I’m driving into town to my friend Andrew’s place to help him and a bunch of mates eat the large amount of mud crab that they caught that morning on a fishing adventure. Looking at my scaly arms on the steering wheel I start to laugh uncontrollably at myself.
I’m still green from last night, where I ended up running around my lawn dodging homemade fireworks dressed as green snake. I mean, it was Halloween. But today is nothing, and I’m still green around my ears, on my neck and under my arms despite the three showers I’ve had to try and get the paint off.
It’s 6.15 and still a million degrees, so there’s a chance I might just sweat the remainder of the paint off on the 15 minutes it will take me to get to Andrew’s house.
I’m driving along Dick Ward Drive. There’s a perfectly placed cluster of clouds on the horizon that the sun is sinking into – their bellies lit up in a ridiculously pretty way. Like, how does mother earth DO that?! Although I’m green, hungover and sweating my weight in water, this sun business is making me smile. Which is ironic, as I spend most of my day avoiding, hiding from and sometimes cursing its rays and the levels of stinking hot I feel because of it. And then when it finally starts to go down, it makes itself and the world so damn beautiful that I want it to come back, or slow down going down.
I arrive at dinner feeling pretty filthy, but that’s okay, because a lot of people in Darwin are in, or feel like they’re in a permanent state of filth. This ‘dinner party’ is no exception. Andrew’s apartment is ridiculously nice – modern, open plan 5th floor apartment with panoramic ocean views. But everyone’s walking around bare foot and dressed in as little clothing as is socially acceptable. There’s a crab massacre going on out on the big balcony – crab guts, gutsy water and crabby juice is everywhere, and everyone’s walking it all through the kitchen with crabby, bare feet. As I said, I’m filthy and green anyway, so I just join in.
I don’t have a good track record with mud crabs. When I was on Elcho Island, I had a near conversion to vegetariansm trying to cook a mud crab. These were no exception – despite being dismembered, cracked and par-cooked in simmering stew, the damn things were still moving, scratching at the bottom of the pot lids.
I think I might be a bit conflicted – here I am only a couple of months ago brandishing one of the poor buggers and looking stoked about it… Did I crack open the cooked red claws and eat the very-dead crabs? Why yes! I did.
Generally the nature up here is on roids. When I first arrived it was still the dry season, so swimming at the beach and in waterholes down in Litchfield was all hunky dory (according to locals). I mean, by swimming I mean wading 10-20 metres out onto the sandbar and wallowing briefly in the hot shallows. And that was only if the dogs went in first.
Now? I just stare at it longingly. I’m not that keen on being lethally stung by a box jelly, or stalked and subsequently eaten by a 4 metre salty. Here is the Rapid Creek crew engaging in some of said wallowing.
I don’t mind non-lethal friendly pythons like Mr Tickles though. He must have been the inspiration for my halloween costume and semi-permanent green-ness