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It’s Called “The Wet Season” For a Reason

All right. I’ve got to sum up a week or so in this blog.

For starters, I’ve finally gotten the hang of my classes. I had to switch two of them, and tutorials and lectures were tricky to figure out at first, but I’ve got it now. Unfortunately, we’re nearing the fourth week of school, which means it’s assessment time. I have a feeling I’m going to go from having almost no homework, to four papers due the same week.

Also, I signed up for one of the Walkabout Club trips our school offers, so I went into Chillagoe two weekends ago. It’s not very far outback, but you can only go so far when you’re on a schedule.

Of course, no one thinks it’ll rain when you go to the outback. I mean, it’s the outback. It’s famed for being dry all the time, and having those intense red dirt roads.

The roads were red . . . and wet. It downpoured.

But still, it was an interesting change of scenery as opposed to the unrelenting humidity and tropical plants of Cairns. Our tour guide told us the part we were at is a lot like South Africa. But as opposed to giraffes and lions everywhere, we saw wild horses and an insane amount of cows. They just wander around as they please, and I’m amazed I didn’t see any dead on the side of the road. Then again, I think we were the only ones driving on the road. The nearest town from Chillagoe was something like 140 km, and unfortunately I still don’t know how to convert anything here, so you’ll have to figure out the distance yourself. I have yet to master the celsius to fahrenheit conversion, either. I just assume every day will be insanely hot.

In Chillagoe, we stopped at this, uh, very interesting “bar,” though they lost their license years ago, and they don’t serve any food. They did have a lot of other interesting things in there, as shown in the pictures below.

The food on the trip was great. For someone who had cooked their first meal the day before (french toast), I was more than happy for some real food. Our accommodations were good, too, and despite the rain we managed to go see some sites. We even went swimming in a lagoon.

And then we went and saw something I’d actual heard of: the balancing rock. It’s one of those things you look at and think, How on Earth did it get like that?

The next morning we got to go to the caves, which is what I really wanted to go to anyway. Some of us were worried that the weather would ruin our trip, but the skies were surprisingly clear the next morning, so we booked it for the caves before the weather could change its mind.

There aren’t many caves in Vermont–none that I know of–so these caves were awesome. Granted, the twenty minute walk through the bush, where every other step I found myself face to face with enormous spiders, was absolutely terrifying, but by god I was going to see the caves no matter how many facefulls of spiderweb I got. We each had our big flashlights, or lanterns as the Aussies call them, and once we crawled into the caves we had a good amount of time to look around. A couple bats went swooping by us on our way in, which only solidified the feeling of eeriness. We would’ve had a longer tour, but the deep part of the cave was flooded from the rain, so instead we got to poke around for a bit.

Most people went right, so I went left. It’s amazing the kind of silence there is in a cave, except for the plop plop of water leaking from the stalactites. By the way, I now know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites hang from the ceiling because they have to hold on tightly, and stalagmites might grow tall enough to reach the ceiling. Just a little fun fact.

Okay. Now fast forwarding to this weekend. My friend and I went into Cairns to go to the market, because I’m a wimp and have never taken the bus here by myself before. I have a tendency to get lost on public transportation. The market was one I’d been hearing all about, Rusty’s Market, and it lived up to the hype. There are so many fruit stands you can’t even figure out where to start, and stands selling bags and t-shirts and other knick-knacks. The fruit is what gets to you, though. Dragon fruit might be two-fifty a kilo here, but two-thirty over there, and even less over at that stand. And there are so many exotic fruits you’d never be able to get fresh at home. Then again, there are fruits I’d never even heard of before. Like a custard melon, which is currently sitting in my fridge because I have no idea how to eat it. I had to look up online how to eat nectarines and dragon fruit, the two other fruits I bought there. I’m not so much a fan of dragon fruit, but nectarines are my new favorite fruit. That being said, I’m not much of a fruit person to begin with, but fruit just tastes better here.

This week the weather has been pretty awful. Most of today I didn’t wear shoes because I was walking outside so much, and after thirty seconds of rain the sidewalks are already flooded. I wish the weather were decent so I could take a walk outside, or, I don’t know, just go outside in general. The weather controls my life. But it’s a small price to pay for never being cold, which I always am back home. If anything, I’m not cold enough here.

My air conditioning broke a few weeks ago, and the guy came to try and diagnose what was wrong with it. Ironically enough, he was Irish, and I just wasn’t expecting that in Australia. But until he gets the part needed to make my air conditioning go on its own again, I just need to reach my hand up into the fan and flip the thing that spins round and makes the air come out.

It took me about three days to realize the reason it never worked when I tried it was because I was spinning it the wrong way. You’d think that’s something I would’ve paid attention to.

This weeks updates:

Run Run Run As Fast As You Can (List of Things to Stay Away From and/or Avoid)

1. Spiders. (This is more of a caution for anyone who’s going to venture into the bush. You have a tendency to look in the distance for what you’re going to step over next, when there are probably eight eyes staring you right in the face. . . .)

Check It Out! (Self Explanatory)

1. Rusty’s Market (So much good fruit. Experiment a little, no matter how weird the fruit looks. And try all the samples they offer.)

2. The Chillagoe Caves (Just see the pictures to know why.)

3. Tim-Tams (Not only the greatest cookie in Australia, but they’re so good I might love them more than Oreos. And the mint ones taste like thin-mints.)

4.Nectarines (So it looks like this is the food edition of Check It Out! In case you’ve never had them before, nectarines look like mini apples bred with peaches. They’re delicious, but don’t eat the pit.)


Find more photos like this on Institute for Study Abroad – Butler University

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One Response to “It’s Called “The Wet Season” For a Reason”

  1. Jen Jen Says:

    1) In Days, Jennifer’s husband Jack is on a Walkabout. But he’s a butthead.
    2) A nectarine sounds yum yum.
    3) Screw the leaning rock, I wouldn’t go near that thing.
    4) After watching American Idol tonight, I got to thinking… Do they have Australian Idol? And if so, are you watching it?
    5) Sadly, the S.S. Minnow has gone to it’s resting place. She has taken her last trip. Also, after milking tonight, I left my phone in my carrharts and threw them immediately into the wash, so i will be phoneless for about a week (not like you care)
    6) Speaking of milking, one of the cows, Butterball, went into labor tonight. I have informed management that if a heifer is born, her name shall be “Bajingo”.

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