Friday, March 21, 2008
Well...no sooner are we cool and relieved from the pressure of intense heat but we fly north to the tropics!
Yes! My family and I are on our holiday we had to postpone back Christmas time, to Darwin to see my sis and her family.
It is just a little warm and humid here :) Which for us dry-hearted southerners is something of an understatement.
Humidity that is relentless and persistent. Humidity that is intransigent and stifling.
When we left the airport terminal last night on our arrival, my daughter said as we trapsed out to the carpark..."I can't BREATHE!" Such was her amazement and chagrin at the level of moisture which hangs in the air like a pair of over-sized earrings on a well endowed gypsy!
Darwin IS a beautiful place though. It feels a bit like a paradise but with shopping.
I must say that I found the four hour flight something of a chore though. We flew the "new'ish" carrier Tiger Airways from Melbourne to Darwin. A small glorified bus of a plane with six seats across with the aisle splitting them into three seats either side.
A gentleman sat next to me which is an unfortunate thing really, as I am prone to needing the loo pretty regularly when I travel - I have a nervous constitution under all this calm, cool, collected travel-buff exterior it seems ;)
This gentleman is a stranger of course and we didn't bother to exchange names or hello's. We were just passing by. He sat next to me and I sat next to him and we tried to tolerate each other invading each others personal space for the next four hours.
I imagine his life; where he might be travelling to; where his family might live; if he has liver failure!
His breath and/or body is malodorous in the extreme. If he does not move or breath or, heaven forbid, belch... all is well.
He burbs softly under his moustache. The stench reaches my nostrils and assaults them viciously and exactly. I am rendered instantly nauseous.
I try to isolate exactly what it smells of. It smells of imminent death of course but without that sick cloying sweet rotten aftertaste that death has. This has an even more malevolent strain of stench to it. This breath (or body odour... I wasn't exactly sure but it was intermittent which makes me assume it was his breath). This breath was like an acidic blending of sulphuric and gaseous ingredients that might have been mixed by teen boys in a backyard chemical lab.
What would we get if we mixed ancient mothballs with the bilge water of a sea going vessel from the 17th century perhaps?
What might be the smell of rotting sun-baked sea kelp mixed with chlorinated eggs?
I travelled pretty happily for up to 11 hours in a plane only very recently. No problems at all. Yes! It was cramped! Yes it was slightly boring! But on the whole it was fine.
This trip of a mere four hours felt like those 11 hours stretched into 22! I even felt myself verging on the edge of a real panic attack! My heart was racing, I was very hot, I felt slightly sick, and I wanted to actually leap out of the plane just to experience the freshness of cold wet air on my burning, itching skin and my starved-for-air lungs!
I can assure you...this is not a pleasant feeling at all. I caught myself and watched with mild interest the rising panic racing up my spine and I deliberately called a halt to it and spoke kindly and calmly to the internal workings so they let go and relaxed and then blended together again and breathed deeply of the clean un-fouled air around me.
If the man beside didn't move or breathe it was okay and I was able to doze and dream pleasant half-awake dreams of faces and things that I love.
Whenever the fetid stench reached my nose again, I would wince and imagine that this man needed prayer for he may indeed have a vicious ulcer in his belly or a cancerous tumor or was worried sick about a family member. All of these things could have been that which made his breath so foul. One can only hope it was a treatable case of Simple Halitosis and not some other dire physiological ailment!
My sister was only too pleased to see us late, last Darwin night. She greeted me with tears as we are wont to do, my sis and I. Often it is years in between physical visits for us two: we two, who grew up sharing a bedroom together on an isolated farm in an isolated family.
The Big 4 resort/caravan park is quite okay. Our ensuite cabin is very small but I don't mind seeing as we have a sink and a loo within stepping distance from the bed.
Once upon a time in a life long ago, I was in the Australian Army Reserve and pretty much wore the camping gene that may (most likely may not) live in my DNA down to an X - which essentially means NO WAY will I go the route of "camping" with tents and such. I hate it! I did enough of it in three years to have the idea extricated firmly from my system for a good many years to come. It is approximately 17 years since I last went camping and I have refused to do it again ever since.
I may change my mind in the future - I am inclined to that sort of thing when it suits - but for now...I prefer the finer luxuries in life like a clean toilet and a comfortable bed and AIR CONDITIONING!
Sorry! I know its so terribly un-small-footprint-on-earth of me, but its what I want.
I usually get what I want.
We expected it to be raining when we got here. Darwin has had over 70 inches of rain since the beginning of January. It is telling that they still use the old scale measurement of inches as opposed to centimeters! The numbers just seem silly in centimeters. 177 centimetres of rain just seems... well... other-worldly, especially for those of us who come from the Wimmera and have seen no more than 30 centimetres of rain in nearly 2.5 months!
I was a little worried this morning, that *I* might be the reason of why we are not getting rain down south. It had not rained when we got up this morning at all. It didn't really rain while I was in Germany either...well not much that I could tell, and it hasn't properly rained in my home region in years. Perhaps it was ME who was making the rain go away?
It probably sounds just a tad arrogant and thankfully, the heavens opened for us this afternoon to remind me that I am not god and cannot control the weather! Phew!
The humidity is claustrophobic though. It saps your ability to energise and motivate the soul into doing things. You need to sleep and rest during the cloying pressure of the noon-day for to move muscles and bones seems to take an extraordinary amount of energy. It's no wonder people drink so much up here. It's not so much about dehydration as about chasing a cooler core body temperature!
Under the fans here, in my sisters home though, I guess we will acclimatise eventually. Our cabin is almost frigid by comparison, with the air conditioner being refrigerated. It is only drying out the air inside. The temperature is set only a few degrees below that of outside but drying the air makes the outside feel about 1000 degrees hotter than it actually is. It is quite surreal actually.
25 degrees celcius seems to be an "ideal" temperature for mankind. It is where we feel more or less most comfortable and relaxed. When it is cold outside, our thermostats are set to around 25 degrees. When it is steamy hot and sultry, we set our air conditioner thermostats to 25 degrees. Give or take a couple either side of course! :)
Maybe its because 2+5=7 which has always been thought to be a "Heavenly" number!
hahaha! I digress...
Tomorrow we SWIM (and go shopping :)).
Happy Easter everyone.
Posted by michelle p at 5:18 pm