Monday, January 23, 2006

top of the morning to you, darwin!

somehow, that's what went through my mind as we were coming in to land in darwin this morning at 5am.

i flew with tiger air, and that didn't start off too well. they couldn't find me in the system, because somehow my ticket was still pending even though my credit card had been charged. they sent me around the terminal instead of dealing with it right there. and i had to put up with stupid requests and had to argue my way out of them emailing my cc# to the head office to fix the situation, which they might still do regardless. they didn't really seem to care about spreading my personal information around... the flight itself though was alright, although it was a bumpy ride. i was sitting beside a friendly australian from who chatted me up the entire flight, which was nice but a little annoying because it meant another sleepless night for me. but he has offered to take me around darwin, and i might take him up on it tomorrow. see what the top of the northern territory is all about!

going through customs was weird. the custom officials actually say g'day and are quite friendly but i have never been through so much interrogating before. they do it well though, unlike the in the usa. here, they make it seem more like a friendly conversation and less of a drill.

so, i am now in australia! a new continent, and country #9 on this trip. i have also thus crossed the equator for the first time ever, which is really cool!

darwin, though, isn't so great... i'm quite disappointed! i'm here during the wet, aka cyclone season and the whole town has this ghost town feel to it. i went for a stroll around the esplanade and i saw hardly anyone. the warf, which i thought would be great wasn't. it was also empty, apart from a few ships and fishermen. all the stores and restaurants were closed! and as you walk around town, lots of stores are empty, for sale or closed... very bizarre. and even the staff around the yha where i'm staying isn't friendly... but, i did walk buy one guy who greeted me as "sweetness" as we passed each other. it felt just as weird as the southern american hat tipping accompanied with a "mam" custom.

i was warned about darwin being really hot but it's not the heat that's a killer, it's the humidity. the heat i am used to, it's about the same as it was everywhere else. but the humidity! it's insane. like one big sauna! another annoyance are the flies, another thing i was told to watch out for. in asia, there are hardly any flies, and they never bug you. but here, they are pest and they just love to land on your face, with a particular liking for the eyes. very, very annoying!

i started to look around to go visit a few national parks around here and then start making my way down to broome. the prices though are insane! tours are crazy expensive and i saw 1 bus ride to broome for $300!!! madness. lucky for me, a lot of tours are shut down because of the wet and so it forces me to ignore places and save my cash!

i miss asia! where everything was easy, cheap and friendly...


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