Ban's hosted a big party this evening, which they held on the beach in front of their bar-slash-restaurant. They put on a wicked show: live DJ; cheap drinks; and an awesome display of fire juggling. Alex and I were pretty exhausted from today's diving, but we somehow managed to stay up for a fair bit of the party. As well as the juggling, they also doused a large hoola-hoop in petrol, and ignited it to form a ring of fire: then, they tied it up in the air, and they invited anyone and everyone to try their luck at jumping through it. Check out the video.
It seems that Jake and Mitch, Kitzbühel's favourite two Aussie boys, never cease to entertain. The "red card black card" trick looks simple, but leaves you in awe. The way it works is as follows: the trickster deals the entire deck face-down into two piles, and picks a volunteer. Each time that the trickster deals a card, the volunteer says either "red" or "black"; and the card gets accordingly dealt to one of the two piles — the "red" pile, or the "black" pile. Exactly halfway through the deck, the two piles are swapped — i.e. all "red" cards now get dealt to the black pile, and vice versa. Through the entire dealing process, neither the trickster nor the volunteer sees any of the cards: the calling out of "red" or "black" is a completely random choice, decided each time by the volunteer. At the end, the trickster turns over and fans out both piles: and unbelievably, they're both exactly half-red (all together) and half-black! Check out the video.
Hammerschlagen is a game with a simple set of rules, and a very difficult gameplay. In this centuries-old German / Austrian social game, you have a tree stump (with its surface flattened and smoothed), you have a hammer, and you have a bunch of nails. Each player takes a nail, and hammers their nail a few millimetres into the stump. Then — using only the thin, axe-like side of the hammer — each player in turn attempts to whack their nail all the way in. For this evening's après-ski in Kitzbühel, we kicked off the night with a visit to Chizzo (an outdoor bar in the main street of town), where they have a Hammerschlagen area set up. Jake and Mitch introduced the rest of us to the game: here in Kitzbühel, the rule is that the loser (the last person to hammer their nail in) shouts a shot of Jäger to everyone else who played. Check out the video.
Today was goodbye to Salzburg, goodbye to Yoho, and goodbye to some very good friends. But it was not goodbye to Craig, Sarah and Kade: because they too said goodbye to all this; and together, us four Aussies hopped on the train to Kitzbühel. Destination: winter wonderland, Austrian Alps. Mission: have a white Christmas, spend a week carving up the mountains, and engage in some serious après-ski. All that stood in our way: a mere 2-hour train ride. Easily tackled.
Mr. Miller is an 84-year-old, Polish-born Munich local, who shamelessly (but not regrettably) interrupted our tour of Munich today in the Marienplatz. He staggered up to Ozzie, totally wasted on Glühwein (waving his Glühwein mug around); and wouldn't leave us alone until he'd told us his life story (at times, in surprisingly passable English), and sung us a few songs in G-d knows what language. You gotta see it to believe it: so check out the video below.
When uncle Mark and I visited the Tinguely museum in Basel today, we saw some extraordinary mechanical artwork in action. The largest of Tinguely's machines, in particular, was quite a sight to behold. Check out the video.
The highlight of today's visit to the Itaipu dam, was seeing one of the colossal hydroelectric turbines in action, spinning around at the bottom of the inner dam wall, generating billions of watts of energy right in front of our eyes. Check out the video.
Following the awesome speedboat ride, most of the day today at Iguazu Falls was spent wandering around the catwalks, and taking in the up-close views of the many minor falls that make up the national park. The six of us saw falls big and small, fat and thin, long and short. Plus, plenty of cool animals, and a great little train ride across the park. The catwalk system is very extensive, and quite impressive: you can walk right up to the edge of many of the falls, over numerous bits of water. Photos and video below.
The sweetest thing that we did today, at the spectacular Iguazu Falls, was go on a speedboat ride up the river. We started a few k's downstream, and then powered up the water at ridiculous speeds, before we came close to some of the waterfalls. Then, it was time to get very wet, because the boat drove almost diretly beneath some of the falls! I tell you what: that certainly woke me up for the day :P. Great little adventure, and the drivers are utterly nuts. Fortunately, they also give you dry-bags to put your camera and other personal items in, so nothing gets damaged (but your clothes still get soaked). Photos and videos below.
If there's a better, a quicker, a crazier, or a more unbelievably fun way to get down a mountain, I'd be very surprised. From the summit of Volcán Villarrica this afternoon, it was back down the mountain feet first, on our bums! Nuh-uh, I ain't kidding: we put on our "nappies" (a protective kind of harness that we strapped around our waists and backsides), we sat on the steep and snowy slopes, and down we hurtled. Sure as hell beats walking all the way back down, and is arguably more fun even than skiing it! Check out a video of us going down.