Big Question Marks

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year from the Top End!

Hey all! Hope it's been a great New Years for you-- we rang in 2009 in tropical Darwin, at the north tip of Oz. Definitely great to be able to wear anything we want for the festivities, not worrying about winter coats and such, and partying it up outside under palm trees on the patios! The tropical weather's nice at night, but during the day-- as we discovered today-- it's pretty unbearable. We went for a short walk along the oceanside and were sweating buckets. We were pretty much running for shade from tree to tree, and most likely had our tongues hanging out, panting, as we stumbled towards the area with the ice cream shops (we found beer first, ooh tragedy!). You must get used to it, but coming from our air-conditioned refuge at the Comfort Inn (yep, we've given up camping for a day or two again) it was pretty tough.

Our trip has been whizzing by-- we're already nearly 40 days into it-- and we barely got a chance to write about the Outback before we zoomed out of it a few days ago. There's an imaginary line, quite a few hours north of Uluru (Ayers Rock), where the climate is no longer arid desert, where the land gets only a dry season and a wet season-- and we're in the heart of the Wet here in Darwin (which usually means humid days and heavy rains in the afternoon or evening). Along the highway, you could almost spot the line where the sunny skies stopped and the downpours began. The day we passed through this boundary we saw fierce clouds and dodged winds that whipped trees and dust and nearly pushed Daisy off the road. We've been hearing from a few people that even the main highway westward has been flooded by huge rains (the aftermath of passing Cyclone Billy) and rivers are blocking the roads. We're hoping this won't be the case in a few days, when we'll have to start heading west. But the weather here is so powerful, and lately it seems our biggest obstacle has been water... ironic in one of the world's driest countries...
(Read on for the rest of the update... going back to the Outback days)


Sean said...

Happy New Years guys and continued happy travels.
Loved the pics from Uluru!

Pops said...

Amazing scenery and photos. Wishing both of you a Happy New Year and a successful 2009 on your future explorations.