Monday, July 19, 2010

Surprise WE in Oz

Thursday evening, Changi airport and R still doesn't know about the destination! I'm making strong progress surprise wise!

When checking in, I have to admit that we are heading to Darwin, Australia for 3 days. We get there at 2.30 in the morning and after going through the painful Australian immigration and custom, we are in bed by 3.30 at an airport hotel.
7.45am friday morning, our guide J is here to pick us up and we are going for 2 days adventure in the Kakadu national park. Just a few words to describe it and then, I'll let the pictures talk on their own: animal discovery (lizard, snake, birds, crocodiles),
arborigenes discovery (culture, painting),
amazing views from the scenic flight we take on Saturday morning, from the sunset cruise on the yellow waters and from the different look out points we get to.

Finally, we do manage a swim in an area free of crocodiles.

A few conclusions: 1. there are some very dangerous animals in Australia, there are warning signs everywhere for crocodiles, deadly jelly fish and stinger rays and the only place they advise to go swimming in the guide is the local swimming pool! 2. Australia is a huuuuuge country for very few people, looking from the plane it just goes on for ever

Saturday 6pm, we are back in Darwin. After a quick jump in the cold swimming pool of the hotel, we are out for drinks and dinner. Once again, the rule of no Asian food in Australia is applicable so it will be seafood and beef! After dinner, we experiment Darwin's night life. It's better than Perth but it's not Singapore! The club we end up in reminds me of the one in Kingston where I spent a few nights in my first year in London (a few people will know what I mean:-)
During the night, I have finally told R what was the plan for Sunday: sky-diving! We will be jumping from a plane at 12000 feet (4000m) to land on the beach a few km lower...
It seemed like a brilliant idea when I booked it, now, I'm starting to feel the stress...
So here it is, it's Sunday morning, at 11am we have checked out of the hotel and we go on a little exploration tour of Darwin.
After the Perth experience we don't expect too much and rightly! In about an hour it's done and we get a drink before we get picked up to go to the airport. We are given forms to fill stating "parachuting is dangerous", very helpful before jumping of a plane!!! We gear up and listen very carefully to the instructions! We practise a bit on ground and then from the plane door. And amazingly quickly the plane is taking of with us packed at the back of this little thing. Decision has been made that I'll go first (probably wise otherwise we are not sure I will go...)
When we get to 12000 feet, my instructor (who is in charge of everything as it is a tandem jump) opens the door, puts one foot out, second one, tells me to do the same and here we go for the scariest moment of my life I'm falling at 200km/h, direction: the ground. After the first few seconds (=when I have stopped screaming) I realise that I should better breathe as it is not that easy! Anyway, I'm already feeling better, I have also spotted R a but further away.
I can open my arms and enjoy the rest of the freefall. Very soon it's time to open the parachute and it becomes a scenic flight! We spot one crocodile, I learn how to turn around and it is time to land on a beach at the top of australia (it was time to land, all of this turning was getting to my stomach!)
Here we go, back on earth with the most amazing experience! I can't wait to receive the DVD and the pictures. ( sorry you'll have to wait for another post for that) and I still can't believed I have jumped. Ok, enough about me, R had a great time as well, he enjoyed his birthday present and is already asking when we'll jump again!
We spent the rest of the afternoon on a beach eating seafood and celebrating with the australian champagne the hotel gave us for R's birthday! All of this under the wonderful blue sky...

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