's Ali, our guide, with me.

About 20 minutes into the ride, Ali suddenly turned off the motor, and her face just lit up as she squealed quietly, "Ponies! Oh, they're so beautiful. I can't believe it. We so rarely see them, and even more rarely in the heat of the day like this."

Of course they ran quickly away from us, but I did manage one shot that shows the stallion actually, who was with the ponies.

It was really delightful seeing these wild creatures prancing around in the wild, obviously loving their habitat.

We made a stop where we saw some fascinating work of the Bowerbird—all this to attract a mate:

At the end of the 40-minute ride, we got out and walked around for about a mile or so, with Ali pointing out various fauna and flora to us. At one point, we stopped to taste the stem of water lily, which Ali precariously reached out to "pluck" for us. (Potentially there are "crocks" in these waters.)

Once back on "safe" ground, Ali took out her Swiss Army knife, and peeled off the outer layers of the stem of the lily, cut off both ends, and then sliced us each about a two-inch section.

If you looked into the tubular stem, it looked like wagon wheels in there. "This was a very, very rich area for the aborigines here, as there's fresh water here, and just a few hundred meters down the way, there's salt water. There is all kind of flora here that the people made great use of. For instance, this stem, with its "wagon wheels" as you see, actually filters liquid. So you could run water through here and filter it."

We ate our section of the stem, and Robert summed it up succinctly, "It has the taste and texture of a delicate celery."

Next, we saw the namesake of the area and the excursion, the Nypa Palms. These plants also have important connections to and history with the aboriginal people.

On the way back, we stopped to see a "local" iguana, which Ali had been on the lookout for in a particular area. Here he is clinging for dear life in a tree while we inspected him.

I also had to get a snap shot of one of the termite hills, which are all over the place here. The ones built at the bases of dead trees are almost always inactive, and the ones at the base of living trees, active, which makes sense when you think about it.

I photographed this one, because of the fact that it was almost as tall as the tree itself.

A little later down the road, Robert jumped out and took the picture of the inside of one that had been "sectioned." The guides had told us that they were quite think inside, and very, very hard—in fact some of the aboriginal people used them to make concrete-like flooring. "It's really quite amazing how much of it there is and how hard it gets considering that, pretty much, it's just termite dung and vomit," Ali explained.

To Ali's utter disbelief, we ran into the ponies again on the way back. During this ride, we also saw some unbelievably beautiful multi-colored parrots and some black birds with incredibly vibrant red squares on the underside of their tail areas.

After returning home, we barely made it down to the "shark feeding frenzy," which is when they take the discard of the fish they've caught today (and will undoubtedly end up as some part of the meal this evening), tie some of the fish heads on the end of a rope, drop them into the water, and let us all watch how quickly a sizable number of sharks appear once they sense something in the water.

All this to stress, once again, to the guests, that as beautiful as this water looks right here at the shore of the resort, there are deadly sharks and crocodiles all about it. No swimming.

After that, and before dinner, Robert and I went for another swim to cool off from the hot ride out and back this afternoon. It was so refreshing in the pool, and I found a little "niche area," where I could lay on the bottom of the pool and rest my head on a rock. Heaven.

We took an hour nap before dinner, which started at 8PM.

We were the last couple to arrive, and we took the remaining seat on the bottom deck. Each dinner is a 5-course meal, and tonight, each course totally pleased my palate.

Here is the menu:

I loved just about everything on the menu. I don't think there was anything left on my plate on any course.

My favorites included the Home Smoked Chicken and feta-stuffed peppers and olives, the Seared Buffalo and especially the pumpkin puree that was with it, and the Vanilla Ice Cream with Passion Fruit was incredible.

After dinner, between 9:30 and 10, we returned to our habitat, where I devised this blog entry, and Robert worked on a crossword puzzle.

It's close to midnight now, and I'm going to sleep with my earbuds in tonight, so I don't hear the wildlife noises all around us in this open-air environment.

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