Fun Fact #1: The top 10 deadliest snakes in the world all live in Australia.
Fun Fact #2: I have yet to see one in the wild.
This weekend, I went bouldering at Bowen, a resort 2-hours outside of Townsville. Upon arrival, I realized that there’s no such thing as an ugly beach here. The sands were absolutely gorgeous and the ocean was a beautiful, crystal clear blue, the exact temperature perfect for swimming. Just by looking around me, I knew I’d made the right decision to go down.
The boulders we climbed were big, sharp, and intimidating. In other words, they were the exact challenge our group was looking for. It appeared that the majority of the climbers were pretty experienced and it actually made me more comfortable to know that they knew what they were doing. I was also extremely grateful that they were more than willing to dole out tips. Indeed, some of the climbs they attempted seemed to defy gravity. I stuck with more beginner stuff and still got decently scratched up. While most of the cuts are on my finger tips, I also cut my lip on the very first climb trying to move too fast in a crevice.
At night, the twenty of us split into four groups, with three of us camping in tents and the fourth group staying in a small hotel room. We also had a Heroes & Villains party which was attended by characters including a cow, a banana, Wonder Woman, and Nemo. On a side note, I’ve realized that every Australian party is a costume party. Not only that, but people put a lot of effort into their outfits and struggle not to repeat the same ones. The exception is a onesie. Apparently that never goes out of style.
During our BBQ, there was another large, older group of retirees drinking wine at the neighboring table. At first, I was worried that we would disturb them, but they seemed to genuinely appreciate our company. They chatted with us and even offered us watermelon and a box of cherry tomatoes (which I gratefully accepted). Unfortunately, the hotel owners didn’t feel the same way towards us. It may have had something to do with the fact that seven people were sharing a three person room, but in any case, that group got kicked out and ended up sleeping on crash pads in a cave we had climbed earlier that day… But apparently it wasn’t as cold as you’d expect. I felt lucky to sleep in a tent on an air mattress (!) and use a bathroom decorated with flowers and potted plants. I tried to explain how spartan campground restrooms are in the US but nobody seemed too surprised, pointing out Australia’s outback reputation. Still, I think the peacock strutting around the next morning was a little over the top.
So now to add to the giant bruises I sustained last weekend paintballing, I get to add sore muscles and all these cuts. Still, there’s no way I can come all the way here and not go out and see all of these amazing sights and try new things. Stuff like this just reinforces how I could never live in a city.