I’ve been in Darwin for one dry season and four wet seasons, maybe even five. This is my second experience of the top end’s dry season. That’s another thing I’d forgotten – how lovely the weather is up here during the dry. Every day is clear and blue with a bell-like quality to the light. In the mornings and evenings, a gentle sea breeze moves through the town. The temperature stays constantly from 18 at night to 31 during the day. And because the rains only stopped coming a month or so ago, the land is still green, far greener than drought stricken Melbourne.
The hotel I’m staying in is one of the older ones in town. Looking at the thinly walled-up adjoining door between my room and the next, it is clear that the building used to house small apartments that have since been subdivided into rather pokey hotel rooms. Like all older buildings, it is built to catch the cross breeze with windows and doors on opposite walls and deep balconies cum walkways along each side. The first place I stayed in in Darwin was in just such an apartment block, now unfortunately long demolished to make way for a more modern airconditioned building.
This area of town I’m in however has not quite caught up yet. With its small cluster of rusty tin roof shops, its crumbling sidewalks and cheap garishly lit 24 hour food stalls, it looks like any small south east asian tropical town with a struggling economy.
And it fills me with nostalgia.