You meet so many interesting people while travelling around. At Free Spirit Park in Darwin our caravan was right next to Hank and Yvonne, who stay there for months at a time. Theyboth love fishing, and Yvonne also runs a very professional hair-cutting service from her annexe (with the full knowledge and consent of the caravan park owners – they let people know that there’s a hairdresser in the park). I was blown away to see that she had even gone to the trouble of putting down floor-board patterned vinyl on the concrete slab and set up a comfortable chair and mirror for customers. It’s almost like going into a bricks-and-mortar salon! (Except it’s much nicer to have a breeze coming through the shade cloth walls of the annexe.) Rob quickly took advantage of the opportunity to have his hair trimmed!
Hank and Yvonne are well known by travellers, who also enjoy their musical evenings… Yvonne plays the keyboard while Hank strums on a guitar. AND Yvonne makes and sells jewellery from her annexe! I don’t know how she finds the time.
There were quite a few of us who became friends after meeting up at the park. And Rob and I got lots of tips on great places to stay for the rest of our trip!
While we were in Darwin we had to go to Mindil Markets, of course, like most other people who visit. The food stalls here are wonderful, and since we had been advised by a local to take our chairs to the beach so we could eat our take-away dinner in comfort and have a drink or two while we watched the sun go down, we were well set up! We also ran into some people from back home – you know how you do that double-take and don’t quite register who you’re seeing, because you don’t expect to see familiar faces? It’s a real buzz to meet friends so many kilometres from home.
Like dozens of other people, we had the camcorder running to record the sight of the sun dipping down below the horizon, throwing bands of colour across the sea and the sky, and to catch the silhouettes of hundreds of people on the sand against the red background. All was going well… until the young couple right in front of us stood up, and (camera extended in one hand) recorded a passionate kiss with the orange-red sun behind them. They blocked out everything else, but we can’t say we didn’t manage to capture a typical moment on the beach at Mindil Sunset Markets!
We also spent some time catching up with Rob’s sister Kath, who took us on a quick tour of Darwin to show us some of the original buildings from when Cyclone Tracey hit, as well as a lot of the new development. Kath spends part of each year in Indonesia, meeting up with her husband’s family in Timor, and when we called in she was busily knitting a scarf to take back there… the first of many, she said, because it can get very cold at night and a nice warm scarf is a welcome gift! I volunteered to start knitting some myself, since I’ve found that knitting is one thing I can comfortably do in the car while driving long distances. And scarves are pretty mindless – I don’t have to concentrate on complex patterns, so I can keep glancing at the rear vision camera etc and chat to Rob along the way.
Which reminds me: I had planned to do a bit of driving myself during this trip, but as it’s turned out I haven’t done much at all. Rob is comfortable driving, and I’m comfortable knitting, so (like most couples) he mostly takes the wheel. I know I should do more, even if it’s short stints here and there, so I can take the helm if need be with a bit of experience behind me. OK: I resolve to have more of a go! (Maybe next week.)