So, I went to Darwin. Darwin is well-known in Australia for being very hot, for having once been destroyed in a horrific cyclone, and for being full of two kinds of people: blue-collar construction workers who hang out in pubs, and hippies in organic hemp fibres who hang out on beaches.
I am a big hippie. I know this may come as a shock to those of you who did not notice my flowing harem pants and preference for freshly-squeezed juices, but I am a huge, hairy-armpitted hippie, who uses cloths instead of paper towels, and bicycles to save the environment and also because I like it. Also, I don't shave my armpits because I kept forgetting to do it, not out of some kind of personal statement. But I do have baggy harem pants.
So I fit right in in Darwin.
Me being a hippie with orange hair, walking barefoot on the beach. Those ripples in the water were caused by the Grateful Dead.
I went to Darwin on a whim. I wanted to see some more of Australia, and I liked the tropical part the last time I was there, and I had a free weekend, and the tickets were on sale. It was pretty awesome. Then I stepped out of the airport and immediately sweated through everything I was wearing, including my shoes and my hair. Darwin is not really that hot (only about 35 degrees Celsius year-round), but since it's in the Tropic of Capricorn or something, it has approximately 104% humidity at all times. So it's hot, but at least it's a WET heat.
This is another thing Australians known about Darwin: you need lots of changes of clothes, because you will make them all smelly and dripping within seconds. After awhile, I didn't really care, because everyone was sweaty. Except for us women: we gleam. Plus, since there's no water restrictions, you can have as many showers as you like, so where's the down side?
I'll tell you what the down side is: estuarine crocodiles.
Estuarine, or "saltwater", crocodiles are the largest and most grumpy of the crocodilian family. They're like Kodiak bears in northern Canada: they see you and run right up and rip your arm off and eat it while laughing at you running around spurting blood, and then they kick you in the stump. Except with a crocodile, it looks more like heaving its 750kg mass onto the beach, chasing you down at the speed of a freight train, grabbing you in its massively strong jaws, and dragging you underwater so you peacefully drown while it punctures your kidneys.
Since they're saltwater crocodiles, they sometimes end up following the estuaries into the Arafura Sea, which borders on the beaches in Darwin. So that means you could technically be sunbathing in your bikini, and be interrupted by waddling, toothy death.
I didn't see any crocodiles, though, except for dead ones in the museum. Mostly, what I saw, was plates of snack food and the pages of whatever book I was currently reading, because, darn it, I went on vacation to go on vacation, not have one of those trips where you're basically jogging from site to site so you can take a picture and prove you were there.
I had a weird feeling of deja vu, actually, because Darwin was the first place I ever went in Australia, back in 2004, and, as it turns out, over the exact same weekend. I know this because I went to the Mindil Beach Markets, the fun beachside gathering of imported Indian clothing and musicians playing funky didgeridoos and Thai food in plastic containers, and they had fireworks. Turns out they only have fireworks on the first and last days of the market. But when I was at Mindil in 2004, they had fireworks too. So I managed to go to Darwin exactly six years after the first time I went. And the same musicians were playing at Mindil in exactly the same places, and I think the drummer I briefly flirted with last time was still playing the drums, only he looked older and more bearded.
I also went to the museum and spoke at a Rotary club and went to the Seabreeze music and art festival, and saw the world's whitest funk band. They called themselves an "all-white brotherhood" and wore ridiculous afro wigs and sparkly suits. One of their songs was called "Mr. Funkypants." That alone made the price of the ticket worthwhile.
The trip was a major success, not just because of Mr. Funkypants. I met some amazingly fun new people, and saw some gorgeous artwork. I enjoyed hot sun and the sound of waves, and picked up some shells off the beach (which I then promptly put down and most certainly did NOT take across state lines, NT police! Haha, hello!). I drifted. I finished a paper on the sexuality of people with severe mental illness.
You know, the usual vacation stuff.