Sunday, July 17, 2011

Synchronicity and Fireworks in Darwin

We've been in Darwin for a couple of weeks now and it has passed by in a blur of boat work, sight-seeing, shopping and socialising. The Northern Territory is a pretty unique place. I think it's the most different to all other areas of Australia we've visited. A nice segue into Asia. The seasons here are extreme - the bus timetable even has a disclaimer that the times may be affected by the weather! Right now is the best season to visit - the dry. It doesn't rain and every day the temperature reaches up to 32 degrees. Nice. Every afternoon we are blessed with a picturesque sunset that belongs on a postcard. We are so used to seeing such amazing sunsets every day that it was a shock when we went to the local night markets at Mindil Beach. Hundreds of people were gathering on the sand and we wandered down to see what all the fuss was about.. Rene thought that maybe there was someone famous about to perform. Instead, everyone was there just to witness (and photograph) the long, golden sunset that Darwin is famous for and which we take for granted. 
Mindil Beach sunset
Yacht club sunset. Anima is anchored in this bay.

This place is very relaxed. Much more so than the over-regulated Queensland we're used to. Apparently, it is legal for locals to drink as much as they want while out on the water, to grow marijuana and (once a year) buy and set off fireworks!! We witnessed the spectacle of Northern Territory Day which is celebrated by everyone setting off fireworks from about 4pm (why some people set off fireworks in the day time eludes me) until well after midnight. Anchored in Fannie Bay, we had the best view of these crazy fireworks – the most impressive of which were the official ones which were absolutely MASSIVE. The biggest we've ever seen.
All-night fireworks to celebrate Northern Territory Day!!

Dressing up in Darwin means putting on your best pair of thongs and boardies. The busses here are $2 and for the most part, the locals are friendly. The tides here are big – up to 7 metres during Spring tides (twice a month when the moon is either full or new). These big tides make for some long hauls up and down the beach with our dinghy.
We met up with our friends Brent and Jean-Anne from the catamaran Eyelandtime (who we bonded with during and after cyclone Yasi earlier this year in Townsville). They live here and kindly lent us on of their cars (a zippy 4WD!!) for a week. This was fantastic! Being able to drive around really opens up a city and its surrounds in a way that public transport can't. Using the car, we were able to buy all the parts, spares and food that we needed. We also were able to show our sister-in-law, Chihiro, a good time while she visited. More on that later. 
Offloading our shopping from the 4WD to the dinghy.
We've noticed that while travelling, synchronicity is much more prevalent. I don't know why though we have some theories. An example of such synchronicity is this: on our way back to Ani one evening, Rene voiced his desire to meet other young cruisers like ourselves (the majority of yachties these days are 50++ in age). In particular, Rene wished to meet young cruisers who were into music, jamming and computers. The very next day while I was trying out the local yoga studio (Iyengar yoga - more on that below), Rene waited for me at the yacht club with his laptop. Two other guys were also at the club with their laptops and they got chatting. Ben and Hannes from Germany are living on board their 34 foot sloop, Marianne and were travelling musicians! We all became friends and Rene in particular enjoyed their company as he got to jam, talk music, boats and all sorts of crazy ideas with people who shared similar passions. Our new German friends sadly set out for Bali only 2 weeks after we met. We hope to meet them again but doubt we'll catch up to them by sea as they're sailing all the way home during the next 18 months. 
German muso's preparing to set sail.
Another example of synchronicity (or maybe even the "law of attraction") is that I longingly looked at the pictures of kayaks that I have stuck on the wall yesterday morning. I thought to myself that I really did wish for a kayak but that I couldn't afford to buy one just yet. Two hours later, we were returning from the local markets and right next to our dinghy on the ramp was an inflatable kayak with a sign saying 'Free To A Good Home'. Wow. These two examples are the most blog-worthy but there are many further examples of this occurring – things we talk or think about happening within hours of us having spoken or thought it. Thank you universe for listening to us!

Rene discovered a Wing Chun club that was very welcoming of travelling students and shares a similar lineage to his club in Brisbane. He welcomed the opportunity to link arms with others who had a righteous Wing Chun attitude and good technique. It has provided him with inspiration to be more relaxed and fluid. There is no Ashtanga Yoga studio here so I tried out the only alternative - Iyengar Yoga. I decided pretty quickly that it in't for me – it's far too slow and reliant upon props. I miss my teacher, Allison, and the lovely studio and people in Townsville. Strange that I can feel homesick for a place we only lived in for 6 months! I'm hoping to find some quality teachers and schools of Ashtanga in Bali to reinvigorate my practice. 

We have had the last of our inoculations here (this time Cholera in the form of a drink) and have stocked up on anti-malaria meds and so many other medicines. 

We're ready!
BUSTED!!! Pop-corn addict in the act!! 

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