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Thursday, October 26, 2006

15th October (Midway): Six months ahead, Six months behind

I have been in the Lucky Country for six months. Six months ago today, I walked to the tube station and got on the tube to Heathrow! Each day that passes will be a day closer to leaving to go back to the UK… Chilli’s hostel is completely different to Billabong gardens. For one thing I am not part of a furniture having only been here a little while, it is built differently too. In Sydney buildings have to be good in the cold and the heat, where as Chilli’s is built like a troppo-house! It is as open as it can be to the breeze, fans buzz all the time and we all sleep under sheets instead of duvets. The hostel is much bigger than Billabong, although the kitchen is not as extensive. There is no oven for example. It is very odd being here. I miss Sydney, the people and what I did down there, but that is okay. I am getting over that slowly but surely. Funny to be homesick for a hostel, but the Billabong became home – the kitchen felt like mine, and I used to get cross when new people invaded my room! For all my moaning and complaining, I did get out of the hostel on this particular day – I went to Mindil Beach Market with Dubi Shapiro, the Israeli who I shared a room with. Dubi moved into the room the day after I arrived and we got talking pretty soon after he arrived. He will travel round Australia bird (the feathered variety) watching. He hired himself a van for the job and we drove to the market in it. Mindil Market is on Mindil beach, a beach about 15 minutes drive out of Darwin’s CBD, going due north. The market is not very big, but it is great for food, hippy clothes, fortune tellers (I was told to focus on what I wanted to do and not worry too much about things beyond my control), didjeridu players (modern didge, sadly, not traditional), and the sunset which was beautiful. The air round Darwin is pretty clean and when I got by the sea again it was almost, but not quite, being back in Brighton. Sun set was very pretty: Mindil looks directly west so all of us had a ringside seat. We ate curried fish and rice and watched a few indigenous dancers, playing for the tourists.

After that Dubi felt tired so we cruised back to the hostel and wrote and wrote. I wanted to try and remember why I was in Darwin at all, which I had managed to lose site of along the way. I managed. My list grew and grew. I was pleased and relieved to remember: Djalu Gurrwiwi, Milkay Munungurr, Randin Graves, Yidaki, Gove, Yirrkala and the Yolŋu.

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