On the Road
About Me (2)
* The West Coast
* The South-West
* Panic Stations
* Seoul: Lantern City
* The DMZ
* Seoul: Spring Has Sprung
* Sakhalin: Dolinsk
* Sakhalin: Kholmsk
* Sakhalin: Korsakov
* Sakhalin: Feet Don't Fail Me Now!
* Sakhalin: Snowstorm!
* Sakhalin: Easter
* Sakhalin: Skiing
* Sakhalin: Festival of Spring
* Sakhalin: Ice-Fishing
* Sakhalin: Ice-Cream
June 04, 2005
Not the Galapagos Islands, Rob.
I continued to mong in Darwin, lying around on the beach and Bicentennial Park, reading and generally doing very little. I loved it! I have a high boredom threshold and an astonishingly large capacity for doing nothing at all. I relaxed from the pressures of all that high-powered and intense sitting around in cafes and buses. Oh, the stress of it all!
The hostels in Darwin were not so great, especially after where we'd stayed in Broome. The first place I went to was cramped and dirty, so I moved somewhere else, which was even worse. There is a huge shiny new hostel on Mitchell Street, which was tempting, but it felt a bit like selling out - going to a Novotel or McDonalds - so I stayed in the small place. I'm not very consistent or logical with my principles, but I decided to follow through this time.
I went to the Mindil Beach night market, where there are lots of little stalls selling Aboriginal art, food, jewellery and the usual windchimes and hemp hats. There are poi performances and didgeridoo concerts, and the atmosphere is great. Being a politics geek, I went to the weekly tour of the State Parliament, which was interesting because of the Northern Territory's unique situation as a self-governing state. It was all very modern, as is much of Darwin since it has been destroyed twice - by Japanese bombers in World War II and by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The Northern Territory coat of arms features a Wedgetail Eagle (which have furry pantaloon legs) and a couple of fierce looking kangaroos clutching shells (though the conch looks a bit like a knuckle duster to me).
I walked down along Mindil Beach to the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, which unexpectedly had an Andy Warhol exhibition. There were lots of stuffed animals, including Sweetheart, a crocodile that used to terrorise boats (apparently the outboard motors sounded to him like another male crocodile on his territory). There was a large display of all the creatures that can kill you here, including really innocent looking things like a pretty cone shell and a sweet dinky little octopus. You could peer at box jellyfish in tubes - it was hard to believe that something so small and clear could cause such agony. There are warnings on the beaches here, though the stingers are no longer abundant since it's the dry season.
There was a large area devoted to Cyclone Tracy and the after effects. You walked through a 1974 style sitting room decorated for Christmas Eve and then into a tiny black room to listen to a recording of the 270 kph winds and the corrugated iron torn from buildings and other debris smacking against houses and trees. Then you emerged and saw the pictures of the devastation they faced on that Christmas morning. There were eyewitness accounts and copies of newspapers. They evacuated almost everyone and there was some doubt over whether Darwin would recover at all. It brought home to you the amazing ability of people to pick themselves up, rebuild and carry on, even after such terrible tragedies.
I watched the sunset on the way back into town and then went to the theatre, where they performed three plays by local playwrights. Two of them were set on caravanning holidays - something Australians seem to hold dear to their hearts. I can see the attraction of travelling around with a campervan or caravan, but the idea of going to one caravan park every year and staying there for weeks leaves me cold. At the campsite we stayed in next to Eighty Mile Beach, there were people with tellys and little gardens set up. Why leave home? Granted, we were next to the beach, but no one seemed to leave their little plots except to traipse to the toilet block or the neighbours'. It would be so claustrophobic, like a cruise ship, where you could never get away from anyone. In one of the plays, a woman murdered her husband, and I don't want to draw any conclusions, but there you go.
The previous night, I'd been to another deckchair cinema, to see Napoleon Dynamite, a really funny film about a small town family from Idaho. An animal ambled up the aisle during the film and it looked like a very large rat - could have been a possum or maybe even a bilby? Or possibly just a ginormous rat?
Posted by Rowena on June 4, 2005 04:17 AM
Email this page