These shots are from a herping expedition near Fogg Dam on Friday, with a bunch of Couchsurfers and hosts. ‘Herptile’ is the name given to snakes and amphibians, so going out to catch and release wild herps is informally called ‘herping’.
Darwin’s most active Couchsurfing host and former CS ambassador, Amanda, organised the event and has been catching snakes in this way since she was a kid. The snakes are Arafura File Snakes – very docile aquatic pythons, not inclined to bite and probably not capable of doing so anyway.
Aboriginal people eat these snakes by biting off their heads and cooking them on a fire. Their name comes from their rough skin due to their keeled scales, and they are all-too-easy to catch. We also saw a juvenile green tree frog (common in these parts), a cane toad (meh), and what appears to be a garden orb weaver spider, which we fed by holding torches up to its web to attract bugs. The mosquitos were pretty bad out there. I was covered in Bushman’s 40% DEET repellent and they still bit me - through my jeans no less!
Apparently in the last few weeks there has been a ‘mass migration’ of snakes, fish etc leaving the wetlands for permanent rivers, hence the droppings covering the bridge from hungry, opportunistic birds. Amanda says two weeks ago there were “hundreds” of snakes trying get through the small stream we visited.
I forgot to mention the other day, the ‘weird’ dude from the cohousing community gave me:
This is what I mean when I tell people I’ve done nothing but gain from the people I’ve hosted - both materially and mentally. Lots of guests leave things behind (through forgetting, or because they can’t take it with them on flights, etc) or they can’t buy small enough quantities of food, laundry powder etc for themselves, so they leave the rest for me.
Rarely, though, my Airbnb guests will give me things purely because they want to, rather than because they would go to waste otherwise. For example, most of the items above - the power board was to replace a broken one I had, and the soup because my guest noticed it was Swedish and remembered I will be visiting Sweden in July. Another guest bought me dinner on Friday night simply because I gave her a lift to the local shopping centre.
I have to admit, before I started hosting people, I too had this perception of tourists as broke, opportunistic thieves and that’s exactly what most people are curious about when I first tell them about Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Yet, I’ve now hosted over 140 people and not one thing has been stolen.
My current guest had some issues with damaged luggage and delayed flights. He wrote to the airline in German, and they sent him some superfluous, template English response that he had trouble making sense of.
But I bet they weren’t expecting me, native English speaker and four-time successful Consumer Affairs complainant, to write a reply for him. If he doesn’t get at least some reimbursement out of that, I’ll be most upset!
Some of my guests this week were a young German & Italian couple. After asking them about language barriers, they revealed that they are fluent in each other’s languages, and that they communicate almost equally in German and Italian. I expected German to be the dominant language, but there you go. They’ve also tried living in each other’s hometowns before deciding where to they’d both like to settle.
I just wanted to mention this here because I thought the effort they’d gone to to appreciate/adopt each other’s language and culture was really cool and unique! It certainly made me smile :)
New earrings from Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/95444032/1-pair2-super-mario-brothers-red
This! Oh my god, this! All my Facebook feed frustrations in a single article!