Lazy Days

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Thursday, October 27, 2011

One of the 'dreaded' effects of staying in a hotel has to be laziness. The temptation of spending the entire day by the pool is too strong to resist, particularly in the Darwin heat and humidity. Again Alice Springs was hot but now I understand why everyone laughed at me when I complained about the heat there, for it was never like this. If sweating were an Olympic sport I’d be a world and Olympic record holder grubbily wiping down my gold medal.

So, what’s the solution? Stay by the pool. At the pool there is a real mix of characters. While waiting for our breakfast, I went off for a swim. Some ockers then held a brief ‘inquisition’ with Helen while I was away, it went something along these lines: "He’s a big lad, isn’t he? Where are you from?" To which Helen replied, “I’m from Perth, but he’s English and lives in Barcelona...(blank looks).... Spain” – “Ah! What does he do there?” – “He’s a teacher” – “In England?” – “No, in Spain.” – “ What does he teach?” – “English.” – “What? In England?” – “No, in Spain.” – “So, he doesn’t teach them Spanish?” – “No, English!” Fortunately for Helen, I’d got back to save her from a further exasperating grilling.

Helen and I did venture out in the afternoon to visit the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory. I was particularly intrigued after Bill Bryson had described an exhibition there that was dedicated to Cyclone Tracy. As most non-Australians won’t know, Cyclone Tracy was a particularly devastating cyclone that hit Darwin on Xmas Day in 1974. Despite the warnings most Darwinians paid them no heed, believing that a) it would never be as bad as it ultimately turned out to be and b) it would bypass them anyway. That was not the case and the exhibition is a great experience. As technology has moved on, some of the exhibits lack the power they might have once had; it’s getting more and more difficult to impress today’s generation. One thing that suffered was the sound booth. The sound booth was in complete darkness and had a recording of the cyclone at high volume. I imagine a few years ago it would have scared the pants off everyone, but not nowadays. The irony is that while we were looking at the exhibition inside, outside there was a real storm going on and we missed it. Apparently storms here are worth looking out for.

After that it was back to the pool. By the time we arrived most people thought I’d been caught in the storm. If only I’d been so lucky. Given the high price of everything here, we decided to get some food and grog (booze – I’m becoming more Australian by the second!) from the supermarket. That’s when I discovered the greatest Australian invention. It can only be described as heaven on earth. What is it?  Only the ‘liquor locker’, at least that’s what I’ve dubbed it. Remember Rocky? Rocky trains in Paulie’s meat locker which is a huge walk-in freezer with butchered meat. Well, it turns out that bottle shops have exactly the same thing but full of beer. And anyone can walk in and pick up a case of beer from there. When I entered, it was sheer bliss! It was freezing. Absolutely fabulous! I’ve now decided to plan all future routes following the locations of bottle shops so that I can stop in on the way and cool down.

Going up to the counter to pay for our drink, we were in for a surprise – we were asked for our IDs. Surely, an error. As youthful as we may look, the shop assistant could not possibly have mistaken us for a couple of 17 year olds, could he? For one (very) brief moment we were flattered, until the shop assistant explained that it was a new initiative in the Northern Territory. In order to buy alcohol in bottle shops, everyone needed to produce their ID, so that it could be scanned to see if they’re on the banned register list. That’s right, drinking has become such a perceived problem in the Northern Territory that given the right circumstances you can be banned from buying alcohol!

Getting back to the hotel, we found 2 significant flaws in its design:

 1 - There was no bottle opener in the room. We looked and looked and couldn’t find one, we searched by the mini-bar, kettle, cups, complimentary drinks and food... nothing. So, Helen went down to reception to see if she could get one. “Oh,” said the receptionist, “but there’s one in the bathroom. Didn’t you see it?” – “Oh, silly me! Of course, that should have been the first place I looked. No worries, I’m sure I’ll find it.” And, of course in the bathroom, the bottle opener was fixed to the sink. Naturally.

2 – Why, when we are in a climate of an average of 70% humidity and 30 temperature, does the hotel have a sauna??? Only in the NT!
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àngels on

I pretty like that idea of scanning the's clever..

georgegoode on

Not if you''re only wearing swimming trunks and have forgotten, yet again, to pack your passport somewhere!

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