I arrive in Darwin to the tail end of a thunderstorm. The rain, coming in sheets and buckets, held the plane from landing in the middle of the night. When we finally touched down on to the tarmac and the door opened, we were flooded with that after-rain smell the tropics is so known for. I breathed it in, shaking off the last of Melbourne’s city smells from my clothes. Outside the quiet airport that smell was even stronger. It’s the smell of hot roads sizzling under the onslaught of monsoonal rain, the kind that comes with a fury that lasts but a moment and then is gone again. It rumbles down like a drum beat that echoes in your ears and makes your heart lose its rhythm with the noise of it, flooding away the heat of the day and leaving the remnants of almost coolness and lingering humidity.
Such is my welcome party.
Darwin has always been my home, though I’ve made myself at home elsewhere in the past, and never more so than in Melbourne with Dean and our little (growing) family. I don’t see myself moving back to Darwin, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t call me back to visit, particularly with so many of my relatives still sweating in out in the tropical sun. For a little birthday present, I conspired with my parents for a mini-getaway, a kind of single lady babymoon to shake off some of those university stresses and soak up some much needed sunshine. So yes, I’m back in Darwin again.
Already I think I’ve done most of the quintessential activities that one must do to enjoy this tropical city. The most, anyway, that you can do before the weekend markets come calling. I’ve walked in the forests of East Point, and along the quiet beach paths. I’ve seen the sunrise at Nightcliff and looked down at the crashing sea from the painted cliffs. I’ve trawled op shops, worn my tie-dye proudly and sweated through outfit after outfit. I’ve drunk iced coffee at the Foreshore Cafe and iced chai at the Groove. I’ve watched a Casuarina Beach sunset and felt the sand between my toes. I’ve lit a fire under a full moon and eaten Nam Doc Mai mangoes with pulp on my hands.
This, to me, is Darwin.
Still to come are the markets and the mangroves, quiet nights under the wide open bush sky, seeing more friends and family, and soaking in all that sweaty tropical glory. It’s a short visit, and I already miss Dean terribly, but I’m planning to get the most out of this little escape as I can. Tune in on Facebook and Instagram to see the details in full along the way.