Monday, October 27, 2008


It’s been a long time coming. Here goes:

Got a job at a resort near Port Douglas in northern Queensland. Lived in the jungle for 6 weeks and damn near lost my mind due to isolation and immobility. It was pretty, but living there was akin to living in Jurassic Park without any dinosaurs to make it entertaining. Made some friends. Had some laughs. Got outta there. Got a bus back to Cairns. Didn’t like it there, either. Flew to Darwin. Darwin is hot. Really hot, and I don’t mean Paris Hilton’s definition of hot. Darwin is closer to the Equator than it is to Sydney. Since my arrival in late August, we have been experiencing “The Build Up” which is the transition period between the dry and wet seasons. That means that every day it gets a little more oppressively hot and humid until the big rains come. Mother Nature’s got PMS, and we’re all feeling the wrath.

Territorians, as the locals are known up here in the Top End, have a name for the craziness that everyone feels this time of year. They say that someone has “gone troppo” if he or she displays strange and/or violent behavior. I’ve seen plenty of it first hand. It’s not just the heat. The history, geography and social structure of Darwin all contribute. The Northern Territory is sort of an Australian Texas. Unlike the rest of Australia, the NT is not technically a state, something of which Territorians are quite proud. There is very much a frontier element around these parts, and no wonder. The local ports and military facilities see hundreds of sailors, miners, soldiers and oil rig workers come and go every day. There’s a crucial shortage of ladies up here and bars are packed every night with sexually frustrated dudes knocking back pints, anxiously waiting for the wet t-shirt contests to begin. Flashings and fisticuffs are frequent. Darwin has beaches, but it’s not safe to swim this time of year thanks to deadly box jellyfish and the occasional crocodile. If there’s a public pool, I haven’t found it. Chilling out in Darwin is a challenge.

That said, I still kinda dig the place. Right next to my hostel is Crocosaurus Cove, which houses “the worlds largest collection of Australian reptiles.” They have all sortsa beasties in there, including an albino croc named Snowy, even though he’s really a pale shade of brown. A couple of weeks ago, I got to escape to Litchfield National Park, where there are some awesome croc-free rock pools and waterfalls (too bad it’s an hour and a half drive from here!). I managed to get a decent job at a bar and have made some good friends. As usual, most of them are Irish. Are there any young people left in Ireland? The Union Jack in the Australian flag should really be replaced with the Emerald Isle’s green, white & orange. Every Sunday night, some buddies of mine would play traditional Celtic music at a local pub, and all of Darwin’s Irish Diaspora would show up. Good times! Sucks that The Galway Boys are leaving for the East Coast this week. Gonna miss ya, lads!Oh yeah, I turned 30 a few days ago. I got the whole weekend off. It was, um… well it was fun. I think. Yeah. Pretty sure it was fun. Anyway, my current plan is to work 2 or 3 more weeks in Darwin, check out Kakadu National Park, and then find my way down the west coast to Perth where friends, gainful employment, and swimmable beaches await. I’ve heard that Darwin’s gender imbalance is reversed there, so that’s another selling point.

When I first decided to go traveling two years ago, I figured that I’d do one year in New Zealand and then come back to American reality. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Recently, I decided to ditch my open-ended ticket home (which expires November 4th) and use up the rest of my Australian visa, which is good through late April. Much thought and consideration went into that decision. The toughest thing about traveling has been missing big events back home, be they happy or sad. I’ve missed Christmases, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, births, and, worst of all, deaths. To all my family and friends back home, I want you all to know that I think about you every day and love you all so much! There will be much catching up to do when I get back. Take care of yourselves and be well!

Until then, vote Obama and enjoy the video below, which manages to be sexy, funny and inventive whilst making a statement about censorship. I promise it will brighten your day!

1 comment:

Jason Comerford said...

Mike, you've got to stop with the traveling-the-world thing and putting up pictures... really... it's making the walls of my house close in.