Katherine.

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The highlight of our time in Katherine, which we thoroughly enjoyed, was the sunset dinner tour on the river. After a couple days relaxing and golfing, Derek pulled out all the stops.

We went early, to make sure we could look around first, however, along with old age comes the diminished capacity to tell time and hence we had 2-3 hours to kill before our cruise. I am not pointing fingers or mentioning any names but it starts with “D” and rhymes with “Eric.” And I am not going to mention the number of times I suggested he change his watch to the current time zone and his reply that nah – it was easy to just figure out the couple of hours difference. Then I would tell him we were going to be caught by it at some point and he insisted that nah – he had it all under control. I also am not going to tell you how long it took him to figure out that we were there 2-3 hours early. I will tell you that I was incredibly kind to him considering. I just don’t want anyone accusing me of elder abuse.

Thankfully, the gorge has a lovely souvenir shop and café and some beautiful grounds to explore. So, for 2 -3 hours, we “enjoyed” the fifty million flying foxes in the trees and prayed that none of them relocated above where we were sitting. The smell from their droppings is just on this side of making you retch constantly. There is no escape. They are everywhere. Look, we took a bunch of pictures.

Not only did we get to enjoy them while we waited, we actually witnessed their great send-off that happens when the sun goes down and they all take to the skies for their nightly hunt for food.  Check out the last picture you can see them coming through the trees.

The lines for the other cruises began to thin out and people left the park as we waited for someone to show up to advise us on our sunset dinner. We, of course, were the first ones there. Yay team Derek.

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Of course, there were a few people who were really important and they took the listed depart time as a suggestion and maybe even a challenge. So they showed up when they wanted to while the rest of us had to stand around praying the bats did not poop on us. Not to worry, we were not allowed to run to the safety of the boat, away from the bats, until we were all there and had given our meal choices to the waiters standing around trying to be polite to a bunch of sweaty tourists. One lady was so irate about the number of people who showed up late and kept us all waiting that she actively campaigned the whole night to have them all thrown overboard or to have her fee refunded to her. Her time was that valuable. I can tell you that all of us took note of the late comers and plotted in our heads …. OK some of them might have been gathered in small groups and actually wrote things down on paper.

On a small boat like that you just smile at everyone and nod because well …crocodiles.

There is no guarantee, should a scuffle take place, that the person going overboard will be the intended late comer. A well timed elbow and it could be you. I smiled at everyone.

On our boat we had the very loud, dressed in designer clothes more appropriate for a shopping date in New York than a boat ride group of “beautiful people.” Notice how “beautiful people” are always very loud and make sure everyone knows they “have to take this call from their broker, they just bought a new loft in New York?” Yes, they were latecomers. It is fashionable to be late for crying out loud and this cruise was all about fashion, right? We also had people dressed in evening gowns. Strappy, jewelled evening gowns with hair that looked like it had just come out of the salon. The info sheet that accompanied our tickets was clear. Bring a hat, something warm for later when it gets cold, wear comfortable shoes as you will be required to hike over rocks a fair distance to switch boats, wear long sleeves and pant because mosquitoes, bring spray. It made it clear, that despite it being a 3 course, white linen meal, we were still in the wilds of Australia and let’s not be stupid. Some people obviously defaulted on stupid. The next group were those to ascribe to the “get dressed on Monday, drink, sleep, roll out of bed, drink, sleep, etc ” for the entire week which means you only wear one outfit and god help anyone who has to sit beside you, plan. And then finally, we had those who could read.  Yay team Derek.

It meant while the beautiful late people and the evening gown bouffant haired ladies who looked at me with complete disgust, in my long pants and my serviceable hat, with a sweater thrown over one arm as while we waited would not be so smug by the end of the evening.

It was fun watching the evening gown ladies hike – because well, I am a sick puppy. It was also fun watching them spill wine on themselves later on as they shivered and tried to swat mosquitoes away and it was the best when they took off their heels and ran to their cars when it was over because they were freezing. Their bouffants were not quite as bouffy and most of their sparkles off their dresses had fallen off – probably came off on the seats in the first boat, or maybe the rocks and brush we had to hike through.

The scenery was spectacular and the hike over to the next part of the river was really breathtaking. It was like being transported to another world. We saw crocodiles and birds and fishies and all things beautiful.

You can only imagine how spectacular it would be after heavy rain. Everywhere you see the black marks running down is where water would fall down into the river – absolutely incredible!

 

The evening was perfect and dinner was delicious. We let the other 2 couples at our table play the “how much did your house/caravan/truck cost” by themselves and we basically kissed and drank wine and looked at the moon. They turned on the music, lit up the lights and ran the spotlight over the rocks and the greenery in a way that that the movement of the water and the boat made it dance. It was magical. Joe the boat driver guy was steering with his feet. The waiters lived in fear that we might complain about anything as they were being directed by a thin middle aged woman with her hair pulled back so tight that her nose had a razor sharp edge and I suspect, once the elastic band was let go at night and her skin let loose, she probably was overweight and 80 years old. Even I sat up straight and ate all my vegetables. But then .. wine ….. and hence all the kissing etc.

We had parked our vehicle in the parking lot closest to the dock – it was one of the things we did when we had 2-3 hours to kill and it kind of happened about the time Derek was a bit afraid of how angry I was and I think he just wanted a buffer zone between him and I, so he hiked back to the entrance parking lot, putting trees, bush and about 8 million flying foxes between us. It took him a long time to park, he said he had to get it just right.

Anyway, it meant we could walk straight up while everyone else had to walk around to the right, go down a series of trails, past the shop and then hit where they parked. In consideration of the distance and the different paths, the instructions suggested we bring a flashlight as it was very dark when we got back. We had one which we did not need as we parked so close, the beautiful late people and the evening gowned bouffier haired ones, did not. So, when we got off the boat and we walked towards our vehicle, a number of them who got off after us, raced up, pushed by us and ran into the parking lot. When we drove away they were wandering around asking “where is our car,” “where are we,” etc.

That was the last we saw of them, mainly because we were driving away, but also because we were still kissing and windows were fogged up.

We could hardly wait to get home and may I just say .. thank heavens for those stabilizer things on the caravan so that nothing rocks. The guy who invented them knew what the important things of life are.

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