Unusually Casual

Our last day in Darwin was an eventful one. After packing up the car we went upstairs to the balcony for one last chat with our new friends. Our flight wasn't until 12:30a.m. So we were in no hurry to go anywhere.

 

We spent the morning hanging out with Cornelius, Harry, the tattoo guy and Sophie. Around noon Sophie left to catch her flight home to the U.K. I asked her if she was excited to go home and she replied by saying she had “mixed feelings.” Her explanation was that she had really changed her perspective while traveling in Oz. When she left the U.K. She said she was into the things her friends were into. Things like hair and make-up and lots of partying. She proved this to me by showing me dozens of pictures of her and her friends dressed up doing British-like activities. Honestly, I thought the Sophie in the pictures looked a lot like the type of girl that would hang out with my friends and I back home. Yet the Sophie in front of me looked relaxed, at peace with herself, and more like the person I was becoming. I liked the current Sophie better and so did she. She said she had no real interest in her old friends and planned to spend her time at home working, working-out and saving up money for her next adventure. When it was time for her to leave, I could sense a deep sadness. She told us how much she truly hated leaving all of us behind in such a beautiful country.

 

Around five o'clock the whole lot of us headed to Mindil Beach for one last market adventure. Harry had told us today was an event called the Beer Can Regatta, something Darwin put on to raise funds for nonprofit organizations. The event turned out to be really unique. Teams from around the city had crafted homemade boats using only empty beer cans, tape and wood. We missed the actual race of the boats, but I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all of the interesting boats that had been crafted. The announcer said they raised over $49,000 dollars the day of the event.

 A brief look at one of the Beer Can Boats.

A brief look at one of the Beer Can Boats.

 

At the market we each had a snack or two and then watched a forty-five minute street performance that was truly entertaining. By the time it was over it was time to park our Maggie's car in the long-term parking lot where it would stay until we returned from Bali. We parked the car and then walked the streets in search of another activity to fill the remaining two hours before we needed to be at the airport. With a 12:30 flight we figured we would arrive at the airport at 10:30 and have plenty of time to make it through security and such. I couldn't help but laugh at how unusually casual everything seemed. We were leaving one foreign country for another in a matter of hours yet we were walking around town in flip-flops, not worried about a thing.

 

Our meandering led us to Hotel Darwin, an easy-going bar with live music and decently priced cocktails. It was here that we met the most interesting character. His name was Tyler from Florida and he was in US Navy. After seeing me make a funny arm-only dance movement to one of the 90's songs being played, he took that as an invitation to join us at our table. Tyler was the type of person who liked to carry the conversation for everyone. In his dialogue we learned quite a bit. Tyler believed that he had truly peaked in High School after he won a state tournament in rifle spinning. He had a tattoo on his arm that read “Not all who wander are lost” that was inspired from dozens of birthday cards his mother had given him. The cross he wore around his neck did not mean he was religious, it only meant he supported his recovering heroin-addicted brother. There were a few brief moments were Tyler unsuccessfully tried to show interest in me. He asked me about my shirt, my necklace and my bracelet, each time interrupting me before I could fully answer. By the end of the hour we told Tyler we needed to catch a plane but that it was nice meeting him. He agreed and made a comment about Matthew that had us questioning his sexual orientation for a few moments before realizing he was kidding.

 Live music at Hotel Darwin

Live music at Hotel Darwin

 

The unusual casualness of the night evaporated when we hit the airport. Upon checking-in we learned that our flight had been moved up an hour and also that it was originally scheduled for 11:30, not 12:30, which meant we were cutting it extremely close. So instead of being two hours early, we were about 10 minutes away from being left behind.

I showed the lady at the counter our confirmation email and then she asked to see a confirmation for our return flight. I showed her Matthew and I's itinerary and Maggie explained that she hadn't yet booked a return flight. She was planning on spending a few extra days in Bali visiting her friend. She had decided to book her return flight while in Bali. Unfortunately, the lady at the desk didn't except this plan. She explained that company policy required a return flight for international bookings. This was to ensure the stay wasn't permanent. Maggie, not being one for unexpected issues, melted. She quickly turned anxious, then defensive, and finally emotional. Matthew and I were handed our boarding passes while Maggie searched frantically for a return flight on her phone. Had she been calmer, I think she would have found one easily, but as she explained, “she wasn't good at doing things when she's nervous.”

 

Eventually, the lady said she had to close the check-in counter because the plane was now boarding. Maggie looked at us and we looked at her. She held back a wave of emotions and said she'd be catching a flight the following day. Not wanting to forfeit our already paid for flight, Matthew and I wished her good luck and rushed hurriedly towards security.

 

It was 10:30 when we arrived and after dealing with Maggie's issue we had just ten minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately, because it was so late at night and because Darwin housed a small airport, we were able to speed through both security and customs without waiting in line. We only had a few objects over the liquid limit and because of the time crunch we were happy to throw them away and move on with our agenda. We arrived at our gate at 10:49 and were near the last to board. I thanked God for his grace, popped a quarter of a motion-sickness pill and quickly drifted into a two hour nap towards Indonesia.