Knock Shop

It’s Thursday night and I’m convinced the building in which I’m staying contains a knock-shop. More on that shortly! The last few days have been just work, work and more work, which is probably pretty reasonable.

Last night, Penny and I went for dinner at “The Wharf”. During the Second World War, the wharf was a popular target for Japanese bombs, but it is now an entertainment district. At the end of the Darwin Wharf, near the old cargo shed there are a number of restaurants and cafes offering mostly seafood. Perhaps the greatest attraction though is the capacity to sit right on the edge of the wharf and watch the fish swimming near the surface as people drop food in the water. I’m sure most of the fish – principally Batfash and some Barramundi – will die of heart disease for all the chips and battered fish they are fed. It was a really fantastic way to spend the evening.

I also popped along to the Mississippi Queen for a quiet drink and a game of pool. It was good fun, and Damien if you’re reading this, I can tell you the pool table is still the worst pool table ever! When I put my money into the machine and only 10 balls came out, I asked the manager for some help, he said, in a Fawlty-esque manner, “Can’t you play with just those?”. When I mentioned the unbalanced table to him, he said it must be a new thing. I challenged him and said, “It was like this three years ago”… he didn’t reply.

Tonight, it was off to Mindil Markets to catch another spectacular sunset and for dinner.

The most contentious local issue at the moment concerns the proposed “Stuart’s Spire”, a piece of public art designed by Darwin artist, Roland Koche Laure. The sculpture is meant to be a visual representation of the Stuart Highway – known locally as “The Track” – which links Darwin and Alice Springs. Today, the local planning authority has refused its erection. Erection is an appropriate word to use, since many have likened it to a kangaroo penis. My favourite comment, though, came from someone who wrote in the ABC Guestbook, “it has got to be erected to complete the theme of the esplanade…a wedding cake at one end and a lame attempt at a cake knife at the other…” A wedding cake? The local Parliament House is known here as “The Wedding Cake”

The other really interesting story happening in the Northern Territory this week concerns “long-grassers”, the term given to itinerant people, mostly Aboriginal, who live, literally, in “the long grass”. While many argue it’s a fairly natural part of life in the Top End – sleeping and living outdoors – Darwin City Council has passed by-laws which make it an offence to sleep in a public place between sunset and sunrise and allow council officers to remove itinerants’ belongings from public places.

Oh yes, back to the prostitution. Every night when I arrive home there is always at least one scantily clad girl downstairs in the shopping centre with an older gentleman keeping a close eye on her. Odd eh?

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