In some parts of Australia there are only two seasons: the wet and the dry. People tell you this with that manly swagger common to fishermen and most Australians, at least those outside of the big cities. The subtext is that seasons are for puffs and sissies. Luckily for me I went in the dry because I don’t like rain. The dry is also when you can visit Mindil Markets.

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What was clear after only one day in Darwin is that they really need to visit other tropical places and work out when to do things. Even non puffs and non sissies would agree that the heat of the afternoon in Darwin prohibits most activity. I walked from the downtown to the park near Mindil, I nearly died. Unfortunately, Darwin was settled by Anglo-Saxons instead of people from the Romance countries of Southern Europe. As most people in Italy and Spain will tell you, in hot places the afternoon is for sleeping; the evening is for promenading and eating. My biggest disappointment in Darwin was that when the weather cooled in the evening there was nothing much to do because all the shops and many eateries were on the British and Irish style workday – opening at 9.00 and closing between 17.00 and 18.00. I suspect most colonial types feared these extreme climes, they probably wore their well ironed khakis around midday as a way with coping with homesickness or overcompensation for being sissies. After having spent time in both Spain and Italy I recommend their working day as being a Godsend in such a climate. I would rather wander around the shops in the evening and if you feel sorry for people who have to work late they can enjoy a three-hour lunch break. Maybe the giant and somewhat sinister bats who terrorize the streets after dusk are the reason everything closes.

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Overall, I was pleased with Darwin. Even a small city like Darwin seems like a cosmopolitan metropolis when compared the places you travel through to get there, if you are dumb enough to travel overland like myself. Tourism is a big factor here as Darwin is the gateway to some of Australia’s most interesting National Parks and its most authentic Aboriginal settlements. You may see Aboriginal people in some of the cities but it isn’t until you head up to the Northern Territories that you get the real experience. Nothing seems more natural in this part of the world than the strange vibrations of one of the world’s most ancient musical instruments – the didgeridoo. I was an avid fan of the ‘Bushtucker Man’ when I was a kid so I enjoyed every minute of my stay in the Northern Territories. The biggest highlight, hence the title of this post, was Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

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Firstly, there is a real beach and there is a real sunset, everything else is a bonus. I was a bit worried that it was one of those tie dye hippy kind of places where they deal tarot cards and talk about auras. I was happy that there was a real mix of people there and many forms of entertainment. One of the best experiences in Australia was watching the awesome eMDee didgeridoo band. I was tipped off about these guys by some Germans near Perth had forgotten to check them out. It was more by luck than design that I got to see them performing live. There were several pipes lined up and the speed went to what could almost be described as techno. I don’t know the exact beats per minute but it was fast and furious. There were some ‘genuine’ didgeridoo players squatting nearby but I think they were moved on by the police.

The other highlight of the markets was the Roadkill Cafe. I generally eat everything but I found my limit here. I felt my conscience looking at me coldly when I saw camel meat on the menu. This is simply because camels are my favourite animal. My dream since childhood has been to go through a desert on a camel. I was a little upset seeing camel meat next to croc, snake, and kangaroo. Actually, the roo is delicious! I guess I now understand why people don’t eat horses and dogs. I didn’t buy much at the market but I had a great feed and I watched the sunset over my sand laden flip-flops. I loved Mindil Beach Sunset Markets and felt like it was one of the most authentic and rewarding experiences in Australia.

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Comments
  1. Jayne says:

    Michael,

    Hope you’re well and had a good Christmas. Just one question about the blog…

    Why HAVEN’T you been through the desert on a camel?

    Jayne

    • Miike Green says:

      I have been on a camel in the desert, I just don’t have a very good picture. It was in Matmata, Tunisia. hahahahahaah

      • Jayne says:

        Phew! Glad to hear it… Have heard it’s tough going, but then Arabian Nights is my only reference point…

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