Full bus this time, with 22 people aboard (rather than the 15-18 of my last trips) & it feels crowded. BUT everyone seems really nice. Once again, I'm the only American & one of only 2 North Americans; one guys from Toronto. I already know 3 people on this trip: my friends Erich (Swiss, from both of my bus trips!), Sandeep (Indian, from Adelaide bus), and Verena (Italian, from Adelaide bus), so that's nice. Other than that, there's a French guy, Norwegian guy, Danish girl, 2 British guys, a Welsch girl, a couple other Swiss, and a bunch of Germans. Seems like its going to be a good group.
Stopped in a small town for breakfast - got a sooo delicious sandwich with local eggs ham & veg - and I refilled my prescription. I'm feeling good & intend to keep it that way. I also wasn't charged enough for my brekkie & I was honest & told them - not taking any karmic chances.
Bathroom break in Melrose, which is the exact opposite of its counterpart in CA. Just sheep & a run-down main street. :)
Then to our base for the next two days: Quorn. Tiny town, cute little hostel built in an old mill. It has a straw ceiling!
Drove just a bit further into the Flinders Ranges (a mountain chain 850 million yrs old!) & hiked to the peak of Dutchman Stern, which was a HOT, fly-ridden but beautiful 3 hours.
The flies here are VICIOUS! Swatting them is pointless but instinctual - they're everywhere, dive bombing your ears, nose, eyes. Terrible. Its a battle of perseverence... and the flies always win. Apparently it gets worse too. Great.
We saw some kangaroos, euros, which look like smaller kangaroos with rabbit ears (pictured, tho distant) & a shingle-backed blue-tongue lizard, which the guide picked up out of the brush so we could touch it. Its a mix between a komodo dragon & a snake, wearing a suit of armor, with a stubby tail & tiny little legs. Funny.
The view at the top really was nice. Just miles & miles of fields stretching to meet that endless sky. The rolling hills below looked like a soft lumpy blanket, as though I could jump off & land safely snuggled in its folds. I sat at the edge & closed my eyes to the wind & felt like the only human.
There's a guestbook at the summit, in a plastic tube, that we all signed. Look for my name if you're ever here. :)
On the way back down, I felt energised, inspired & healthy - I'm in Australia!! (Sometimes it just hits you, you know?) Sandeep (Indian) & I got into a very interesting conversation about the differences in our cultures & the power of positivity. He said I'm the first American he's met who's not bitter & negative. That's unfortunate. It was nice hearing his perspective; our backgrounds couldn't be more different but we're both in the same spot in our lives, trying to figure out: what now?
But right now, I'm just tired & hungry & covered in dirt. BBQ in an hour, get back to you then...
After a much needed shower, we had dinner - emu burgers, camel sausage, and kangaroo steak!! The camel just tasted like cheap sausage, the kangaroo tasted a lot like beef, and the emu... I have no idea how to describe it. Very odd. I like kangaroo the best.
After looking at a map of where we're headed this week & learning that beakfast is at 4:30am (!!!) I said goodnight to the (gonna be hurting tomorrow) wine drinking boys & headed to bed with the other smart & sober girls. :oP
Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ a new adventure
~ wild nature
~ eagerness for what's around the bend