Darwin was a misconception. My image of it was set like a scene from Miss Saigon. I don’t know why, but it’s nothing like Vietnam in the 60’s. I’m still trying to figure out what it’s like, so is the man himself. A town well named, survival of the fittest, after the bombings in WWII and Cyclone Tracey it’s been evolving ever since. The water mocks me, it’s crystalline sublime, without the chance of a big toe to penetrate it. Crocs and stingers own these waters. The NT flag flies proudly up here, it’s in the forefront followed by the Aboriginal flag, then a pallid blue, red and white.
Jake’s friend Dave flew up from Sydney to spend a few days with us, it was great to have a little extra company with us, to reenergise the camp. We took him across the bay to Mandorah, a gorgeous strip of beach looking back at Darwin. It had a pub and a pool all of which was going to be bulldozed in the next few weeks so we were lucky to share in it’s final days. We bustled around markets, slurped spicy laksa soup on a Saturday, fished off piers, swam in fresh waterholes and had lots of conversations that ran long distance into each other and back.
Darwin was expensive. We paid $50 to stay at a place that looked like a concentration camp. I got my money’s worth complaining about it. Another friend of Jake’s was staying down the road and the boys were off on a romantic sunset fishing trip. Hoping to reel in some mackerel and GT’s over a few too many beers and GT’s. Jake came back about 11pm with a stumble and a Golden Snapper. We BBQ’d it the next day with lemongrass, coriander and lime with Asian greens and rice on the side.
Darwin was fun. So many great free water parks for kids and big kids alike. But after 3 weeks we finally farewelled Darwin. We headed to Litchfield Park on a Sunday with what seemed like half of Darwin also.
Territory men can’t go anywhere without a beer in their hand. Not even swimming in a deep plunge pool, waterfall traversing down jagged rock faces. Not even on a viewing deck overlooking a vast plain of 1000’s of Termite mounds that look like lost cities or medieval cemeteries. Belching beer bellies crack another tinnie, click a photo, clack their belts in aircon comfort and off they go. Off to the next fresh water swimming hole only to lug down heavy eskies so they can chug down more coldies only to scatter the remains of the day bobbing in once beautiful spring fed surrounds. Sick of seeing so much of nature covered in rubbish. Mostly beer cans and cigarette butts which my little one then picks up.