Family, a Home and Salsa

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Monday, March 4, 2013

4-6th Mar - Darwin

Our flight out of Singapore was at 10:40, landing at 4:30.  We got our timing a bit wrong thinking it was an 8 hour flight and we could get a good sleep, but instead it was only 4 and half hours, so we had very little sleep.  I could barely keep my eyes open whilst we were landing.  We somehow got through customs stupidly quickly, they didn't even scan our bags again and we just waltzed straight through whilst everyone else was being prodded and poked and interrogated!  We arrived at Barbara and Joao’s (my 2/3/one-removed something cousins!) at 6am and didn’t want to be too loud letting them know we were there!  We ended up standing at the door whispering, attempting to knock quietly for 10 minutes before we gave up and ran the bell!

The house is amazing.  It has an octagon atrium in the middle with all the room circling this central hub.  We later found out that in the middle there was once an indoor swimming pool!  The first thing Barbara showed us was the fridge...and as always, food is the excitement of the day: there was normal bread, CHEESE, Bramston pickle (which Laura got overly excited about!) as well as a multitude of FRESH food!  We were in heaven.  Barbara went to get dressed, came back about 10 minutes later and said we can make ourselves some food, but too late.  By that point we’d already made cheese on toast and Lara a ham sandwich!  Yum.  Then back to bed to attempt to be able to do something for the rest of the day!

We all woke up around 1am completely disorientated by the date, day, time.  I picked up the house phone (don’t actually know why) and it was Marino, Joao’s son, saying he’d been instructed by his dad to be our tour guide!  He came round not long after the phonecall but after making lunch, showering and generally dawdling, we didn’t make it out of the house until 4:30 when Joao was just arriving back from home!  Marino gave us a whirl-wind tour of Darwin: we went to the park, the beach and the closed museum.  On our travels we saw a black cockatoo which is meant to be rare and a wallaby with joey in its pouch (later Barbara told us we were very lucky to have seen a Joey!)  We also spent an hour on the beach looking at rocks...weird I know but these rocks we just stunning with some amazing colours in them.  We ended up all taking some for future vases...that’s the plan anyways!  We then went to town and had a drink before heading back for dinner.  They’d had a BBQ the previous weekend so Joao concocted a dish with the chicken and beef in along with veg and tomatoes into a sort of hot pot which was delicious.  Shattered, we somehow made it to midnight before we headed to bed after our first day in Australia.

Before leaving we’d arranged with Marino to come and get us again at 10.  It was our turn to wait because at 10:20 he rang saying he was expecting our phonecall.  So we ended up waiting for our 'tour guide’ until 11.  This time we actually made it to the museum during opening times.  The museum was free which was pretty surprising and the best part of it was the room about the cyclone that hit in 1974 on Christmas day!  The before and after pictures were just shocking and we soon learnt there was another one brewing in the east of Aus at the moment.  Again we headed into town to grab some things from Coles (the local cheap supermarket) and look at some very expensive bikinis not to buy!  We headed home for a very late lunch and quick swim in their pool before heading over to Irene’s (my Gran’s niece).  We worked out it was 10 years since I had seen her and it was lovely to meet up with her again after so long.  We had a bit of a reminisce about my grandparents over coffee and cakes (which were very yummy) as well as admiring her amazing flat which had the best view.

We couldn’t stay long though because we were off to with Joao to his salsa lessons which he’d very kindly invited all 3 of us to.  The first class was for beginners and with Laura and I with some sort of rhythm and Lara having danced before, this was a bit easy but a lot of fun.  It was hilarious seeing 2 guys trying so hard, but pretty much having 2 left feet whilst they danced.  The next class was Advanced, and wow was this a big step up.  The whole lesson was focusing on turns which was pretty cool and after a very intense hour I had just about managed to do 2 of them!  The guys circle around the girls so this meant that you had different people with different styles helping you, which was good.  But confusing if you learn one thing with one person and then the next does it slightly differently.  Laura and I ended up with twisted arms at quite a few points whilst Lara was challenging herself and taking on the role of man to even out the number!  I think I am an intermediate after this class! 

After dancing, we went for dinner and dancing.  I finally had to typical Aussie Parmajama (breaded chicken/beef covered in bacon, cheese and tomato puree).  The portion was massive!  We probably could have eaten 1 and a half to the 3 of us.  None of us could finish but it was very tasty.  We then put what we had learnt in the lesson to practice.  It was like the 80s, with guys coming up and asking for a dance and then just both sitting down separately afterwards!  A really fun experience!  Almost ready to go home, Marino and Lara changed Laura and my mind and we headed out on the town!  We went to Nirvana where some oldish guys were singing not so well so we had 1 drink and moved on.  We then went to HP club where is was Tequilla on Tuesday (TOT) which we soon found out also related to Tits Out Tuesday as there was a bra competition going on and the dancers were topless.  Interesting, but we got on with it and had a good dance with some drinks before heading back at a respectable 2am.

Of course we slept a lot after this, I think still not caught up from the lack of sleep in Singapore.  I managed to drag myself out of bed at 11:30, Lara at 12 and we then went on a little journey all by ourselves, IN THE CAR!  Barbara had said that I could drive the Rover if I wanted so off we went, attempting to find town to get some more things from the supermarket and to beatify ourselves with some waxing :S.  And with my memory and some sorta map from google, we actually made it!  In the beauticians they were selling the trinkets we got for 1 for $15!!!  Insane.  We did what we needed, I did my one and only bunny-hop with the car and we headed back for another amazing lunch!  Once again we sat round the pool for a bit before Joao’s other son, Gordon and his girlfriend, Chantelle, came round and we started preparing things for mine and Lara’s first Aussie BBQ!

The BBQ was great; simple but great with sausages and chicken that Chantelle had made a delicious marinade for.  I had done the salad and a sweet dressing (of course) whilst Laura had done a more tangy one.  The food didn’t all go not surprisingly as there was so many sausages so later we made our lunch for the next day using them.  Irene was there as well as Marino, making 9 of us around the table for dinner.  We had a good laugh, bit of drink and good pudding before I drove Irene home and said goodbye to her, and then bye to Barbara and Joao once I was back before heading to bed (as we were getting up before them to leave in the morning). 

Once again, I appreciate the generosity of my family.  Barbara and Joao were great to have us and to let us use their fridge and its contents (this made our week!).  It was really nice being back in a home rather than a hostel or a flat.  So thanks to them for letting us be part of their home for 3 days.  As for Darwin, I was expecting it to be bigger!  But I did like that it was pretty small and can imagine in the summer it is stunning.  Though it is a shame you can’t swim in the sea because of sharks, jellyfish and crocodiles!  Welcome to Australia.  A great first 3 days.
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mum on

What lovely photograph of Irene, Barbara and you and the one with all of you One day Dad and I will get out there to see them all -- I hope so. xx

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