Rudely awoken once again by an alarm at 5am, we stumbled out of bed, fell into our clothes and trudged downstairs for breakfast. The only consolation of rising so early is partaking in Darwin's best coffee - unfortunately the cafe was closed and even sycophantic begging could not get them to open any sooner. For 20 minutes we watched all the other weary travelers emerge, ready to join a multitude of different tours. At last the cafe roller door went up and we fell over one another to get fed before our respective buses arrived.
Our next form of transportation for the 3 day Darwin to Alice leg, was a 24 seat minibus which was considerably more squishy than the 4WD bus. It is 1700kms from Darwin to Alice Springs and these three days are going to be long and tedious. The BOSS and I squeezed into a row towards the back and then realised that half the people we hadn't bothered talking to on our previous tour, were joining us on this one - including the 2 Dicks.
At the first fuel stop, the BOSS decided to join the driver up the front, thus giving me much more room to spread out and I settled in for a snooze punctuated by tedious English football talk emanating from the back seat. Yawn!
A few hours into the trip we stopped for breakfast at Adelaide River Inn. One of the stars from the Crocodile Dundee movies resides here. Charlie, whose real name is Nick, has permanent pride of place on the bar, gazing out glassy eyed over the 1000's of tourists who wander in to take his photo. He doesn't mind - he's stuffed. He's the buffalo which Paul Hogan hypnotises in the first movie.
3 hours later we pulled into Katherine. The campsite was dusty and hot but the kitchen was cool and breezy. A quick lunch and then our new guide Johnny took us up to Katherine Gorge. There we had the option of a cruise, canoeing or hanging around in the cultural centre for 4 hours. The BOSS and I talked Johnny into dropping us back in Katherine township so we could laze the afternoon away in civilization - I think the BOSS is a little outgorged.
We found ourselves an internet cafe and the BOSS checked her emails from the boyfriend and the bestfriend. I burnt the photos from the camera to a CD and posted it back home for safe keeping. We checked out downtown Katherine fashion shops which we decided were a lot more conservative than their Darwin counterparts. We then enjoyed a pleasant hour just doing nothing on a bench seat in the main street - watching the world pass by. It was a divine relaxing afternoon. Katherine community radio station pipes music through loud speakers into the main drag - all easy listening 80's "elevator" music.
Johnny came to pick us up at 5.30 and the rest of the group went shopping while we got petrol. Johnny seems to be directionally challenged as she made at least 2 wrong turns in 100m and had to do a 3km round trip to get back where she started from. We had a very average beef stirfry for dinner and we hit the sack early.
This group is quite a young set - most being in their early-mid 20's. They are all pretty self absorbed and the same old questions pop up again. Where are you from, where have you been, where are you going, how long have you been on the road. The BOSS is so sick of being asked what she wants to do when she leaves school. There is one particularly perky German girl who I just feel like slapping.