Heading down the Stuart Highway, the clouds loom ominously, while the sun beats mercilessly upon the white, bitumen road. It’s 1:59 PM.
The kids are either sleeping or watching DVDs in the back seats. Music emanates gently from the front speakers, and Boatman tries again to clean the windscreen which is littered with the carcasses of a thousand tiny bugs.
We are about 440 km’s south of Darwin, 1000kms north of Alice Springs, and nearing the turn off for Boroloola.
An irony which plays on my mind, cause had things gone differently, Boatman would have been headed that way today, back out to Bing Bong.
Instead, we start the journey south to Port Lincoln, tired and weary after an epic ten days of packing and cleaning. I’m exhausted in every way.
The road through this part of the country is oddly familiar. I’ve said it before, but once you do this trip enough times you rely less on the road side signs, and more on the bush to tell you where you are. This part of the world is flat and dense, and beautifully green. The spear grass is just starting to head, and if I was at home I would be excited. Those first signs of brown seeds are the herald for the dry season. In just a few months the humidity will disappear, and the temperature will drop to a perfect 16-28 degrees. I would be able to look out the car window while driving and know the dry had arrived. The air is just clearer somehow.
I’ve lived in Darwin for almost 31 years; in other words, my entire life. I’m a true local. I’m allowed to complain about the heat, while also brag about loving the humidity; true locals will tell you it’s so much better than the dry heat.
I’m allowed to sneer at any iced coffee that’s not Paul’s even if it is made with powdered milk.
I can make singlets and shorts work for pretty much any occasion. I have every day thongs and dress thongs. I think nothing of seeing people in Coles barefoot, with nothing but a sarong on, carrying a carton of beer.
I don’t own an umbrella. Or a rain coat. I just run as quick as I can in my double pluggers, and hope for the best. I don’t change my clothes when I’m wet; they will dry soon enough. I know that there is a difference in rain temperature, and the worst is when you walk out of the shops and the hot rain hits the boiling pavement and evaporates instantly, creating a sweat bath. It’s the pits and I know it sounds like the worst thing ever, but I know that I can complain about it and you can’t.
Unless you’re a true local. 😉
I’m not fazed by cockroaches. They will never truly be gone and they don’t hurt me. It’s just part of living in the tropics.
I know all the problems with my home town: the humidity that destroys everything, the advancing cain toads, the constant goodbyes from an ever-changing population, the ridiculously high cost of living and the crocs that threaten to take over all the good camping spots.
But I also know all the beautiful things about it too. The way the rain can make everything feel better, the thrill of a massive electrical storm, the people who are wonderfully laid back and so beautifully care-free; the sunset over Mindil Beach.
The ability to go swimming at any time of the year.
The school that my kids and I went to, and made so many wonderful memories at.
And again, the people. All the beautiful people I’ve had the privilege of calling friends over the years.
Fare thee well Darwin.
Be seeing ya soon.