from waterfalls to pub crawls.

some people procrastinate by watching tv, some by eating, some by surfing the web. although i do all of those, my big one is cleaning. i organize and scrub the entire house (slight exaggeration) before sitting down to do work. before sitting down to write.

so as i type this, please be forewarned that i am completely high on a weird mixture of ajax, vinegar, laundry detergent, and toilet bowl cleaner. the computer screen is a bit fuzzy, and my head is mildly throbbing. i want to open a window, but it is hot and humid outside. probably not helpful.

but on the upside, my chemical inhalation mixed with the broadway musical channel currently playing on pandora might make for an interesting blog post.

i am still so behind and falling even more behind each day. so i am just going to dig in.

dig into to darwin. (the green pin labeled G.)

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we drove a bit out of the way (632km or 393mi to be exact) to visit darwin, but boy was it a relief. after days in the car cruising through barren outback, high-rise condo buildings were a welcome sight.

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but before i jump into how excited i was to sleep in an air conditioned bedroom on a real mattress,  let me tell you about a magical place called litchfield national park. about 1,500 sq. km. of gumtrees,  termite mounds, waterfalls, and plunge pools.

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if you ever find yourself in the northern territory, you should add this place to your list. although the crocodile warning signs do make you a bit jumping when you dive into murky water…

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litchfield highlights:

  • magnetic termite mounds. these termite mounds are built by thousands of termites with a north-south orientation to control the temperature inside the mounds. they just know which way is north. i wish i had that great of an internal compass. they cover the field like massive gravestones thin as pancakes.

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  • cathedral termite mounds. these things are huge! and they’re built by things that are sooo small. ridiculous.

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  • buley rockhole. florence falls. tolmer falls. (photos in that order.) if you like waterfalls and feeling like a mermaid, this is the park for you. (little mermaid’s “kiss the girl” just came on pandora, i shit you not.) of course we ignored the signs telling us not to climb the cliffs. nothing like jumping through a waterfall with a grin bigger than the crescent moon.

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  • wangi falls. so many bats sleeping in trees! (yes, that is what the black things are in the photo below.) the water was closed due to possible alligator and croc infestation (standard), but still a great spot to smile and ask fellow tourists to snap a photo. oh, and wear really awesome movie star hats to prevent skin cancer.

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now, back to that excitement about skyscrapers…

darwin is growing. evolving if you will. (i had to, i’m sorry. must be the chemicals.)

a little back history for you courtesy of wikipedia:

“Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin is the more populated of the two cities in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, with a population of 129,062. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End’s regional centre. Darwin has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia’s most modern cities.”

and as we unloaded our bags into the guest bedroom of one of ryan’s mates, i was glad to be back in a city. a growing city.

as much as i love nature and small towns, there is just something about the energy of a city that makes my insides flutter. it doesn’t even have to be a big city. just a place trying to be a city is fine. the energy is still there.

and what could you possibly want after a day filled with all the nature australia’s northern territory has to offer? all you can eat steak and seafood on the darwin wharf? oh sure, why not.

darwin’s wharf is cute. sort of reminds me of the boardwalk in santa cruz. it’s complete with breathtaking views of the sunset and massive ships carrying who-knows-what off into the horizon.

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after an endless flow of seafood and steak and conversation, it was time to call it a night and enjoy our free five star accommodations.

rise and shine and get ready to take in all darwin has to offer. after being told that the jumping croc tour boats were shut down for the rainy season, we headed to explore east point reserve and downtown.

darwin highlights:

  • strolling around the tide pools on the shore of east point reserve.

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  • learning tons of history about australia and darwin’s role in world war II. even crawling into an old lookout bunker. dad, you would love this place. there’s even a military museum! for your education, another wikipedia theft: 

“Around 10,000 Allied troops arrived in Darwin in the early 1940s at the outset of World War II, in order to defend Australia’s northern coastline. On 19 February 1942 at 0957, 188 Japanese warplanes attacked Darwin in two waves. It was the same fleet that had bombed Pearl Harbor, though a considerably larger number of bombs were dropped on Darwin than on Pearl Harbor. The attack killed at least 243 people and caused immense damage to the town. These were by far the most serious attacks on Australia in time of war, in terms of fatalities and damage. They were the first of many raids on Darwin.”

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  • crocosauras cove. as much as i want to see a croc in the wild, i of course never actually want to see a croc in the wild. so i settled for second best: visiting a reptile and crocodile aquarium smack dab in the middle of downtown darwin complete with deadly (and non-deadly) snakes, too many kids of goannas, some stingrays, fish that spit at you, and five full grown crocodiles. and who knew feeding baby crocs could be so much fun? it’s like taunting a dog with a bone… (a dog that could rip you to pieces instantly.)

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  • meeting up with friends for chicken parmi (not beef, never order beef parmi) and a pub crawl down the main drag. like any good pub crawl, the night ended up with me dancing and singing to a live band playing mainly covers of popular american tunes. if only it was tuesday, i could have made my australian karaoke debut…

next time darwin, next time…

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