Australia: Saturday, November 3, 2012 Darwin, Australia
Left LAX on Wednesday at 11:55pm and awoke 9 hours later on Friday, headed Down Under for the Great Dreamtime Total Eclipse. This time I am flying across the Pacific to Darwin, 19 hours; on November 14 will get up at 1:30am and cruise to the outer banks of the Great Barrier Reef to Green island to stand for two minutes of totality and watch that “lucky ole Moon” slide in front of the Sun. I say: yes, yes, yes, let’s do it again!
DARWIN. Mining town at the Top End of Australia where the booming economy comes from underground: Gold, oil and gas, among other favored minerals. The bounty of the north and west is turning these otherwise peaceful towns into something of a Wild West. There are eight men to one woman and prices for hotels and food inflated over the rest of the country.
Darwin was rebulit after it took nine times as many bombs as Pearl Harbor in 1942 and the residents evacuated to Adelaide River.
The highly prized Aboriginal art is plentiful here and by today’s art market, adding millions to the economy.
Australia is a good example of the currency wars. Having watched, with trepidation since 2009, the AUD blisteringly escalate from .98 USD to $1.10 then slide back to $1.03 as it is today. Economy booming and prices so high on goods and services, even the locals are challenged. Australia’s outside customer is the force behind this escalation leaving the minders of Darwin and the West struggling to meet their demands.
Still Australia is worth the long flights and dog sniffers in quarantine to arrive in this exquisitely beautiful country where each bend in the road is another spectacular photo, the people reach out to warmly welcome you, and the only thing bigger than the eclipse is a horse race on Tuesday: The Melbourne Cup and a horse named, It’s another Dundeel, is favored to win.
Melita from Darwin Australia
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 The Ghan
For those who love the train, the Australian trains are some of the best. We boarded The Ghan at the Darwin Station at 9:30am and headed for Alice Springs. Our cabins are roomy with en suite shower and toilet. We proceeded to the dining room at appointed time for a delicious lunch on tables set with white linen and fresh flowers.
In the afternoon we took the Whistle Stop at Katherine; most took the cruise through the gorge. High rocky cliffs, some vegetation and rock art.
Back on board and a quick shower before drinks with friends and rack of lamb dinner with a good Australian wine, long conversations, then off to bed.
Left my blinds open on my large picture window for the sunrise to awaken me and was greeted at 3am with lightening and thunder. Awesome to look out at the scene as we rumbled along.
After another bountiful breakfast, off at Alice Springs and headed to Uluru. Looking forward to being back on the rails Saturday, November 17, from Perth riding the Indian Pacific. This time for three nights as we cross the continent back to Sydney.
Melita from the Northern Territory, Australia