It seemed like we rushed to get here, not a lot in the middle so we pushed on through. It wasn’t until we spent sometime in Kakadu did the tension release. We hadn’t even realised we’d been on edge. Clawing each other with chewed nails. Hours and hours of driving, getting hotter, breathing was hard. But then there was Kakadu, lit up by a thumbnail moon.
We started off in the monsoon rainforest, cooler than anywhere else. We stepped out of our skins and shook them off in the Jasmin scented air. The next day we climbed mountains in the midday heat, stood silently watching the birds fossick for food in the wetland water lilies. We saw ancient rock art depicting creation stories painted in ochre and blood. Kakadu has six seasons we were there in the hot dry season, perfect for hunting file snakes and long-necked turtles.
We stayed at a place with a resort like pool, met a gorgeous Parisian couple with a baby. The man was Adonis and she Xena Fashion Warrior, they were so beautiful it was hard to look at them, we may have cracked in their image. We all drove up to Ubirr to see the sun set on stone country above the lowlands where the buffalo used to roam.
The couple left in the morning without saying goodbye, no note, they snuck off at the first break of light. We stayed on longer for the Mahbilil Festival in Jabiru. A yearly event that celebrates local indigenous culture with music, arts, dance and bush food. We sampled some wild magpie goose and spicy buffalo sausage stew. And drove off, bellies and hearts full.