Yes, I guess it is time for yet another installment of
"Anita heads out west in search of the perfect sunset,
more flies landing on her eyeballs than one can safely
count, and, er, the ultimate cyclone experience".

So much has happened since my last email, which I
didn't get to write, and oh! its all so confusing:
I'll just start from where the last "story" left off -
we are in Perth just back from Wave Rock.

Well, disaster was about to strike. I called our tour
company (who we were headed to Broome with) the night
before our departure to re-confirm our pick-up only to
find that they had no record of our booking! There
was much profanity that evening.

After spending all morning in "negotiations" (anyone
who has had business negotiations with me when I am a
paying customer will know that this is a tumultuous
tug-of-war struggle in convincing arguments) with the
person who our tour company thought (to which I am
incredulous) had either worked hard enough or had the
brains enough to manage the reservations department, I
finally secured a 100% refund of our tour up to
Exmouth and a free alternative tour that shortened our
journey there by one day. Not bad, I guess. I was
most upset that we would not be travelling to Monkey
Mia to see more dolphins, but at least I had seen them
in Bunbury.

SO, after one more day in Perth, we set off to Broome
(in Exmouth, we were to re-join our originally booked
tour).

Turns out, as fate would have it, that 3 day tour was
by far the best experience of my travels to date. The
group was fantastic (4 japanese girls who loved
hearing me sing, a funny and cute aussie tour guide, a
Dutch man called Christiaan with razor sharp sarcasm -
what more could I ask for?) and the scenery just
spectacular. The first morning, we left at 6am, so it
took at least until 1pm for my grouchiness to depart.
We spent the morning sand boarding (well, the group
did, I thought "screw that in this heat, I'm going to
swim naked in the ocean!" - which I did.) and then
drove on to the Pinnacles national Park. This is a
wonderfully phallic national park. With phallic sand
sculptures in a beautiful gold color as far as the eye
can see. Enough said about that. It provided me ample
opportunity to act out and say inappropriate lewd and
offensive things to everyone to get shock factor. Ah,
good times, good times.....

We drove on to camp but we stopped first at a real
West Australian Roadhouse (you know, the kind you see
in the movies about Oz, sweaty greasy men who look up
from their beers to check you out and then decide if
you are worth shooting with the rifle they have
stashed under the counter or not)to visit "George".
No, George was not some roadhouse human oddity, he was
the pet joey kangaroo that the family had rescued from
its dead mothers pouch after they hit here with their
car. (altogether now, Ahhhhh...and "what bastards"!)

George stole my heart. Quick as lightning. He came
right over, let me cuddle him and even gave me a peck
on the lips. He also found my beer very interesting so
I tried distracting him with apple which he ate right
out of my hands. Now if only I could find a man like
that....

After a good ol "Barbie" we collapsed. Early morning
to come.

Went to Kalbarri National Park in the morning and went
abseiling with Giovanna down a 250 foot gorge. Now,
I've only abseiled once before, at a Butlins camp in
Wales with Giovanna when we were 8! So, this was
quite something to be doing it together again....

The park was stunning - very much like Utah or Arizona
but with a unique feel to it ; probably because they
were gorges not canyons; there is an extremely
scientific and logical explanation for the differences
that I can't remember - sorry! Abseiling was fun - i
liked to push off the rock wiggle my legs mid air and
pose for my photo with my tongue hanging out. Well,
its me and I make no apologies.

It was hot. My God it was hot. We were like Sausages
on a spit slowly roasting as we turned in the sun. SO
we found a lovely swimming hole (no crocs, you
promise???) and jumped in. Ah, refreshing. This was
to be a repeating highlight of WA - lots of abominable
heat relieved several times daily with a dive into
crystal clear water under a giant rock escarpment and
tropical waterfall. This was where it was at.

After a natural waterfall massage (I had to rescue my
bikini top at one point about 200 meters downstream -
whoops - eye candy for anyone paying attention!!)I
felt a lot better. Until I was dry in about 30 seconds
coming out of the water and the thousands of flies
landed on my every exposed orifice and began
ritualistic mating dances.

Loved Kalbarri. But better was yet to come . Thats
not correct grammar, but hey, this is email.

The following day we drove to Coral Bay and Ningaloo
Marine National Park. This is the west coasts' answer
to the Great Barrier Reef, and it was spectacular.
Christiaan (who was fast becoming like a brother to
Giovanna and me) and I opted for a day eco-tour
swimming with Giant Manta Rays, sea turtles, Reef
sharks and other reef snorkel spots. Wow.
Incredible. I have some amazing underwater shots of
me swimming with these incredibly graceful creatures
who glide along like giant Frisbee's. I also have
pictures of my ass red raw like a fresh lobster from
the sunburn I suffered that day. Ouch.

We drove on to Exmouth and had a kinda wild night
saying goodbye to our group. They all asked me to
sing for them, which of course I did, then the
Japanese girls sang, I cried, we all got piss drunk,
danced and did....um,....other crazy things you do (A
pash - look it up in Australian dictionaries!). What
a great night. And our new group and tour guide
looked about as exciting as a wet flannel shoved down
your pants. Not happy about that.

Yes, our tour guide was dull and STUPID (oh, I am
sorry for being mean, but SO STUPID). And the others
were just not worth the breath, so Christiaan,
Giovanna and I pretty much segregated ourselves all
the rest of the way up to Broome.

We drove and drove and drove the LONG ASS way to
Karijini National Park, and spent our first night in
"swags" (these waterproof, supposedly bug-proof,
sleeping pad things) under the stars. It was
beautiful, if a little smelly. Quite the
quintessential "wow, I am in the middle of nowhere,
smelly, eating red dust, could get eaten alive by some
highly venomous snake and/or bugs simultaneously
whilst swatting flies from my face, but I AM croc
dundee, and by god this is fun!, right???" kind of
experience. Memorable.

The next day (sorry this is taking so long) we did a
famous hike known at "the Miracle Mile". It involves
spider walking through gorges, treading trepidatiously
along tiny ledges with "brains would smash into a
million pieces" falls underfoot, jumping into pools,
swimming a few kilometers, climbing, and generally
other really cool but dangerous stuff. The scenery is
quite simply, (and I know I do keep saying this) the
most spectacular of any place I think I have visited
on earth. If you have to maim, cheat or kill to get
to Karijini - you should (well, you know what I mean).
We descended narrow gorges which had walls of layered
rock towering hundreds of meters above us and swam
through narrow channels clambering over rocks blocking
our path. It was quite a challenge and felt so good
to complete.

We swam in more pools with names like Fortescue falls,
and fern pool - all glorious "tarzan meets the blue
lagoon" feelings to them. Just magnificent.

Evenings were interesting out in the bush. Giovanna
and I really had to "get over" our fear of bugs,
because you basically share your food with them.
There were crickets, moths, mozzies, flies, locusts,
and other flying things with no names landing on our
heads, necks, arms, and, plates! Christiaan got so
sick of our shrieks that he ate a moth in front of us
just to shut us up. Which of course it didn't.

However, this was not as bad as the next place. We
drove to Eighty Mile Beach which is exactly what it
sounds like. Probably the most pristine, white, wide
and deserted beach I have ever stepped on. We spent
hours after sunset looking for baby turtles who were
hatching that night. All we ever found were the
tracks of baby turtles and the tracks of the tens of
crabs that would eat them before they made it to the
water. I know, sad.

That campsite took "insect fear" to new heights. Just
taking a shower was amusing because if you were in the
bathroom for longer than 3 minutes with the light on,
what seemed like the locust Egyptian plague descended
upon you in the shower. They were just falling off
the ceiling on to you, it was a scene that made Psycho
look like a General Audience movie. I have to say, my
resolve against these critters is somewhat stronger.

The following day we arrived in Broome, finally! It
was quite a quaint little town with a huge Asian
influence to the food and architecture. We all went
to Cable beach for the sunset, which was a little
disappointing because these huge black clouds looked
like they were rolling in. And they did. For four
days straight.

Yes, my memory of Broome will always be the cyclone.
At first it was quite exciting, you know, "hey folks
we've gone to Yellow alert, so the whole city is
shutting down, looks like you gotta buy your beer
right here!", to "hey folks, its gone red alert, so
we're getting the body bags out of the basement".
Literally, it got a little scary. We lost power on the
second day, as rain pummeled the hostel and wind raged
through our semi-open "common area" where you got more
wet than the inside of the bottle of beer you were
consuming despite it only being 7 o clock in the
morning, because you couldn't sleep, and you were so
bored that alcohol was the only way to dull the pain.
The cyclone hovered 80 k offshore and then veered
south, so we never felt the full brunt of its power.
But everything was flooded, nothing was open, couldn't
go anywhere, flights were filling up....it was a
nightmare. On top of this, Giovanna had picked up a
nasty rash on our outback trip and she was not going
on the next trip through the Kimberley with me. I
discovered that there were only 2 other people booked
on it in any case, so I cancelled and cut my losses.
Originally we were going to fly to Darwin together,
but the flights got sold out, so I decided to come
back to Perth, and Giovanna flew to Sydney for a week.

Yes, Broome is kind of a hazy memory of drinking,
dancing, loud music, exciting weather, not-so exciting
wet clothes, being stuck in our dorm room, playing
chess and debating with Christiaan, and the heavens
dumping all they could give. On our last afternoon
there, we did manage to go out for food (we had
survived on what little we had bought at the market
our first night there, and what the hostel thankfully
handed out to hungry people) and visited the crocodile
farm. Got to hold a baby crocodile which was cute.

By this Saturday, i was done with Broome. Had to get
out. Severe Cabin Fever. So I flew to Perth. Thats
where I am now....

I will leave my last few days' of adventure to the
next email - this has been long enough.

Hope you've stuck with me till now - I can honestly
say that West Australia has by far been the best part
of my trip so far. It is stunning, full of really
laid back, friendly, people and it has an other-world
vibe to it. Can't really explain it, but despite the
heat, the flies, the distances, and the Wet Season, I
loved every moment here.

Well, till next time. Hasta La Vista. No worries. No
dramas. She'll be alright, mate.
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