Nicko & I walked down to the lagoon with Sarah so she could take some pictures; just like me, she remarked at how she has heaps of pictures of people doing silly things & nights out, but almost none of the actual place -- and it's such a beautiful place!!
Airlie Beach - a picture of the place!We hiked a mysterious driveway that she's been eyeing since she got here (turns out there is absolutely nothing at the top - no haunted house, no vine-covered romantic shambles, not even a forest. Just the backs of some average apartment buildings. Boooooring.), walked along the beach but couldn't get in the water, and they got smoothies and we sat in the grass to slurp them. It was hot. I knew the two of them probably wanted time alone & felt a little 3rd wheel-ish, but she had demanded I come (she said, "you have to come with us!") so there I was.
We went back to the hostel & pretty soon it was time for her to leave. I hugged her goodbye & Nicko walked her down to the bus stop, and suddenly the hostel was quiet. I mean quiet. No one was around. Staff were cleaning & industrious (good on them!) and the few guests that were around were sitting quietly reading. The party atmosphere the two Sarahs had brought dissipated immediately as the last one walked out the door.
I took up Nick's computer & blogged. And chatted online with my dad. And chatted online with friends. And facebooked. And tried to load pictures (to no avail, sorry guys). And I was on the computer for hours.
Once Nick was done working, I had gotten sick of staring at a computer screen, jumped in the pool, and was sitting at the bar, comforting Nicko, who was really quite down about Sarah leaving. He was playing sad songs & being mopey, and every few minutes he'd sigh, cuss, and whinge, "why'd she have to go and leave me?" Poor guy.
night sky, from weheartit.com
Nick pulled me from my barstool & onto a lounge, where we had a good talk & decided to get takeaway for dinner & eat under the stars. We went to a fish & chips shop then drove out to his favorite secret spot - a lookout over the marina - where the stars shine clear and bright and, I'm not kidding, you can see galaxies.
It had been a little rainy, and there were big fat cane toads everywhere; I almost stepped on two! As we were eating, we noticed a little baby opossum creeping tentatively toward us along the fence. We named him Barry & tried to give him a fry but he was really scared of us. Finally, we sat stock still, making no noise, and he picked his way down and over to our table, and was sniffing just a few inches from my foot when we decided it might be dangerous for him to get any closer & we moved, scaring the bejeezus out of him, I'm sure. He shot off to the bush & didn't show his cute little face again.
this isn't actually Barry, but it's pretty much what he looked like.
Later, talking, staring at the sky, Nick said urgently, "what is that?" and looked intensely into the very dark bush and kinda scared the crap out of me. We were pretty alone up there & it was pretty dark outside our little picnic area; immediately my overactive imagination sprang to work, conjuring up serial killers with machetes and wild rabid dingoes. Then he said, "is that a snake?" and my imagination said, oh yes, I'll take it from here, and filled my mind with venom-dripping fangs & giant muscular squeeze-y snake bodies. Shudder. He got up to take a closer look & before I could grab him to stop, I saw where he was looking and froze. It was a tiny little, kind of adorable, baby snake sleeping in the chain-links of the fence. Awww. We named him Stephen and took pictures, which woke him up & he lazily stretched himself out & slithered up the links to a different spot on the fence. Nick asked if I wanted to touch him, "you can touch him, you're with an Aussie" (haha!) but I respectfully declined. He identified it as a children's python & said it wouldn't hurt us, and it's not that I don't trust him, but more that its a wild snake and I am a sane person. He didn't touch it either.
Stephen the snake
We wanted to warn Barry about Stephen but he was nowhere to be found.
On the drive home, I leaned my head back and watched the trees whiz by us on either side as the glittering night sky stayed constant. Beautiful.
Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ getting up close & personal with friendly Australian wildlife
~ the sky full of southern hemisphere stars