We passed a nice day here in Darwin. The ship's staff had warned us that it would be hot here in Darwin and they sure weren't wrong. Ninety something degrees and probably about seventy per cent humidity. We were soaked with sweat when we returned to the ship at four thirty.
But allow me to back track. Yesterday was my birthday and I had a fine day -- needlepointing, working out and then, and this was the best part, a two hour spa appointment -- one hour massage and one hour collagen facial. Super nice and relaxing. Dinner was at one of the specialty restaurants on board -- Caneletto. I was serenaded with the birthday song by a Phillipino dining room attendant who we affectionately refer to as the "Lady Boy." It was very nice and I must say I've had quite a year -- Mexico last winter, three weeks in Delaware, then five months in Europe plus another stint in Delaware before this World Cruise. How lucky am I? (I think we all know the answer to that question!)
Today we had signed up for a "Best of Darwin" tour. We arrived in port at ten a.m. but our tour didn't start until twelve. There was supposedly a book store tantalizingly close to the dock but I resisted the siren's song and stayed put until our tour began. I have to say that I had low expectations for this tour. Darwin, I had read, was bombed in WW II and then destroyed again by a cyclone in 1974. Obviously, there are not many historic buildings. Everything seems to have been built in the eighties and nineties. There is a downtown shopping area through which we drove before visiting a scenic viewpoint. It was in a park where there were wallaby warning signs (which Russell very kindly went out of his way to photograph for me (and you)) as well as views of the city skyline and the coastline. The wallaby warning signs turned out to be no joke as we sighted a real wallaby hanging out in the shade of a tree on the way out of the park. It was neat.
Next stop was a small but very well done natural history/art museum. I especially liked the gift shop! No, seriously it was a good museum -- small but professional. It included a display on the 1974 cyclone that was extremely well done and included an audio recording of the storm that was quite unnerving -- it sounded like an angry gremlin on steroids feasting on the town! We even had time for a quick coffee on the outdoor terrace before getting back on the bus for our next stop -- the Botanical Garden. This Botanical Garden was established in the 19th century however it was badly damaged by the 1974 cyclone. Once again this stop proved to be very worthwhile -- well signed and maintained. It was also quite large and we had all of thirty minutes in which to see it! Ah the joys of cruise ship travel! Still, in that time, I managed to marvel at one plant I've never seen before (a cannonball tree) find out the name of one tree that I've seen several times but did not know the name of (Indian Mast Tree) and -- to top it off --saw a massive boa constrictor resting in one of the trees (he apparently is a popular resident of the garden).
We headed back toward the boat as everyone was beginning to really wilt in the heat but not before another drive around the city center. Not too much was going on as it was a late summer Saturday afternoon. Most of the stores had closed by three p.m. We also stopped to see some government buildings (Darwin is the capital of its territory) before doing some "last chance to buy Australian souvenirs" shopping at the cruise ship terminal.
Back on the ship, the air conditioning felt marvelous as we literally had to peal off our sopping wet clothing off before showering for dinner. All in all a surprisingly enjoyable day!