Monday, 27 May 2013

# 58, 59,60 - Katherine - & the RSL ...

The Big4 Caravan park is out of town but in a nice setting and we find our sites and it's almost in our little "circle".  It's been a long day and nobody wants to cook so it's off to the "Bara Cafe" -  for dinner ... it's at the Esso Service station!! 

 Inside it's simple table & chairs but the walls have been painted with murals of the area's attractions and it is very impressive...

No - we aren't eating outside!  - we are inside in front of the murals

 In the middle of eating our wonderful dinner, the chef comes over to tell us not to leave by the side door because they just found an eight-foot long BROWN snake and it slid away before they could kill it.  She said she didn't know what was going on because just lately they had gone crazy and they were everywhere!!!   (note: brown snakes are very dangerous).  We said we would be happy to leave by the front door and thanked her for her great cooking and we left  - no snakes!
That's Jill our waitress from ... Connecticut!

We are booked on the 9.00 a.m. tour of the Katherine Gorge 36kms away in the Nitmiluk National Park. 

So it's an early(ish) morning but well worth it. It's the two-gorge tour and the scenery is pretty spectacular with aboriginal artwork in one spot. 

We even have a chance to exercise with a short walk between gorges. 

 Our driver/guide/deckhand is called Tyrus and he looks after us and keeps us entertained all by himself for two hours and he was very funny (you had to listen hard to get his dry sense of humour).  He belongs to the Jawoyn people who are the original owners of the park and now jointly manage it with Parks & Wildlife.  

You can tell how much fun he was just from looking at him!

Tyrus tell us that his grandfather was at the ceremony in 1989 when ownership of the park was returned to the Jawoyn people and his grandfather said that even though it was just a piece of paper it was going to be worth a lot. I think his grandfather was right- we are impressed with the tiny bit we see during our 2.5hr visit. 

Tyrus teaches us to say Bor Bor (au revoir, hasta la vista etc.) because they don't like to say goodbye - then he tells us to get off of his boat.

Next day each couple entertains themselves and we visit the Katherine Museum.  

The walls are filled with the history of Katherine and the Aboriginal people and in the middle I find a photo of my great uncle -  Jack McLeod!!  

Some of the wires in my head connect when I see the name and I remember my 
grandmother pointing him out in an old photo and telling me that he was written about in the famous Australian novel "We of the Never Never" ...woah!  bit of a crazy moment for me!  

It's pretty obvious I'm not related to Jeannie
"...She braved the heat, flies, snakes, downpours ..."
no - I'm related to Jack McLeod!
Then in the tiny outdoor cafe we share a lunch of sausage rolls made of beef and crocodile!!  Luckily there was enough veggies and spices included that I could (hardly) taste the crocodile and I gobbled down my devonshire tea right after (with the bottomless pot) and enjoyed all of it - so civilized!  

There's those yummy crocodile sausage rolls with the quandong sauce.

The "bottomless" tespots - we used to have a larger version just like these!

On the way back to camp we stopped off at the Hot Springs for a "swim".  They weren't really hot - just warm enough to make it very (very) pleasant and because it was the first day in four weeks without humidity it was even cool when we left the water!!  It has been a long time since I have been cool!

When I'm not hiking a million kilometres - I go "swimming" for exercise!
...This is the HOT SPRINGS... it really is a little piece of paradise!
(no slimy bottom, no bugs - you can even wheel a wheelchair right in there!)

I think it's important that the Canadians experience as much as possible of what Australia has to offer - so we make use of a free bus from the campsite to the local
 RSL (Returned Soldiers League) Club for dinner.  

They're' getting excited - waiting for the free bus!

Some of the locals behind us!

In the bar of the Katherine RSL Club.

No room for us in the dining room so it's into the bar area to mix with the locals.

... more locals!  They are happy because they won
steaks in the Chook Raffle!
There is the usual "chook raffle" - tonight it's seafood - so we buy our tickets and with 20 draws we figure we are pretty sure to win something but alas! it is rigged - nothingl  

"Chook Raffle"   - so many tickets - how could we lose!
(Chook is Australian for Chicken
 - they used to raffle a chicken on Friday nights! -

No table service here -you order your meal at the counter and when it arrives you can fill up your plate at the salad & hot veggie bar. Good food and lots of it makes our group very happy.  
We play the pokies - 1c bets!!  Urgh - it's exhausting trying to go through your $5.00!!  Of course Joseph wins - he always wins!!   He had to spend $25 to win his $50 - but he always wins.  

Then the live band plays and only one couple get up to dance and for some reason the man decides that his partner isn't enough to dance with so he pulls me up to join them. 

Sadly from this pic you can't see
 how many teeth he really had
or smell his aftershave (that lingered and lingered!)
... but you can tell how excited he was!
 What else can I do except to pretend that i can jive - so I swing him around a bit and he gets pretty excited and then I leave him to finish off (the dance) with the other woman!  

Luckily the bus arrives to take us back "home" so I don't have to dance anymore! 
Yep - that's an Aussie experience for sure -  and the group seems grateful for it.

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