had no plans when I got into the small town, so I just walked into the first hostel I saw to see about a room. Booked. Okay, on to the next. Booked again. And the next, booked again. Okay, now I was getting
worried. Maybe I made a mistake not booking a place ahead of time. Just as I started to think I may be spending my first night on the street, I walked into the YHA and they had one space left in a female dorm...for $36! What!? In Asia I was paying no more then $15 for a private room, in most cases in a pretty nice home stay or B&B. If I was staying in a dorm I paid much less, so a $36 price tag was a bit of a shock. I knew it would be more expensive here, but damn! Once I regained my composure I booked a night and began feverishly contacting whoever I had been talking to on couchsurfers to see if I couldn't find a couch the following night. Unfortunately, one guy who I thought was promising stopped responding to me, a couple of others already had surfers, and another didn't get back to me until the day I was leaving Darwin. Oh well. So after a second scare where YHA said they had no availability for me to rebook, but then had a last minute cancellation just as I was ready to checkout, I decided to just book my entire Darwin stay with them.
The city of Darwin is really quaint and easy to navigate. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other so nothing is really very far away. On the opposite side of town from where I was staying there is an area called the Waterfront. You walk through a little historic area to get to it and it is almost like a modern resort area. Lots of grassy space for subathing or picnicking, a small man-made beach, and a massive wave pool that costs $5 to get into on the left and restaurants and small shops to the right. It's a nice area to spend a relaxing afternoon. While I was there they had a music festival going on with music and dancing performances through the weekend.
Besides the crocs there were other fish and reptiles. \one of my favourites was a fish that would spit water for its food. It is actually a natural instint for the fish, which in the wild would spit at insects flying above the water. When the insects fall, dinner is served. It was amazing to see how accurate they were. I also got to hold an olive python, a blue tounged lizzard, and some other spikey lizzard. At 5 o'clock, besides it being nearly closing time, the only other thing that dragged me away was the Mindil Beach and its famous sunset market.
There was a wide range of crafts at the market, but by far the most interesting were the aboriginal art pieces. I fell in love with this art the moment I saw it, simple dot work that creates beautiful, colorful and meaningful
images. I couldn't help myself, and splurged on a piece for myself.
I think the best part of the experience was a performance by a ridiculous didgeridoo player. He had something like 5 didgeridoos in front of him and was just making the most fantastic sound I have ever heard. It sounded like a DJ was scratching a didgeridoo record, and he was accompanied by a full set of rock and roll drums. When some aboriginal women started dancing to the beat it just completed the scene. Check out the video below.
I spent 7 wonderful days in Darwin all together and had some pretty interesting experiences, but I'll save those for another post, so stay tuned!