Friday, May 23, 2008

End of Darwin


We began the day by grabbing what we thought would be a fabulous breakfast at the Duck's Nuts Restaurant up the street. So did half a million Lions. (The Lion's are in town. That is why we had a bit of a challenge finding a room.) The good folks at Duck's Nuts are not prepared to cope with people sitting at most of their tables AND ordering food! It was a long, long, long wait and Ann was getting antsy and grumpy.

After lunch we spent the day wandering through the city, again. This time-

The Botanic Garden

The Museum of the Northern Territory

Mindil Beach

Doctor's Gully

The Botanic Garden was very nice- as most of the gardens are in the capital cities of Australia. I particularly enjoyed the children's garden with its fabulous tree house. We climbed all the way to the top- but only Kevin slid down the slide at the end. He posited that adult pants are not as slippery as kids pants. I wonder.

The Museum of the NT does not allow photography of their art exhibits. But, that's OK. We were more interested in the natural history part of the museum. Once again we were confronted with the fact that "nature" in Australia- particularly the NT- is trying to kill you. First and once again- cyclone Tracy. Two rooms of photos and recorded remembrances of destruction. In one large closet you can experience (something like) the sound of a cyclone. Horrifying. Haunting.

Then, there is a taxidermied (my own verb, incidentally), 17 foot, 1700 pound crocodile, Sweetheart. He was accidentally killed while capturing him for relocation. They didn't like the way he was putting teeth holes into the boats of fishermen.

Finally, and what I really wanted to see, there were mounted box jelly fish and blue ringed octopus (which wikipedia tells me is one of the most venomous animals on the planet!) My camera kept insisting that the photos of the jelly fish- which can kill a child, put a woman in the hospital for 2 weeks and a man in for 3 days...and you can't stop the screaming!!!!!! - was inadequate ("Hey man, your photo sucks. Where'd you learn to focus? Hold the damn camera still, will ya?" Don't buy a camera from NYC. Attitude.) So, I didn't try to photograph the octopus which is only the size of a golf ball! but, is still capable of killing 26 people within minutes!!!!!

Kevin wants to point out that I am the sick one.

We took the shore walk to Mindil Beach where they were setting up for the Sunday Market. It was still about 90 minutes away- so we just ducked into the Casino to remind ourselves that we aren't interested in gambling- and walked on to Doctor's Gully for "Aquascene"!

I would be remiss here if I failed to mention that all through this afternoon's walk I am constantly asking Kevin to look at my skin. I am convinced I am burning...but I arrive back in Brisbane unscathed.

Aquascene! for the last 50 years people have been coming down to the dock at Doctor's Gully at high tide to feed bread to fish. That's right. They are rather big fish- as you might imagine. The crowd on Sunday was primarily composed of milk fish, cat fish, and mullet. I hope the photos convey some of the ravenous enthusiasm of the fish.

Finally, we ended the evening at Darwin's Deck Chair Cinema watching "Sweeney Todd" under the stars. It was fun- even though I had to watch it one eyed as I'd lost the screw from my left lens while waiting to be served at the snack bar before the film. Ugh. Interestingly, the feeling of immersion you get watching a big screen doesn't happen when you close one eye. The experience feels more like watching a picture of the movie screen. I was always aware of the borders of the screen and the trees and sky surrounding it. Oh, and the possum who was bopping through the rows inspecting every one's packages for food with which it could abscond.

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