First Day in CA

From just behind Forest's house in Berkeley, we walked up a beautiful hill with panoramic views of the area.
We walked through stands of these huge old eucalyptus trees which filled the air with their unique aroma. These are a different type from any of the many varieties that grew in the Katherine region, but I felt like I was meeting these old familiar trees with a new understanding of their homeland.

This picture proves that I am here, but unfortunately does little justice to the actual view, due to the back-lighting situation. We could see San Francisco, with the Golden Gate Bridge stretching to the right and the Bay Bridge coming toward us, a string of tiny shiny cars sparkling like a diamond necklace. Further to the left we could see downtown Oakland and the hills just visible beyond. The top of the hill we were on was covered with bright green grass and full of birds singing. Absolutely lovely.

As for city life, it is pretty overwhelming to see so many people and so much activity. Just as small towns like Katherine have their charms and challenges, so too do cities, and right now the challenge for us is not to go into sensory overload!

Last Days in Oz

We visited Litchfield.

We walked in a mangrove forest.

We sat on the wharf.

Doing Diddly in Darwin

We made it out of Katherine safe and dry. We holed up with Waz and Pas in their elevated house on the river's edge until it was time to leave. Our final night (Monday) was spent at Digger's Den (natch); however, there was no pizza (as apparently the pizza bases come in a truck which was unable to get through the flood waters). Anyway, it was a good send-off for us, including much laughter, impassioned discussion of punctuation, and some better-than-usual customer service. The last couple days in Katherine were the beginning of the Dry Season with picture perfect blue skies and low humidity.

Darwin's weather is also lovely. We've eaten on the wharf, visited the museum, swum in the hostel pool and taken care of a few sundry errands. A bit more vacationy stuff lies ahead, and then we'll be on that plane!

Will post pictures when next in a position to connect laptop to internet (am in internet cafe now).

The Big Brown

Recent flooding in Katherine left a few people inconvenienced, like these gnomes: Actually, the water was quite high in a number of areas of town, including inside our friend Rob's house. Pictures of this will appear at a later date.

We discovered from listening to the news that Katherine is a city and has a "CBD" which was flooded. As you can see from this photo, people were panic-stricken:

Both photos courtesy of Wazza. Thanks, Waz!
In the dry season, the river is just in the righthand area, and those central trees are on a river bank. Posted by Picasa
End of the line. This is what the bicycle/foot path looks like when it has rained a lot. This photo was taken a few weeks ago. Posted by Picasa

Last Day

Today's our last day in our unit ("apartment" in American English, to which I will soon revert). Most everything is gone and the place is looking gloriously bare, thanks to many friends who helped by giving new homes to our things. We've been bicycle-less since Sunday, which hasn't in fact been as inconvenient as I'd expected since it's been raining almost non-stop.

Here's a little weather statistics summary for you:
In March of 2006, Katherine got 455.8 mm (18 inches) of rain. The most in one day was 102.2 mm (4 inches).

As of April 4, we'd gotten 27.6 mm (1.08 inches). Today's observation said that we'd got 51 mm (2 inches) between 9 am and 10:30 am, but I'm a little suspicious of that. Anyway, it's been raining not in big thunderstorm showers, but in a constant drizzle kind of way, like rain in California. In contrast, in April 2005 Katherine had zero (0) mm of rain!

What about temperatures? Well, temps in April 2006 have ranged from a low of 23.6C (74 F) to a high of 32.3C (90 F). I have cold toes right this moment and our thermometer says it's 82F in here! (My toes, though, are on the cold tile floor and have been still for some time.)

We are so excited about coming home, but know it's going to be really overwhelming. I hope you Californians will not be surprised when you find us cowering under the sofa, unable to take it all in.

See you soon!