Yes, I am alive. I survived the wilds. But only barely. This next entry of my blog may not be suitable for young children or the faint hearted.
Well, may I exaggerate a little, but I did have brush with death (but more on that story later).
So last week I toddled away from Melbourne, not as reluctant to leave as Sydney (but then Sydney didn't put me through heatwave hell). I arrived in Launceston, apparently the 2nd largest city in Tasmania. Hmmmm, nice but that's not what I call a city. Cities in my opinion are meant to have people in them, this apparently is quite important and in Launceston I didn't see many.
The next morning, bright and early I was colllected by my 2 guides for my 6 day trek. Of the 8 fellow trekkers , I was the youngest by at least 35 years and in one case 50 apart from one other girl called Amanada. Now, I'm not age-ist, but this did take me a back slightly. That and of the remaining 6 trekkers, 5 were men with names beginning with J. Very confusing.
So it was then I thought the trek was going to be more of a gentle walk Oh well. However, I was wrong about this. These wilely old guys were fit and kept me on my toes. I won't bore you with a detailed day to day, blow for blow account of my walking, but the 6 days consisted of walking up Mountains called the Blue Tiers, walking along beaches called the Bay of fires, staying in a pub with an alcoholic pet pig and being horredously bitten by mosquitos. Oh and drinking some very fine Tasmania piot noir with Amanada.
However, not it was not all fun and games. The brush with death came on out last days trek. We were idling along a coastal, but rocky track, enjoying the trees the birds and the general ambiance of nature. I was fourth in the single file line up of our walk, when I noticed something the three before me had not. Just off the track was a large coiled up black snake. It looked right at me and raised it's head. I gave it a look back in astonishment. Despite being told about the wildlife here, I hadn't really expected to see any and my first instinct when I saw a large black snake was "why has someone left their toy rubber snake in the wood". Then as I said the snake moved and I realised, that it was of course a real snake and most likely very poisonous. I increased my pace and shouted back to my fellow trekkers (in I must say a very calm voice) that there was a large snake next to the track and then similarly calmly informed the guide.
It was then the reality of the situation hit me. This was a tiger snake, the most poisionous snake in Australia and despite not thinking I was afraid of snakes, I got an incredible fight or flight adrenaline rush and as you can probably guess, I didn't fight it. The guide had to catch up with me and tell me to slow down the pace! I wasn't the only one spooked though. Amanada who was behind me at the time of the snake spotting, ran in the other direction and by all accounts the expletives that came to her lips were not suitable for a PG audience.
Amanada, as you can guess, soon became my ally. A lovely girl who currently lives in Brisbane as a executive travel agent (who knew that was a job?) and on thelast night, once back in Launceston, she confessed it was her birthday. This demanded celebration! Champagne, greek food, red wine! Unfortunately, it then descended into beer and gin and tonics (oh and my new follwer 'Gin and Tonic' who are you- ?Maggie). The next morning, packing up my rucksack and locating the bus station was not the most pleasant experience of my life. Co-incidently, Amanada and I discovered we were both on the same bus to Hobart (the largest city in Tassie) and after arriving, scooting around the famous markets we settled down for cake and hydration to comfort ourselves from the hangovers still troubling us.
We bid our farewell that evening and I went to a small town outside Hobart for big my indulgence of the trip so far. You see it was the Oscar weekend and due to the time difference, I've never been able to watch it at home. So I decided rather than roughing it, I would check into a hotel for a couple of nights, buy junk food and watch the Oscars live. However, hotels in Hobart were expensive so I decded to stay in a motel out of the city. I was a bit dubious at first as it was reamarkably cheaper than anywhere else I had seen. However, imagine my delight when I saw the room to discover that it had a river view, a small kitchen and ensuite power shower. Pleased as punch. And I thoroughly enjoyed the Oscars despite Frost/Nixon winning nothing, at least Kate Winslet and Sean Penn got the statues they deserved.
I'm now in Hobart city centre, back in hostel accommodation for the night before heading back to Launceston for a final day trek and then journey to Sydney again to catch up with a friend.
As you know, I've mainly been hot this last, well to honest 2 months, and the cheek of it, but today it's raining. And Hobart, like Launceston is small. But unfortunately, unlike Launceston is not very nice. It feels like Alness. You know the rough part. Any small city that's got needle disposal bins at every corner can't be a haven for puppies or small children. However, I did spot an independent bookshop with a cafe so I may be forced to spent the day drinking tea and reading a book. It's a hard life, but I do need to get over my snake trauma. It was very traumatic.