January 27 - 29, 2015
Days 194 - 196
When we arrived, we met Craig's cousin David and his sons James and Angus. They, along with a handful of workers, were tending to a few thousand head of sheep in a large barn. After a brief introduction, we left them to their work and headed outside. A huge mulberry tree was on the other side of the driveway. Craig told me that he had spent much of his youth picking berries from this very tree, and now it was chock-full. Craig and I spent over an hour picking the delicious berries and filling buckets to give to his family. We probably ended up eating half of the supply in the process.
At dusk, we all piled into David's truck for a kangaroo hunt. I was expecting a long walk through the forest in search of a kanga', but I was quickly proven wrong. David simply drove onto a field, aimed his rifle out of the window and shot a kangaroo through the neck, from about 300 meters away. The boys helped to retrieve and butcher the carcass. They were incredibly efficient; the whole process took less than half an hour.
I wondered what Oksoo thought of all of this. One day earlier, she had been in a big city in Korea. Now, she was kneeling over a kangaroo carcass, clutching a high-powered rifle, hanging out with four Australian farmboys and one strange American. She hadn't seen any cities, or really anything at all in Australia, other than the ranch. It was hard to imagine a bigger cultural transition.
The following night we camped in the forest, near the ranch. The campground provided a grill, and we made good use of it. We cooked a bunch of potatoes, onions, capsicum (peppers) and tomatoes. But the main ingredient was fresh kangaroo meat. It has a reputation for being tough, but as I learned from Craig, that's because people tend to overcook it. We left it on the grill just long enough to brown the exterior and keep the middle bloody. That sure was a delicious meal.
Before heading to the big city the next day, Craig wanted Oksoo and me to do a quick hike. The plan was for us to follow a trail to another campground, 1.6 KM away, and he would meet us there with his van. It was such a short hike, I didn't even think about taking extra water or food, or asking for exact directions. And of course, something went wrong. The trail split unexpectedly, and I wasn't sure which way we were supposed to go. I'll spare you the details (and don't ask, it's embarrassing) but it took us two and a half hours to find Craig in his van. He thought our little misadventure was hilarious. Oksoo wasn't so impressed. She was definitely ready to get back to the city life.
We drove to Melbourne, where we met with Louise and Ben for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was the first time Craig, Louise and I had gotten together in over eight years. We had a fun night of reminiscing about the good ole' days in Bolivia. Who knows where, when and under what circumstances we'll meet next?