Friday, November 12, 2010

The great "build-up"

We thought we were clever just jumping in the car on the first of August and heading straight North, see where the road takes us. well, if you head straight North from Victoria, there is pretty well only one road, the Stuart Highway, and that takes you all the way to Darwin.
Arrive in Darwin anytime between September and December and territorians will say : OOh! This is no time to be in Darwin, not during the build-up.
Build-up to what? Well, to the wet which in Darwin, is pretty well the full monsoon. The region around Darwin/Kakadu gets actually bigger monsoon rain than most of india, with some locations getting their whole yearly rainfall in one single episode (which can take up to 100 days). Kakadu experiences more electrical storms than any other places on earth. And did I mention the cyclones? But all this happens during the " proper wet", more or less between Christmas and Easter. There is a 3/4 run-up to this, the afore mentioned "build-up". The locals say it gets hotter, it does not, the max. temp. stays pretty well around 33, as per usual, but it feels hotter because of the incredible humidity.
Almost every afternoon, we southeners are fooled into expecting a deluge, with incredibly spectacular clouds and rolling thunder. Sometimes the heavens do open, the temperature drops a few degrees for a few minutes or even hours, the humidity eases a little, and thousands of frogs (gorgeous bright green things) start croaking. More often, we just get a few drops, just enough to create a little more humidity and turn the whole place into a sauna.
But really, all of this we could come to term with, with help from air-con, ceiling fans, appropriate clothing (we look into the suitcases under the bed and wonder : shall we ever need warm clothing again? Can anywhere be cold enough to justify a jumper?). Well, what are we whinging about then? The bane of our life : mozzies! Everywhere, all the time, up our nostrils, in our ears, up our shorts, following us up and down as we swim laps, trying to land on the one bit of skin that sticks out of the water. We are likely to share a pool with our landlady as the sea is out of bounds because of the small matter of crocs, box jellyfish, bluering octopuss, and the odd shark, although most sharks are frightened away by the crocs. We have found a locally made spray that does seem to deter the mozz, but it actually melts the rubber in our thongs, should we really be applying this to our skin? And this is why, on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon like today, we sit with doors and windows tightly closed, David playing his guitar, both lf us devouring more books than ever, preparing to run to the car and catch a film into an hopefully mozz free cinema.
We love the deckchair cinema, an open air cinema where you do sit in deckchairs, right next to the beach (that sunset photo with the boat, that the view you get from your seat, just before the film starts). But the necessity to either plaster yourself in toxic mozz repellent or covering up every bit of skin and cook in the tropical heat, or both, rather takes the shine out of the experience.
But we are still having fun, we wanted to experience something different, and our wish as sure been granted.

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