At the time of writing, I am at a concert of sorts, being held as a fundraising event for one of Boatman’s mates.
I’ll be honest; it’s not my cup of tea. But I shan’t complain.
It’s been a week full of opportunities to not complain. On Tuesday, we set out in to the vast unknown, to visit friends in the Arnhem Land community of Gunbalanya.
It seemed such an innocent, foolproof plan.
1. Drive down the stuart highway until you reach the Arnhem Highway. CHECK
2. Turn left on to the Arnhem Highway, and drive until you reach the Oenpelli road. CHECK
5. Cross Cahills Crossing, meet uncle Phil and Auntie Anna and stand around awkwardly instead of hugging. UN-CHECK
It turns out there had been rain in Jabiru the night before, and the East Alligator River (the river that flows over Cahills) was running high and fast.
Crossing was a possible death sentence.
Alternate no5. Wave frantically with dramatic arm gestures at uncle Phil and Auntie Anna, cause there is no phone reception, get back in the car and drive until you reach the coverage of a Telstra tower. Right near some random swamp. CHECK
Since it was obvious that the water level at the crossing was not going to drop to an adequately safe level anytime before midnight, we continued driving past the swamp, back through Magella and then on to Jabiru, where we obtained not one, but two rooms in the belly of a croc.
Or rather the right flank.
Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear, full of hope and promise, and much anticipation.
I was instructed, for various reasons not to talk about anything stupid in the car on the way back down the road.
I suddenly discovered that upon receiving such commands, I really have very little to say.
Magella was up which did not bode well. Further on there was more water on the road than the day before, but when we got to Cahills, it appeared the level had dropped.
It had but not significantly enough. .9 of a Metre with a fast flow would have been stupid with the car, but suicide with the boat on the back.
There was only one solution. Boatman put the boat in the water and ferried us across the croc infested East Alligator to a sand bar on the Gunbalanya side. Then he traded me and the girls for Uncle Phil and Melman, as Bailey would call their heir apparent.
A fair trade I would agree.
Boatman, uncle Phil and the eldest sons journey up and down the downstream on the hunt for illusive barramundi (illusive cause they never caught any) whilst Aunty Anna, the girls her two yummable babies and I, headed into the middle of a community where we had a very civilized morning tea. (Hilariously, someone came to the front gate to sell Aunty Anna something. Me, in my ‘city’ way of thinking just assumed that Avon had reached the communities. It hasn’t. Rather the door to door salesman there will offer you a basket, a wood carving or the like. I’m sure there is a pyramid scheme in there somewhere….)
Come the afternoon, after a lovely day of catching up, Auntie Anna drove us back to the crossing where she traded us for her husband and first born, and we crossed the river, got our car and took the long journey home a day early.
And Uncle Phil and Auntie Anna had to take the 4wd drive track home (as opposed to the normal dirt road) and got bogged.
So all in all, nothing worked out as planned, but it wasn’t all a complete failure. We did catch up with friends and boatman and I had a night in a 4 star hotel with only one child, whilst the three other lived it up in the room next door. (I won’t tell you what happened but it was fun! ;))
Much more fun than the concert I’m at right now. (When did I get so old? Why is the music so LOUD?)
Any way the moral of the story is this: if your other half ever suggests a random trip to the other side of phone reception, say yes. You never know when you will end up in a hotel room with a bottle of wine and a king size bed. 😉
Some quick amendments, as Boatman thought I had taken too much creative licence,. First of all they did catch fish; just not any legal sized ones. Secondly, according to him, it’s a 2 star hotel, but I’m sure it’s 4. Let’s meet in the middle and say 3. Finally it was not a king size bed. I’ll admit that. But it did feel heaps bigger than our bed at home which is a queen. So there.