Originally uploaded by ozczecho.
I had the wonderful opportunity today to travel into Outback Australia without even leaving the centre of Adelaide. I caught up with Stu, an old friend from back home, who is now wrestling crocodiles for a living in the Northern Territory. Okay, so that's not entirely his job, but it's close enough and it makes him sound very cool.
Stu and his girlfriend live 50km south of a remote mining town called Jabiru and it took them 6 days to drive to Adelaide (though admittedly they did pace themselves). Stu's work introduces him to Indigenous Australian guides as he learns about the culture of the national parks that he looks after, and the traditional Aboriginal culture that is still alive and well up there. He has worked at Ayers Rock (Uluru) as well as JimJim Falls, and Twin Falls - very touristy areas of far northern Australia. I still have never made it up there, but really wish I could because he makes it sound like such a wonderful landscape to see, at any time of year.
I found it fascinating to learn about the wet and dry seasons up there, and what it's been like for him to live in the ranger's cottages up there, so far away from a capital city. My cosmopolitan life in Chicago is literally half a world away from Stu's daily experiences and yet, both of us admitted that neither of us has changed much - and I think we were both much relieved.
We caught up for a few beers at The Austral pub and we both agreed that it was a delightful way to spend the afternoon. When it's 34 degrees celcius outside, what better than to hide away inside with ice-cold Coopers Pales on tap? Puh-lease. Do I really want to leave here?
It was great to catch up with Stu and with any luck, he will make good on his New Year's resolution to be a better email correspondent. When he's not wrestling wildlife that is...