Anzac Day

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April 25th 2013
Published: February 21st 2014
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We treated ourselves to 2 nights in Darwin to celebrate our Wedding anniversary. The thought of spending a couple of days in a spacious unit compared to the confines of our van was particularly exciting as much as we enjoy the van it was nice to be able to “spread our wings” as it were. Our choice of accommodation was the Mantra on the Esplanade apartments and if the tariff is any guide we were expecting some pretty luxurious digs.

Liz had booked a one bedroom apartment that was overlooking the water and asked if we could get one as high as possible in the complex. Upon our arrival they informed us that we had been upgraded to a two bedroom apartment – we sure did not need a 2 bedder but as the saying goes “never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

Momentarily changing the subject for a sec, I love this saying and it takes me back in time perhaps 40 years. My Uncle Gerald was visiting our place on a Saturday morning and had asked me to walk down the TAB with him to place a bet (he was a keen punter as was my Dad) he said if his horse got up he would give me $20. Now back then that was a fair amount of money and even as a young’n I loved a bet on the horses myself but I was not in the mood and politely declined his offer. Well blind Freddie can see where this is going and sure enough his horse got up and I got nothing except for the advice I quite possibly will never forget, “Bernard you should never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

I was not too perturbed about missing out on the money I had made my decision and I was happily prepared to live with it. It may come as a shock to those that know me but I was a little stubborn back then and learnt to live with the occasional incorrect decision I made. Since that time long long ago I have been offered many a gift horse and still if I feel inclined I’m prepared to look right down the buggers throat and go with my gut.

Sorry I digress. After having to pay $20 to park in their underground car park we caught the lift up to the eighth floor – Wow! The view was Amazing! Ooh yeah happy days. Shortly thereafter though it was very apparent the cleaners were, well, substandard! That was disappointing though it wasn’t going to spoil our little break. The apartment was huge you could have parked maybe 7 or 8 of our vans into the floor space and it also had a nice sized balcony from where we watched many boats and ships make their way in and out of the harbour.

Anzac Day was the following day and we had decided we would attend the Dawn Service, a first for the both of us. It was particularly momentous as my now deceased dear old Dad had served in the army there during the Japanese bombings of 1942. We awoke early and joined a few thousand other people also making their way to the nearby Cenotaph I don’t know how many of them missed the breathtaking view of the blood red full moon slowly disappearing into the water. It was an absolute sight to behold.

The service was very moving and it was followed by about a two hour break before the traditional parade through the streets, many thousands lined the route to cheer on and applaud both past and present members of the armed forces. Darwin was really buzzing and you can partake in the great Aussie game of 2 up very easily if you so desire. It was a fantastic day.

Another “war” was going to erupt a few hours later in Melbourne and that was the much anticipated Essendon V Collingwood AFL footy match. The Mighty Bombers flogged the maggots, it doesn’t get much better.

From the balcony we enjoyed some beautiful sunsets and we could also see the fireworks from the season opening of the Mindil Beach Markets – not to be missed by any traveller to Darwin. They are very food orientated but have plenty of other stalls and great live music.

Our time there seemed to be over in a flash and we had to get up at a sparrows and drive back “home” as we were both on morning roster. I managed to snap a couple of shots of the moon as it descended once again towards the water.

Take care travel safe and remember – it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.

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