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It’s a New Year Down Under.

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!

As I post this, we have already had our New Year’s celebration.

And you all are getting ready to watch the ball drop on Dick Clark.

Jet lag is not too much of a factor so far.  Because the day and times are so different from back home.  We are a full day and 15 hours ahead of you.  So last night, after a well deserved coma nap.  Nikki and I went down to Front Street for the islands New Years Eve street party.

It was awesome.  A band outside.  The streets closed off to buggies. (golf carts)  And plenty of beer and people watching.  All the locals were there, the Koala Bear guy, the waitresses, the bouncers.  The countdown went on, the fireworks exploded over the marina, and then the party really started.  (being a proud American, we love to blow things up no matter what country we are in, and fireworks lighting up an island sky is a damn cool thing)

Somebody forgot to pay their buggy bill for the new year.

The band was good, real good. Flown in from the mainland and they knew how to get the crowd going.  A warm island mist was gently falling on the crowd.  And to the tune of White Stripes “7 nation army”…the rain came.  In droves.  Drenching, warm summer rain.  Guess what?  The crowd swelled, actually GREW.  People started pouring out of the taverns, the decks and the boats to dance and stomp in the rain.  I will post the video later, the shaking will be because I was jumping.

I was consuming my normal blonde beers, when Nikki screamed “lets go up front”.  I needed some more octane and went to my street bartender, Christine.  An Aussie mate in line was drinking what I saw a lot of the locals consuming on this fine 2011 evening.  Something nicknamed Bundy and Cola.  It is a rum and cola in a 12 ounce can. (4.8% alcohol)  He yelled “oh mate, you have never had Bundy?  This stuff will put hair on your chest, not that you need any, but you get my point”.  I ordered a “booty in a can”, Christine was quick to correct me on the name and off I went with a new found cocktail in a can.

...too many booty's in a can.

People in Aussie party.  And the walk home, amongst the clinging sundresses and lost flip flops was a hoot.  Nikki and I tried to do the math, so that when your clock strikes midnight, we will be toasting you for our 2nd New Year.  So happy new year friends!  My new years resolution is to try and not make this blog so sufferable for you all.  🙂

The hike

New Years Day.  I think we all know how everyone feels.  A little sluggish.  What a great day to take a hike up 65 degree inclined trails to the top of this island in high humidity.  The trail map to Resort Peak made it clear.  It would take a few hours, travel would be over 2600 meters both ways, you needed good hiking shoes and sunscreen.  Pack a lunch and take about 6 liters of water.  OK.  I am on vacation.  So bullet points lost on me.  We stopped by our deli, got two sammy’s and a couple bottles of H2O.  ($16 USD)  We put it all in a backpack and started the hike.  ($0 USD)

Less than 2 minutes into the trail, Nikki screamed “oh my god” and proceeded to squat in a pure joyful hands on her face stance.  What crossed our path ahead was, in fact, very cool.  A Roo (Kangaroo) and her Joey (baby).  She ran over to me, ripped the backpack off my very sunburned skin and fumbled around for her camera.  By the time she got the camera out, the Roo family was on the other side of the island wondering what she-mammal had just shrieked at them.  But Nikki’s next comment was priceless, and I quote:  “if we see a Koala on this hike, I am going to shit my pants”.

We trudged on. Due to Nikki’s alarm shrieking, we saw no more animals.  But we made it to the top and below are some elevated shots of our island.  Enjoy.

Snorkel

After the hot hike.  We needed to hit the ocean stat.  We grabbed our snorkel gear and headed down to the snorkel hut.  They recommend you wear a thin wet suit because there are these jellyfish that are translucent and prevalent during the summer months.  Word from the locals is that they “will sting your face off”.  So, worry wart wifey, demanded that we squeeze our vacation bloated and piping hot sunburned asses into these leotards.  ($16 USD rental was the monetary cost, the cost of losing your pride walking with your package compressed like a ballerina was oh-so-very-costly)

Visibility was at about 3 meters (approx 9 feet).  During low tide here, you need to walk about 300 yards to get to any water over your head.  But what is out there is sweet.  Reefs with fish that want to know what the hell you are, so they swim right up to your mask and check you out.  We saw tiger fish, and this crazy fish that had a long orange snout on it.  I would swim over the shallow reefs and Nikki would swim around them in case “something popped out and got me”.

Cockatoos

Ladies, clean up your minds.  They are birds, not well endowed Aussie Rugby Boys.  In the evening, about a dozen or so do their nightly fly by the hotel.  They land on balconies at the hotel and scope out the place as a team.  If they find an open door, they fly in and steal food from your room.  I am not kidding.  This is the same bird I blogged about before that said “goodbye” as you walked up.  I am starting to think they are smarter than they lead on. 

Crocodile

As promised, I went back for the croc feeding.  They take a dead chicken, tie it to a big long stick and dangle it in front of the croc.  He waits patiently for over a minute, then strikes.  They are quick.  Much quicker than you think and they can lurch about 4 yards up and over.  The zoo dude, pulls the chicken bait back quickly but after about 10 tries of this cat and mouse game, the croc got the chicken in a quick snap.  What is truly jawdropping is the sound his jaws make when he snaps and misses.  You can hear it from 30 feet away.  This huge chomp as his jaws and teeth collide.  Then, the trainer scratches his back with the long stick and the croc moves his legs to try and block it until he gets tired of this game and goes into the water with his snout barely above the surface.  I know that croc was thinking, “one day you wanna-be Jack Hannah, you are going to lose your balance, fall into this pit and I am going to maim you and your stupid scratch stick”.

Fun With Numbers

Miles I walked to get an order of chips (fries) from Popeye after the long hike-2

Chips consumed on the walk home before I presented Nikki with a half order and claimed “they ran out of full orders”-not declaring

Rating of my sunburn in a sliding scale example: a 10 rating would be that my skin bubbled off and a 1 rating would be a white man in cave for a decade- 6.2    (BW3 wing sauce heat index sunburn rating-Hot BBQ)

Number of times Nikki stumbled in her “hiking sandals” that Zappos.com readers swore were OK for this mountain terrain-4

Number of times I told Nikki those sandals sucked-4

How many liters of water I took on our hike-3

How many liters of water I should have took on the hot hike-6

Odds that Nikki attempts to trade in both our dogs for a Koala-99%

Number of “booty in a cans” I consumed after learning about this new years treat-3

Number of times the bands burned out hippie drummer screamed “we gonna ring in the2009 new year y’all!”-1  (and then the soundcheck dude whispered to him that the year he was screaming about was soooo two years ago)

Number of fist pumps during the new years band G6 cover song-infinite

Quotes of the Day

“shake it off mates and move on”  drunk Aussie dude hoping that the men at the new years eve urinals would move quicker in their bladder emptying endeavors

Fact of The Day

Koala’s are not actually bears. (contrary to what this blog has stated numerous times)  They are marsupials.  They spend less than 1 hour of an average day actually moving.  The only time they go to the ground is to move to another tree.  For 20 hours they sleep, the rest are spent eating eucalyptus tree leaves.  They have a special digestive system that enables them to only eat one type of leaf.  I plan to do the same and live off these Popeye Chips.

Upon bringing out this baby Koala, Nikki squealed with delight and the mother and I both knew we were both in trouble...

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