Sunday, 24 July 2011

Darwin - Initial impressions

There is nothing quite as annoying as a person who is ill-informed and ignorant passing judgement and making comments on anything. I am about to pass judgement and make comments on my new home.
After all I have been here in Darwin for a whole 3 days now.
First impressions. It is hot here, like summer, tomorrows forecast top is 30 degrees. Shorts and no shirt weather unless you have to look respectable in public. Mornings are lovely they are cool, it is the right time to exercise. Aircon and fans are essential also. But given the heat I am surprised at a number of things. Not a lot of people wear hats. Certainly people do, but generally caps not wide brimmed keep the sun off the face, ears and neck type hats. And also not the large numbers that I would expect.
Racial mix. I was expecting a lot of Asians, as I see in Brisbane and Sydney. Quite a lot less than I expected. Naturally a lot of indigenous people. I am surprised at how thin their arms and legs are. I spent some time talking with a couple of youths who are staying at the same hotel as I. Based on this encounter the level of english literacy is low. Still I had a better conversation with those two than many white australians of the same age.
I see a lot of water sprinklers, operated by the council, which are doing a good job of watering the roads. Maybe there is no water shortage here.
Darwin is small. Distances seem small. Population is estimated at about 130,000. It is an odd mix of old and new, decay and rejuvenated. I looked at a flat on Saturday, I know the building can only be at most 5-10 years old, but it looked like 20. I put this down to humidity and the growth of mould, mildew and fungus.
The territory is tough on alcohol consumption. You cannot buy take away alcohol without an ID. Your ID is scanned and checked on a database to see if you are not banned from buying alcohol. There are laws about taking alcohol onto aboriginal land. There are laws about drinking in public - no consumption in a public place within 2 km of a licensed premises. You cannot for example just grab an esky and a 6 pack and have a beer on the beach - unless the council has specifically given permission.
There are laws against selling wine casks, maximum size 2 litres. The old 4 litre Coolibah is not allowed.
Speed limits. The unlimited speed limit is a myth. Maximum speed is 130 KMh. Oddly enough only a small percentage travel at that speed on the open road. There may be a message here for the rest of the country.
People are friendly, they say hello when you pass them while exercising, they talk with you in shops.
Well that is a start
The Bludger is absorbing a new culture.

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