Lots of excitement in our time here - first, we managed to find and reserve a campervan in our price range, and will pick it up on Tuesday. We turn it back in on 29 April, which is the day we fly to Singapore - so we have two weeks to explore what Aussies call The Top End, meaning this northern section of the Northern Territory. Lots to see, lots to do. We don't really have a plan, just a few destinations we want to see - so we have plenty of time to get to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, and Katherine Gorge. Should be fun! This is a van-sized camper, not the deluxe Mercedes Mighty Whitey camper caravan we had in NZ - so it will be a bit of a tighter fit, and a bit more roughing it - but that's what makes it an adventure, right?
We took a walk along the Esplanade yesterday, to see the gorgeous sunset. GORGEOUS sunset! We aren't exactly sure what body of water we're looking at, because Darwin is on a peninsula and seems surrounded by various bays, so it's difficult to keep track of which bay is which. At any rate, we were happily enjoying the sunset from various vantage points, as were people wandering through the park that runs along the bluffs overlooking the water.
And then, there was a huge something rustling in the tree right over my head, a rush of wings, and suddenly a HUGE bat came swooping out of the tree - nearly directly over my head, just inches away! I screamed and ducked, Richard grabbed me, and the women and men sitting nearby picnicking all ducked and kind of laughed in sympathy - OMG, it was a GIGANTIC bat!!!! (I looked at the people and said something about how huge that bat was, and they all nodded - and resumed picnicking - like this was a normal occurrence. Maybe they come down to the park to watch the tourists react to the monster bats swooping down over their heads.)
I couldn't quite get a photo of any of the bats flying around, but they were about seagull size or larger - so big that, even flying, I could see their little paws at the ends of their wings, and could see the little spikes that make the wings scalloped. And they have pointy little faces, and little ears - so I think these are the flying foxes, as they are dubbed here.
These are seriously the biggest bats I've ever seen. Bigger than the fruit bats in Liberia, or in the Virgin Islands. They look like they'd fly off with small pets. Or young children. MONSTER bats!
We could even see them hanging upside down in the trees, wings all wrapped around, and they were slowly waking up. Walking around upside down, sort of like a parrot, then one would spread those wings, let go with the feet, and noisily flop into the branches and take off flying.
I think these might have given rise to the vampire bat legends. Never mind Transylvania. Vampire bats are alive and swarming Darwin, Australia!
Okay, no, these aren't blood sucking bats. But wow, they are creepy looking! (Note: Bat photos from the internet. Not my photos. Too creeped out!)
Last bit of excitement - I finished decorating my new shoes (or, as the clerk in the store where I bought my laces said, pimping the shoes out). I'm very pleased with the way they turned out - totally the tattoo urban shoe look I was aiming for. I couldn't quite fit the design in the way my Rhino Reds had it, because the construction of the show was different. So I designed my image around the leather pieces of the shoe, and followed that shape. (And going around the giant N that New Balance puts on every shoe.)
Anyway, I'm very happy with my new shoes, I don't think they look like a homemade job, and I'm ready to wear them as we explore the Top End. Or the Outback. Or wherever we end up exploring and bush walking. They should protect my feet from snakes, spiders, scorpions, giant centipedes.