Happy birthday, Abdi. Hope you have a great day and that Stef and the kids treat you like a King.
We actually had a light shower in the early hours of the morning, but Bruce assured us it was not a sufficient amount to register in his rain gauge.
Today is Territory Day, and a big day for Bruce and company in the Sunset Slushie van. Kaye’s cold has worsened, and Tyler is not feeling flash so Bruce has decided he cannot work with food either. If they were feeling better later in the day, they would have gone into Mindil Beach for the fireworks, but neither of them appeared.
Bruce had left us a Stallholders Pass so we can get off street parking when we arrive as the public car park was expected to be full by then, and it was. Thank you, Bruce, for your forethought. We were waved through each of the roadblocks as soon as we flashed the Pass.
We had a lazy day before heading out to the dump point first. We have joined the CMCA which stands for the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia. They have a very comprehensive website for members. I didn’t have to pay the one off $17 so our yearly subscription was $44, and we had no problems using the facilities at Humpty Doo.
So, Territory Day. In Darwin there are massive pop-up stores that only operate on this day. The stores open at 9:00am, and there is usually a queue waiting to get in. The stores close at 6:00pm, but by that time most of them have sold out, and the big-ticket items are sold out by noon.
You are not permitted to light any of your fireworks until 6:00pm, but there are no restrictions on where you can light them up, but any items left over by 10:55pm must be handed into authorities.
There appeared to be a vast number of people who went to Mindil Beach to light up their fireworks, and there was already a lot of noise when we arrived.
We grabbed something to eat first. Russ had his calamari and I had Peking Duck with rice. Both lots of food were very enjoyable. We didn’t hassle Bruce as the van was inundated with people waiting to get served.
Bruce was having problems with the chilled water distribution pump which was overheating from the constant use. The crowds on the main drag did not let up until the official fireworks started at 8:15pm, so all the vendors were extremely busy, and used the half hour of the display to get some of their clean-up in hand.
As neither Kaye nor Tyler appeared Bruce very kindly got out the two folding chairs for our use. After we had eaten, and while Russ was setting up his tripod, I went down to the beach area, but it was already so packed full of people (more arriving) that I ended up retreating back to Russ at the back of the Slushie van.
The whole time we were there the fireworks were a continuing barrage in the background. I took my monopod with me but didn’t end up using it. I stood behind one of the industrial dumpsters and braced my elbows for the shots I was taking. Russ had swapped out his camera for mine as he was having troubles getting it to focus properly on the tripod. I had no problems with his camera at all.
However, we finished the night with about 800 photos altogether, so I know what I am going to be doing for a lot of tomorrow.
Before the crowd streamed back onto the main drag I raced down and purchased a strawberry sundae soft serve for Russ and a caramel one for me. They went down a treat and fortified us for the long trek out and back to Humpty Doo.
We thanked Bruce for the loan of his chairs and packed them away before navigating our way through the crowds to the car. After that, it was hurry up and wait. We were amazed that there was no police presence doing traffic control. All but two of the feeder roads to the Mindil Beach carpark area had been blocked off which left two roads leading back to the main highway, one going east and the other west. On the whole, most of the drivers were courteous, although you always get one or two drivers who think they are somehow privileged people.
We made it back to Humpty Doo about 9:35pm and Bruce, with the truck and slushie trailer, made it back about 10:45pm. He will be exhausted after all the work he has done over the last two days.
I should mention here that Russ and I are both very impressed with one particular aspect of the Darwin highway system. Where the highway is intersected by a road (major, of course) there are traffic lights. About 400 metres before the traffic lights and intersection there is a board on either side of the two lanes with the ability to flash amber lights. The amber lights start flashing shortly before the traffic lights are about to change to red, and all cars have plenty of time to slow down. Speed cameras are present at most of these intersections. It seems to be a safe method of traffic control.
The rain held off, but a lot of people who came to watch the fireworks display found out they were wearing insufficient clothing to keep warm as the evening progressed, Russ amongst them.
The temperature had reached 27 degrees in the late afternoon, but the breeze was very cool.