Friday, May 23, 2008

Darwin II

It is, no doubt, obvious what happens when I spend a week between doing something and writing about it. The details drop out and the writing becomes terse. I resort to lists.

So, here goes.

Friday in Darwin:

1. Walking tour of Darwin hitting most of the high points downtown as indicated by the local guide book. The history of Darwin seems primarily defined by destruction. First, Darwin was attacked by the Japanese during WWII ala Pearl Harbour. Then, on Christmas Day 1974 Cyclone Tracy flattened the city. So, there aren't much in the way of "old" buildings remaining. There is still at least one WWII oil storage tunnel remaining- but we arrived too late to walk through it.

2. Lunch (Fish and Chips) at Stokes Hill Wharf. More history of the bombings during WWII. I found it interesting that in the 60's or 70's it was a Japanese company that did the salvage work on ships sunk in the harbor. Very clever business people, those Japanese. No doubt, part of the motivation to sink those ships was to later get paid to retrieve them.

3. Indo-pacific Marine- the self described most interesting attraction in Darwin. Forty years ago the founder of this organization (and our guide's wife) created a closed ecosystem that mirrors the reef off the shore of Darwin. It is a large (room sized) pool about 3 feet deep in which live various coral, fish, crabs, (etc) and importantly plankton. It is all fed or supported by sunlight. Only. The water volume is maintained by additions of rain water. There is no filtration. Everything that is born in the pool lives in the pool. Everything that dies in the pool is consumed by the pool. It was very cool. Unfortunately, they do not allow cameras. ???

4. The best part, in my opinion however, was the wall across from McDonald's (where we had breakfast). The building is on a corner and both road exposures are covered with street art. You know I am a sucker for that.

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