“Oh, we loved Canada, we did. Yes, yes. Loved it.” Both Cheryl and Debbie nodded in agreement. “Niagara Falls, yes, yes. And Banff. And Lake Louise. Yes, yes. Loved them all.”
Cheryl and Debbie are sisters. Cheryl, at 62, is older than her sister by four years.
They, along with about 25 others, were on an 11-hour tour through a silver of Kakadu National Park.
“My, my, it’s hot,” they said in unison. “Hot. Yes, yes.”
I was wondering if they had some sort of single brain between the two of them. Not that they were simple minded, not at all. But like a couple who’ve been married for a long time, they knew each others thoughts and finished each others sentences.
The coach tour touched the major points, but only eight of us took the extra excursion: a flight in an Australian-made Gippsland GA-8 piloted by James, who looked, oh, 12, over the vastness of Kakadu and Arnhem Land.
The eight of us were split into two groups of four each. After a brief safety briefing – put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye – we were off.
To say Kakadu is vast is to say the Pacific has some water in it. And much of that 20,000 square kilometer territory – that’s half the size of Switzerland – has never been explored. Seeing it from 1,500 feet just staggers the senses. Scrub bush and trees unbroken to the horizon.
During the flight some weather closed in, four distinct cells headed our way. The weather made for some exciting bumps and grinds, but James easily flew around the storms and landed without incident after our 45-minute flight.
Then back to the bus for a two-hour drive home.
I asked Debbie and Cheryl how they enjoyed the day. “Oh yes, very much. Dancing and digereedoo playing, all that, oh yes, yes, a lovely time. Just lovely.”
They, like myself, were simply overwhelmed by the experience and could not adequately make sense of what they had experienced.
Never has a landscape made me feel so insignificant.
Probably because, well, we are.