Sunday, 16th September

We woke up encased in white bed linen and looking out at the bright sunlight of Darwin. Trail habits die hard and it was still early. Awake, ready to go and friend Helen not arriving until later, we decided to go out and forage for a light breakfast as we knew we were going to the Asian market for food later.

The sun shone on the sea as we stepped out into the sunshine. There was a light breeze, but already the sun had a lot of heat in it. We made our way back through to the main ‘strip road’ of Monsoon and its associated pub joints only to find there was to be a race later and the road was being cordoned off. Upon enquiry, we found that the race was not due to start until 12 noon. Why would you want to run in the midday heat of Darwin. !!?! Passing through the barricade, there were few people about and we had breakfast at a corner coffee shop.

It was then time to saunter back to the hotel and gather up our washing that the lovely Helen had volunteered to wash for us. All that red dust and she was volunteering her daughter’s washing machine to do battle with it. We could not believe our good fortune.

Absolutely on cue Helen arrived and we were whisked off to Redbridge Asian Market in one of the suburbs of Darwin. The smell of oriental spices wafted across the air as we got out of the car. The humidity covered us like a blanket. All sorts of Asian ingredients were on offer in a sort of corridor lined with stalls.

All nationalities were represented in the customers. Tucked against one back wall, massage was taking place on a mattress on the floor, next door to neat rice parcels. It was the real market mix you find in such places all over the Asia Pacific area.

Out in the open again stall holders sold cooked, mainly Thai dishes. Helen made her selection and we waited for ours to be freshly cooked. We then bought our juice of choice (mine Sexy Green without the pear😳) and we were back into the relief of the air conditioned car to be carried off to Helen’s daughter’s house where she is currently living. This was a three story house in a wonderful tropical garden. Banana and papaya could be seen growing from the first floor level balcony where we sat to eat our food. It was good to meet Helen’s family and hear about their proposed move out of Darwin to set up life nearer Brisbane.

An excellent meal consumed, we went back to the hotel for a rest. By 5.00 we were ready to explore again and set off for the Mendl night market that we had heard about. It was about a 30 minute walk, but the day was cooling down and the stroll was very pleasant. We found the market to be a very busy spot selling a medley of different foods, Australian art, clothing and whips (yes whips!). There were musicians playing various types of music and lots of people milled between the stalls. The market runs parallel to the beach. The sun was beginning to set when we purchased some food from the ‘Road Kill’ stall and joined others on the beach to watch the sun go down. Keith had crocodile and I had pork – neither of which I think had ever been near a road, let alone having been killed there…..

As darkness fell it was turn to retrace our steps. Those white sheets were calling!!

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