I have trust issues and my kids will vouch for the fact that I am always scared bad things are going to happen. If I could, I would wrap myself and those I love in a roll of cotton wool and keep us always safe. What better way to tackle this imperfection of mine than trusting a complete stranger. I went ahead and booked accommodation for 3 nights through couchsurfing, an online board where people who have a spare room, sofa or floor space offer it to complete strangers who visit their town. Of course, the trust goes both ways, but I know I am a pretty sensible person and nobody is going to have problems with me suddenly wondering how many pancakes I can stick to the ceiling.
As I got onto my flight to Darwin I was a tiny bit concerned as I had not heard from the host, my flight had been rescheduled, would arrive much later than expected and I had no clue where I was going once I landed. I arrived in Darwin in the early hours and there I am having just passed customs, fiddling with my phone, writing the host a message to say, I am very sorry, I need to get the shuttle and it will probably be ages until I get into town, I will spend the rest of the night somewhere else. And I hear a voice behind me “Are you Silvia?” He had come to the airport to pick me up…I was stunned. And touched. In this day and age where only horrible things seem to happen, this complete stranger turned out to be kindest person I have met in a very long time. Once we arrived to his apartment he gave a key and he was fine about me staying for an extra 3 days as the tours I had hoped to book were not available yet.
Not surprisingly, I think Darwin is lovely. Very relaxed and laid back. The city centre is quite small and compact and you can walk everywhere quite easily. Shops and cafes close at 5 pm and some even earlier. One coffee shop would only serve me to take away because “we close at 4”. It has a fairly transient population and I just missed all the backpackers who have left for better weather. Many of the tours advertised online were not happening and even some I booked while here got cancelled. Luckily I have time to spare and can wait for the next one available otherwise it would have been disappointing to come all this way and not be able to do them. The one thing about Darwin is that it is expensive. I am told it is a Darwin thing and other cities are not as bad. An individual backpacker room goes for £50…
I went to Mindil Beach Market which is a lively market reminiscent of Asian markets with food, drink and craft stalls. But first I sat in awe watching a beautiful sunset. It made me realise I don’t watch enough of them. So here is another challenge…to watch as many sunsets as I can. In other words, witness one of the most beautiful things nature has to offer. As challenges go, this is a nice one, don’t you think?