Darwin, Northern Territory (Part 3)

Hi everyone, I’ve been busy with Smallville-marathon (just started season 3) and Exhibition (Ekka). Now I got more task to do both for my blog and my academic life.

But, anyway, I’m still continuing my Darwin journey. This time I visited the Northern Territory Parliament House. Uniquely, inside the Parliament House there is the Northern Territory Library. NT Library is the place where I stayed for the next 3 hours after my lunch.

First, I went to Level 1 (mind you, in Australia a building storey starts with ground floor) where I went to the toilet. After that I entered a room. It turned out to be public seats in the House. The Westminster-style parliament seating seems very similar to the parliament seating in Canberra as both use green-leather seats.

Since there is nothing to do in the public area and photography is forbidden, I walked around Level 1 only to see the former and present Speakers of the House.

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From Level 1, I was surprised that not only Northern Territory and Australian flags were hoisted but also other states (I reckoned Queensland and New South Wales flags thanks to State of Origin games; South Australia thanks to South Australian election; and Western Australia thanks to the swan on its flag) and even some Pacific nations such as Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati; and even more surprising Timor Leste’s flag.

I went to the “backyard” of the House to see Darwin’s Esplanade from afar. There is a café and fountain located in the “backyard”.

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Darwin is still virgin, I must say compared to its southern cousins. If only Darwin is more vibrant like the east coast, I wouldn’t mind migrating to Darwin (and not forgetting grocery prices as well as the importance of Native Title for the Aborigines).

There is a souvenir shop before you exit but it was already closed when I was bound for airport.

NT Library is Northern Territory’s equivalent to State Library in other Australian states. It is the smallest state library that I ever visit. Perhaps of the population size of Northern Territory (which is only about 200,000).

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NT Library entrance with the flags of Vanuatu and Fiji

I spent my time there browsing the web since it is free. The library was filled with backpackers, one example is the guy who sat across me who is from Germany.

I was also quite surprised to find that Indonesian newspaper Kompas is subscribed by the library. I also found Singapore’s Straits Times as well as other international newspapers. SLQ, please do the same thing!

About 4.45pm CST, one of the librarians told us from table to table that the library is closing and the internet connection would be switched off 5 minutes before 5pm (which is the closing time). I was among the last patrons to leave the library, concerned about not visiting the exhibition on the second level of the library. That’s the problem if your transit time is too short.

After I left NT Parliament House, I went back to Darwin Transit Centre (or was it Mitchell Street Transit Centre) to take the airport shuttle back to the airport. It hadn’t arrived yet. I asked a man who works for the company saying that the bus would arrive at 8.30pm. Damn! The only things in my mind were either take taxi or miss the flight. I thanked the man and rushed back to Darwin CBD.

Taxi was nowhere to be seen, even if there were all were occupied. I tried to call Darwin’s taxi hotline but I didn’t understand what the recorder was saying. I was somewhere between Mitchell and Smith Streets. I thought may be there were taxis at Visitor Centre which is located just next to Civic Centre (and my previous post has shown).

Just before I got there, I found a taxi driven by an Aborigines man. YAY!

I told him to go to the airport. I felt totally relieved at that time. Well, another down point took place when I reached Ngugrah Rai Airport actually.

I asked him how long would the journey be. He answered, “about 15 minutes”. He asked me back what time was my flight. I said it was at 1940 and he replied “still a long time”. Long time but I need to be there 2 hours in advance. We then chatted about where was I from, what did I do in Australia etc etc. Then he talked about the differences between Darwin and other Australian capitals.

When we reached the airport, I paid AU$26 for that taxi trip. He said, “Thanks, mate, you’re a legend!”

“A legend” synonymous to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Kevin Crease or because I might be the only Indonesian student to ever transit in Darwin on my way back home?

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be back with posts on my short journey to Surabaya and Ekka.

N.B.: In my opinion, Darwin deserves better than what it is now.

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