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The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters – The Finale.

In this final episode, I eventually get to the part about my almost-murder by the drunk Australian wild boar hunters. Let’s recap:

I am too drunk to know to say “no” to participating in the “Outback Rainforest Adventure” during my visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Part I, then the tour guide rips off his clothes and goes swimming in a rainforest waterfall pool in an Australian flag Speedo and I get all hot and bothered by it in Part II, and that was just the first day of this whole unfortunate trip.

I really want to remember every last activity we did the whole three days because they all sucked in their own way and because I revel in complaining, and it would be fun to tell you all about them in detail. But I only remember the very worst moments.  So I’ll just have to stick to those for the finale of my Outback adventure tale.

Okay, so the second day starts and Dundee herds all of our hungover asses into the Outbackmobile (this is the new name for our vehicle – since I can’t really describe what it was) and he tells us that we’ll be leaving the rainforest and entering the Outback. I was delighted to be leaving the rainforest behind, because I thought my chances of survival were significantly greater the further we got from all of the poisonous small things that wanted to kill me in the rainforest. But I wasn’t sure about the whole Outback thing. The closest I had been to the Outback prior to this was the Steakhouse, which, let me tell you is as beautiful to me as Oprah herself. I mean, you can order thick, fat steaks and pick them up in a drive thru after 20 minutes? Fucking genius.

So I had high hopes for this thing they called the Outback. Perhaps there would be cute kangaroos throwing colorful boomerangs around that happy Aboriginals dot-painted especially for them. Oh, and an old Aboriginal dude playing the didgeridoo while the koalas sat in a tree unobtrusively eating leaves or sleeping. That would captivate me for about 5 minutes, which is a very long time for me, so it looked like a ray of sunshine was in my future.

That is not what the Outback is like.  The Outback is possibly the most boring landscape in the entire universe. I’m a Midwestern girl, so I thought soybean fields were about as boring as a landscape could get, but no. The Australian Outback is the worst. Even the desert beats the Outback, because it’s all mystical and stuff and there are cliffs and canyons for you to fall off of, so it packs in some drama too.

Not the Steakhouse

See what I mean?

So anyway, Dundee drives us into a landscape much like this one above and stopped the Outbackmobile in all of this nonsense and we had to go have a “look-see”. This is what Dundee called it when we were about to get out of the vehicle and wander around aimlessly. I hated look-sees. You would just walk around and get sweaty and look at dirt and a bush here and there and be like “wow. a fucking bush. awesome. where the fuck are the koalas I was led to believe Australia was rife with?” Dundee was animated. To him, this was all fucking awesome. Again, he was so like the Croc Hunter. He was jumping around with his machete bouncing up and down on his hip pointing out these huge ant hills and animatedly explaining how exactly the ants make them. He’d get down on his hands and knees and ogle the ants’ handiwork. I mean these things were about a foot or two off the ground, which is hella bigger than the ones you find on suburban sidewalks so I guess they were impressive compared to that, but they weren’t the fucking pyramids or anything. Dundee seemed to think they were the work of the gods.  Really? I mean, it’s a fucking two foot hill in the middle of nowhere. And plus, there aren’t any ants or termites or whatever crawling all over them, which was good, but creates too little drama to make me care.  I never got the five minutes of captivation I was so looking forward to.

So we had a day long look-see in the Outback and all we saw were these ant hills all over the place. And there was a little rocky hill thing we climbed too. And by “we”, I mean everybody else. It looked pointless to me. And maybe like it would cause me to sweat more than I was comfortable with. So I just sat at the bottom rolling my eyes and being annoying and scanning the horizon for killer koalas or at least some boxing kangaroos. No luck.

Okay, so then it starts getting dark and Dundee brings us back to the Outbackmobile and he declares that this is where we’ll camp tonight! Ummm – surely you jest? There aren’t any tents in the back of the mobile! How are we going to camp? Dundee informs me happily that we’re “sleeping under the stars – didn’t you read it in the brochure, Love?” No I didn’t fucking read it in the brochure.  I think we established if I had, I would be at a club chugging a Strongbow instead of in the middle of BFE with a Speedo-clad, machete-carrying, Steve Irwinesque tour guide.

And, even if I had read the brochure, aren’t there supposed to be tents? No. We were going to sleep in “swags”, which are kind of like sleeping bags, except instead of being soft and snuggly, they are made of heavy duty canvas and they are kind of shaped like coffins and you’re supposed to zip up your damn head inside them. And that is where I am supposed to fucking sleep. I mean, he didn’t even put a tarp down under the swag. It was like, unroll the swag and just put it on any dirty dusty spot and get in. Oh, and by the way, they don’t breathe at all, so get naked or you’ll probably sweat to death. The FUCK? Dundee was all about getting naked. And in places where a multitude of insects could claim any of your orifices as their own swag. Um. No thanks.

So this is where I have a little mental breakdown. There is no toilet. No shower. No bed. No alcohol. No McDonalds. Nobody, for miles, except us and Dundee. And I’m completely freaked out because I am sure that something or someone is going to attack me as I sleep. I mean, everybody knows that dingoes eat babies in Australia. So whats to stop them from trying to eat my arm? And how unnatural is it for people to just sleep outside under the stars? Are you kidding me? That’s the whole reason we fucking evolved – so that we could live in cool urban lofts with central air and skylights so we could see the stars in our temperature controlled, insect and psycho-free abodes. Why do so many people have such a huge problem with the great indoors?!  Who was going to keep me safe?!

Dundee’s machete. Thats who.  At least that was what he was telling me while I was on my knees screaming to God and tearing at my greasy hair. His machete was pretty big. And by now I was convinced he wasn’t going to kill me, though I was sure that he wanted to. Many times. He told me that he had some chocolate if I would just come back to the fire he built so we could have dinner and tell stories. It was blantantly clear I wasn’t the first hysterical woman he had talked off the ledge.  I was hungry. And I needed chocolate. So in tears, I returned to my friends and the British couple and we sat around a fire as Dundee cooked our dinner. I was still ruminating about how maybe I should spend more time sober so I wouldn’t agree to these insane “adventures” ever again, when suddenly from very far away, we saw headlights.  In the middle of the Outback. We were nowhere near a road. I thought that perhaps God had heard my prayer and sent Ed McMahon with an oversized check to deliver me from this hell. I started jumping up and down, elated. I was sure that I was being saved. It was the only logical explanation of what could be happening.

Dundee looked very concerned. That bastard wants to see me suffer, I told myself. He’s pissed Ed McMahon found me all the way out here. The tenacity of the Prize Patrol in this case was impressive. Those guys just wouldn’t be deterred once they found their winner, even though she is sitting in the middle of the fucking Outback. It was really very moving.  But, then again… We were kind of far away from civilization. And I didn’t know if satellite would reliably work that far away from civilization and it wasn’t really prime time in the US yet, so if they did it now most Americans would miss my glorious moment.  Plus, it would be really expensive to bring Ed’s makeup person all the way into the Outback. Maybe it wasn’t Ed.

The headlights were making zig zags all over the place, but seemed generally headed in our direction.  Now is a good time to remind you that at that time, cell phones came packed in briefcases and were used by about .8% of the population. We had no communication channels to civilization, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen without the benefit of 911. Dundee got up and started pacing. He told us to be quiet and not to talk to whoever it was and he then turned on the Outbackmobile and shined the headlights in the direction of the speeding vehicle that was barreling toward us, presumably so they wouldn’t run us over.

We started to panic a little. Our normally jovial Dundee broke out in a sweat. Apparently this part wasn’t in the brochure. Who the hell was in that car, and what the hell were they doing driving around in the Outback at night?  The headlights keep coming closer and we kind of all huddle together having no idea what to expect, but my hopes of it being the Prize Patrol were diminishing every second the lights came closer. No way Ed McMahon would drive that fast and erratically. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving.

Let me say it again. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving. Aw fuck. Lindsay Lohan was only 10 then. So who the hell was this?  The truck was upon us and our campfire within two minutes. Probably less. Dundee continued to pace nervously, and he took his machete off his belt in anticipation.  We did not have to wait long to find out who was driving. Two men, who I can only describe as extremely hillbilly-esque (they had no teeth – I swear to God), half rolled, half fell out of their jeep. But their messy dismount from the jeep did not affect their ability to hold their rifles.  At first they appeared to be very happy drunks.  They were laughing and wheezing and wanted to know who we were and what we were doing.  Dundee said we were having a look-see and camping.  He inquired about what they were doing.  I couldn’t understand a damn word they said, but I found out later they were looking for wild boars. They were wild boar hunters. Wild. Boar. Hunters.

Ummm….whaaat? Nobody said anything about the possibility of wild boar, let alone their hunters. They wanted to know if we had beer.  Believe me, fellas – if there were any beer, you would find it all coursing through my veins. Instead, I had more than my share of adrenaline flowing through them at that point.  Drunk hillbillies with guns scare me.

Two of my friends on the trip were from New York and LA, and they are whispering that we’re all going to die.  They were pretty sure that these guys were going to open fire at any moment.  I found it pretty ironic that the whole time we were in Australia, the Aussies would ask my friend from LA whether it was safe to go out on the streets in LA because of all of the drive by shootings. Hollywood makes LA look like the killing fields.  They thought Chicago was probably safe because the mob only killed everybody back during prohibition. We thought it was hysterical. But now the tables were turned and three chicks from LA, NYC and Chicago respectively were never more frightened than when faced with random drunk wild boar hunters.

You know how they say you get a “fight or flight” reflex in a situation like this? Now I know I’m a flight person. My goal was to get shot dead running away because there was no way in hell I was going to get myself raped by those two mother fuckers and then killed. Nope. I decided that I much preferred to get killed right away. I told my friends I’d take the first bullet. You know, for the team.

A heated argument seemed to erupt between Dundee and the hunters. They wanted to sit with us and be friends, but Dundee told them they weren’t really invited. Their initial joviality faded and then they seemed to be telling Dundee something along the lines of “Well see, we have guns and you only have a machete”. A pretty solid argument for how sloshed they were. But Dundee kept them talking and at a semi-safe distance from us.  Then one of my friends declared “They’ll kill Dundee first. And then they’ll rape us all and kill us. We’re so dead.” We looked at the guys we came with and asked them if they were going to stand for this. Like maybe they should back Dundee up or something. You know, act like men. They said the hell if they were going to get into the fray. Those guys were big, dumb, drunk and armed. I think their plan for escape was to run while we were getting raped. Pussies.

As Dundee and the hunters argued I was able to reframe the whole situation and kept thinking about whether it would be worse to be shot dead by these guys or to sleep under the stars in that coffin/swag thing. I was leaning toward the former (I seriously was) when suddenly the guys got back in their truck and peeled off into the night.  Wait. What? I was still alive and unraped? Whoa. That was heavy. Dundee came back and told us who they were and what they wanted. He wound up having to buy them off with some of our food. Good thing for me that Dundee was such a skilled negotiator, because if they had asked for one of the women,  I would’ve been the first one Dundee gave away.

I asked if maybe it would be best for us to drive to a hotel. Dundee said we’d be fine. Those guys weren’t coming back. Yeah, right. With all these naked coeds in swags? They’re totally coming back to rape us. I lobbied for us to forfeit our adventure and hightail it to Cairns. Dundee wouldn’t hear of it. He was back to his old self. Gleeful in my misery.

Eventually I had to get into the swag. But first I had a few questions for Dundee:

What if it rains? It won’t rain.

It doesn’t rain here? What if a pack of wild boar comes? No worries.

What about all those ants that built those big pyramid things? There won’t be many insects. Just get in. And take your clothes off or you’ll die of heat.

The hell if I was going to get naked. I had never had crabs and hell if I was going to get them from a “night under the stars” in a cheap swag in the Australian Outback.  I zipped myself in and the gross BO smell was overwhelming, and as promised, it was hot as hell, so I opened it just a little for some air. And I fell asleep.

Only to be awakened in the early hours of the next day by a very large drop of water which fell on my forehead. The fuck? And then another one.

“DO. NOT. TELL ME IT IS. RAINING. ON MY HEAD.” I said this as loudly as humanly possible, without having it turn into a shriek.  Oh yes. It was raining. My declaration woke the rest of the group.  I quickly unzipped the swag to sit up and start bitching more, when my eyes focused on two, no three, no FOOURRR!!! ant-like things that were bigger than a baby’s arm crawling on top of my swag. “HO-LY-SHIIIIIT!”

“I hate it here! I hate Australia! I hate you, Dundee! This is ridiculous. Get me the fuck out of here! You said it didn’t rain? What the fuck is it doing right now? We almost get shot last night and now there is some sort of fucking flash flood in the Outback and these fucking ants want to eat me. I HATE YOOOOUUUU! I hate this! ALL of this! I have never been more miserable in my entire life!” (If this story ever gets made into a movie, only Meryl could handle this complex character. Only she has the power to accurately convey the powerful rawness and the depth of my soul at that poignant moment.)

Dundee shrugged and smiled and said that we should fold our swags up and get in the Outbackmobile.  He was going to take us to a horse farm, then an Aboriginal village and then we were going to a pub. And then we were going back to Cairns. You know when you are fighting for your life, like you fall into any icy river, and your body conserves all the blood and gives it to your heart and lungs and brain and you have this intense focus to stay alive? Thankfully that is what happened to me in that very moment! My survival instincts finally kicked in and my brain focused on the word “pub” and I lived. Thank God Almighty. I lived.

It rained all morning.

The horse farm? Smelled like shit. Like I suppose most horse farms do.

The aboriginal village? Um, it was like going to the projects. We got to hang out with people who hate white people for ruining everything for them and then making them paint boomerangs and didgeridoos so that they could get some money from us so they could use the money to go back to being drunk again.  Awesome.

The pub? Glorious. And I kicked Dundee’s ass at darts. It felt good to be back in my element.

And then we got on with the rest of our vacation. And I lived to tell the tale.

SO…now you know what not to do in Australia.

You’re welcome.

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The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters, Part Deux

If you’re just joining me, I highly suggest reading Part I, because its important to grasp how fucking clueless I am before you go any further AND how I got myself into this awful mess in the first place.

Okay, so I left off where we were just leaving on our “Rainforest Outback Adventure” for three days, with a guide who was a 30 year old Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin type.  A true caricature of every Australian stereotype one could imagine, which is why we insisted on calling him Dundee the whole time.

After driving an hour or so, Dundee pulls off the road and we wind up in a field of sugar cane. Just a random field. And he takes out his machete and gives us some sugar cane to suck on. Don’t get me wrong. I fucking LOVE sugar and all sugar substitutes, and even high fructose corn syrup please don’t mention this to Dr. Oz or Oprah.  But eating sugar cane straight off the stalk was not the same as a blow pop.  Blow pops are way better.  It was kind of disappointing to eat sugar in its raw form, which is why I guess I’m such a big fan of highly processed food.

Anyway, we didn’t stay long, I assume because Dundee was stealing sugar cane for us and he wasn’t sure if the owner of the plantation was going to shoot us or not, so he told us to finish chewing our sugar cane and get back in the vehicle and mentally prepare for our upcoming hike into the rainforest. Fuck. Seriously? So soon into the trip? Shouldn’t we have lunch or something first? I have a way of telegraphing exactly what I’m feeling by my facial expression and Dundee saw the “how the hell did I get here and how do I get out of it” expression and laughed heartily. “I kin tail thays ah gyohweeng tuh bay thray lohng dayees fah yeh, Lowv.” (translation: I can tell these are going to be three long days for you, Love).  Okay, if I keep trying to write it phonetically it will take me 7 days, so I’ll leave it that.  But suffice to say, Dundee had my number from the beginning, and he didn’t like weak Americans with bad attitudes. Which is a shame since I can’t think of a sentence that describes me any better than that.

Anyway, so this guy goes off-roading with us into the rainforest and seems to pick an arbitrary place to park. And we get out in the midst of all these vines and plants and….nature….and I’m beside myself because all this stuff is touching me and there are bugs and it is kind of steamy and I just brought a pair of running shoes because I’m a just an exchange student who never planned to hike the rainforest. I was mostly planning on hanging out at bars since I could drink legally there. But Dundee didn’t want to hear excuses. He told us to take all our stuff and follow him in a single file line and not to go off the path because there was a lot of poisonous plants and animals that he was going to avoid for us. I raised my hand. “Um….where are we going and how long is this hike going to be and what are we having for lunch?” These seemed like solid questions.  He smiled and said “No worries, mates!” and just started hiking. Which didn’t answer any of my questions. I readied my inhaler and prepared for the worst.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of brisk hiking and being completely unable to see more than 10 or 15 feet ahead, I began to think that Dundee might be insane. And he was leading us all to our deaths. And nobody would even know we were kidnapped and dead until we didn’t come back to school in 10 days.  I wondered if he would just let us die by letting dingoes eat us or if he would hack us to pieces with his machete and feed us to his pet wallabies. As I pondered these deep thoughts about my own demise, suddenly there is a clearing and a huge waterfall flowing into this magical pond came into view. In the middle of the fucking rain forest. Like in a Jurassic Park movie, which is the only frame of reference I have for this sort of thing.  It was really stunning. Just absolutely beautiful.  I checked my bag for my camera and when I finally found it and got it out to take a picture, I noticed something moving in the lower right hand corner of the viewfinder.  It was Dundee.  In a Speedo. With an Australian flag design. Oh Christ.  Yes. Our tour guide. In nothing but a patriotic Speedo, diving into a waterfall. Ummm?!  The man was able to strip down and dive in within 3 minutes of getting there. I’m feeling rather awkward. First, because men in Speedos are ALWAYS WRONG. But secondly and most disturbing, he rocked it. I mean, he looked pretty fine in it.  I had a flutter. Or a few. God, that is so wrong……. But I digress.  Does he expect us to just watch him swim there? Because I totally will. Did we bring water? I’m suddenly thirsty…

He suggests we join him.  I look around for the dressing room, but we are in the middle of a rainforest with weird animals and deadly vegetation and no other humans or vehicles anywhere nearby.  Surely, he doesn’t mean that we are to strip down on these rocks in front of everybody and just jump in, naked? YEEEESSSS. Yes, he does.  Perhaps a group orgy would be a great ice breaker.  Okay, so I’m pretty sure getting naked with the tour guide was not included in the brochure. If it had been, I would have paid more attention to the pictures and I sure as hell wouldn’t have gone with the guys I went with.

But anyway,  I’m pretty sure the guys and girls I did go with are not the types who are just going to rip their clothes off in front of everybody and just jum—–the guys we came with cannon-balled into the pond.  The old British couple were totally on board as well.  Um…what the fuck?  They’re like 65ish and just going in naked. Bullocks!! Who knew those Brits were so crazy? Okay, so part of me is saying, “Well, if those old people are doing it When in Cairns….” and the other part of me is saying, “The water is probably freezing cold and there are probably big fucking poisonous snakes or crocs in there and anyway all those pints haven’t done much for your thighs, and if you aren’t wearing a Wonderbra, then they may think you’re  guy trying to pretend you’re a girl like the opposite of that “Boys Don’t Cry” movie and they might get all weirded out and try to kill you and things are going to get totally “Lord of the Flies” in a big fucking hurry.”

I really, really didn’t want to get in, but I think my friends were talking me into it and I decided I’d change into my bikini, just to be social. No way I was going in there without a bottle of wine and my Wonderbra bikini by my side. So I did it.  I was proud of myself. Because as a general rule, I don’t swim. I don’t put my head underwater, EVER. I mean, I know how to do that stuff, but I prefer not to ever since Ricky G. held me underwater at the community pool until I almost drowned. Yep. And swimming is a form of moderate exercise, which as I said before, I’m not that into.  Me exerting myself, especially me exerting myself ensconced in water, is unheard of.  But peer pressure can be a good thing and I wound up taking a dip in the most glorious little place on earth. It was actually really pretty cool….But I’d be lying if I told you that blissful feeling lasted longer than 6.1 minutes.  Thats all it took for me to realize I might be in paradise, but paradise was cold. And I couldn’t feel nor touch the bottom, so for all I knew, there were 8 foot piranhas lurking or something even worse. And even though Dundee was hotness, I wasn’t going to let some fucking Loch Ness eat me or some huge mutant leech affix itself to my tasty ass. That’s also when Dundee mentioned something about some sort of insect we should try to avoid. Yup. Thanks. I’m gone.  So I got out, put on my clothes over my soaking we bikini and prepared to keep trudging along for the day.

It was really awesome. To be all steamy and wet with waterfall scum and my shorts chafing the skin on my thighs as I traipsed through dangerous trails and avoided poisonous things everywhere and stopping every five minutes or so Dundee could make sure there were no wild animals tracking us. Really awesome.  So awesome that I don’t remember what happened until we finally made it back to the vehicle and Dundee announced we were going to a hostel to spend the night. Well, thank God we weren’t pitching a tent and sleeping outside.  I felt so grateful at least there was a bed and a shower and even alcoholic beverages in the near future.  That night we sat in the big living room and told stories and drank. Dundee fondled his machete throughout.  When we were ready to turn in, Dundee told us to make sure to shower, because that was the last time we’d have the chance before he brought us back to Cairns TWO DAYS FROM NOW. He took special care right then to look at me right in my terrified, deer-in-the-headlight eyes and smile with pure glee.  Ah, FUCK. Really???! How on earth did I get here?

…I need another glass of wine now.  Next post, I swear I’ll get to the hunters trying to kill us part. Promise.

Click here for the finale

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters, Part I

Indeed.

I studied abroad in Western Australia my junior year of college, mainly because I couldn’t speak any language fluently except English, and for dumb ass American kids who took Spanish in school for 8 years and still don’t speak it fluently, there aren’t a ton of alternatives. My choices were limited to London or Oz, and as I was making my decision, I imagined Australia as this really warm, tropical place with friendly kangaroos jumping around and that sounded more fun than London, which I imagined as a rainy place with an uptight Queen Mother.  Looking back, I scratch my head at my complete ignorance about both places, but you might as well know my train of thought so you can get an idea of where my head was at. (hint: up my ass)

So my program was on the Western side of Australia, which is the un-Sydney, un-Melbourne, un-Great Barrier Reef side. I didn’t realize that when I picked it, but you can see a theme forming which will be present throughout this post.  I didn’t realize a lot of things at 19.  However, I must say that I loved Western Australia, especially the wine country.  I studied near Perth. For a city of its size, there are a lot of nice, fun, law-abiding citizens in Perth.  In fact, there were only two major crimes that took place in Perth while I was there:  the first was committed by an American sailor (go figure) who was in port at Perth and the second occurred was when I, and all of my girlfriends, were sexually assaulted by the dancers at the Gobbles male strip club.

I thought going to a male strip club would be like going to a normal nudie bar, except that I could expect a lot more fat, horny middle-aged women instead of men there. I thought the dancers would just do their little dances on stage and act dirty and take some clothes off slowly and we’d all giggle and laugh until we paid one of them extra to pretend to do stuff to our friend, just to torture her, but no actual touching would be allowed or encouraged. Like most things in the southern hemisphere, it was actually totally the opposite.  At Australian male strip clubs*, or at least this one, the men don’t dance.  They just get you wasted on free cheap champagne and then they force you to do things in, around and directly to their junk that you really have no interest in doing.  And they bring you on stage to do it, just in case someone in the back row can’t see you being molested in your chair or they need a better angle for their camera. There is a lot of body grease involved, and to this day the smell of it makes me wretch. I wasn’t prepared for so much oil and I still think they could have at least handed us ponchos on our way in so our clothes didn’t get ruined, but alas, they gave us free glasses of pink champagne, and let the sexual assault begin. That’s all the time I will dedicate to one of the most traumatizing events in my life, since this story is about almost murder, not pretty much rape.

*(I thought that it was just an Australia thing, but then I read about Aunt Becky’s American experience recently and apparently the vileness of male strip clubs is universal.  You learn something new everyday).

So I find myself on the wrong side of Australia if I want to see anything that people usually go to Australia to see.  So my friends and I plan a two-week excursion to the other side of Oz for our break. First stop is Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.  The travel agents we recruited to help us gave us this little brochure with all of these vacation packages you could sign up for.  Knowing if we didn’t sign up for a package we might just drink the whole time and never leave the hostel, we set out to find an excursion that would appeal to a group of four women and three punks men who wanted an “adventure”.  Somehow it was determined, by one of the males no doubt, that the excursion named “Rainforest Outback Adventure” was a good fit because we could see a large variety of Australian flora and fauna that way.  I wish I had not already finished two Strongbow Whites when the plans were made, because I can guarantee that there wasn’t a single thing that was described in those 3 days that was even remotely something I would sign up for sober.  You see, I like “adventures” that entail being clean and having clean bedding and bathing in clean water with soap and taking long naps and reading several books whilst sipping red wine and eating a nice steak while a chiseled, shirtless man with an Italian and/or South American accent massages me.  THAT, my friends, is an adventure.

Adventures I generally shy away from include dust, large and/or flying insects, poisonous snakes, sweltering heat, body sweat, any sort of hiking/mildly strenuous exercise, drizzly rain, red mud, eating or touching rainforest vegetation, camp food, and large wild animals, unless they are in a secure zoo enclosure or on TV. Apparently, the “Rainforest Outback Adventure” turned out to be the latter kind of adventure, with an added surprise bonus of drunk wild boar hunters. Now when I judge a new “adventure” opportunity, I check for drunk wild boar hunters, and I avoid those. So, I learned something. Indeed, Oprah. It was a “teaching moment”.

Okay, so we go to the place we are to start our adventure and a guy about 30 years old who looks, acts and talks exactly like the caricature of a mix between Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter welcomes us. We call him Dundee for the remainder of the trip.  There are about 9 of us in our group – us and a nice old British couple. Dundee is a man of few words, and he is hard core.  He straps on his machete and hops into the front seat of this Hummer-like/bus thing that we will use to travel the rainforest and outback the next few days.  As we drove away from the busy tourist town of Cairns, a single, slow tear ran down my face in anticipation of what was sure the be the worst three days ever, and they didn’t disappoint.  Little did I know they were almost my last three.

To be continued….** Click here for Part II

**I’m sorry I can’t tell any story without going off on several tangents. Brevity isn’t my strong suit.  I feel the need to tell the WHOLE story, because if I left out the parts about theft, Speedos, very large ants, Aboriginals, rifles, machetes, and of course, your friends and mine, the drunk wild boar hunters, then it just wouldn’t be a Love story. Please be patient with me.