Much to do in Darwin

3 January 2019

Ah, our poor little Cornelia cried out at 07:15…. “Mummy, I’ve wet the bed! And it’s not just a little bit!”  I rushed in to swoop her off to the loo, then went back in to inspect the damage.  Sure enough, there was quite a bit of wee on the sheet and on the mattress protector underneath.  That was all a bit of a surprise and I was annoyed with myself for not putting a disposable absorbent sheet underneath, as I had done for so much of the trip.  I had become complacent and confident that accidents wouldn’t happen.  D’oh!  Funnily enough (and annoyingly so), as she’d drunk so much water when brushing her teeth last night, I did think about getting her up to go to the loo, but as it was so late and I wanted to go to bed myself, I just didn’t worry too much about it.  Double d’oh!

Anyway, we put towels in between the layers to soak up the wee, and cleaned it with some fresh water.  It was at the side of the bed, so at least she wouldn’t be lying in it that night.  She clambered into bed with us and went back to sleep and we all stayed asleep until 09:00!  We obviously needed it after such a late night.

We headed down to breakfast once we’d showered, and by contrast to the Mantra@Salt in Kingscliff, the hostess couldn’t have been kinder or more friendly.  Cornelia had Nutella on toast, and a slice of raisin toast, refusing any butter on the latter. Weirdo.  I had my predictable granola, yoghurt and honey – it wasn’t the best, but it would keep me going until later.

Storms were predicted later today, so I had booked us in to watch Mary Poppins Returns at the cinema in nearby Casuarina.  We Ubered our way over there at midday, and bought a box of popcorn to keep us company! This was only Cornelia’s second trip to a proper cinema (the first being to see Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience a year or so ago.  She’d initially been overwhelmed by the loud surround sound, so I made sure to let her know that it would be the same again, before the movie started. She loved it!  She loved the trailers (although at one point, she did yell out “When are they just going to start the actual movie, Mummy?!” and sat through the whole actual movie, shovelling popcorn into her mouth, and dancing with delight at the various songs.  We all thought it was brilliant and a real success – to follow the original must have seemed an impossible task, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.  I will confess that the first ten minutes had me worried.  The acting was stilted and OTT, but Emily Blunt was excellent and had us all convinced quickly enough!

At the end when we were leaving, Cornelia burst into tears.  When I asked her what the matter was she said, in between great gulping sobs, “I have to say goodbye to my Gang. I’ve held on to them for too long. It’s time to let them go.”  Oh my goodness!  I could feel my own eyes filling up with tears as I reassured her that she absolutely 100% did NOT have to say goodbye to her Gang members.  Obviously, some of the sentiment in the film had rubbed off a little too sincerely on her!

For lunch, we walked down a flight of stairs from the cinema into the food court of the shopping centre.  There were plenty of choices, but Cornelia just wanted a toastie, and Ian was happy with that too, so I ordered while Ian was in charge of child-supervising at the indoor play area.

That playground was full of tiny ninja kids, who clambered up the ropes and over the top of the tunnel slide like Mowgli climbing a tree.  It was absolutely incredible to watch!  Needless to say, although Cornelia tried to match them, she was totally overwhelmed by it, and had a bit of a confidence meltdown halfway up the cargo net, claiming that she couldn’t do it.  Whilst Ian managed to point out where to put her feet and hands to get to the top, she decided she’d had enough, and as their toasties had arrived, she had a bit of a break to try and work it all out in her head.  (I wasn’t hungry, so just had the discarded crusts from Cornelia’s!)

It was time well spent.  She went back determined to find her way up, and once she’d made it, there was no stopping her!  Up and down the slide, round and up the cargo net and repeat, with her little group of ninja friends. The only thing she couldn’t do was clamber up over the outside of the tunnel slide, but that was fine by me, as it wasn’t designed for climbing like that anyway…!

 

And then, all of a sudden, she lost her nerve again.  I’m not quite sure what happened, but she was crying and refusing to come down the slide, saying that there were too many kids climbing up on the inside.  A bigger girl helped her down the slide, and she ran out of the park crying to me. It turns out she’d been having so much fun, she’d done a bit of a wee in her pants.  Blimey, twice in one day! Anyway, I told her it was absolutely not a problem, and that I always had a spare change of clothes for her, so off we went to the parents’ room to change.

This was all rather well-timed, as we were able to Uber back to our hotel without having to cajole her out of the playground!  Once we’d dropped off a few bits and pieces in our room, we walked down to the Waterfront, which was about a kilometre away.  Or nearly two kilometres away, if you go the wrong way first.  Whoops.  That was my bad.  And it was very hot and humid, so my mistake was not well-received by the husband!

Cornelia’s observation of this uninspiring road… The wall looks like a pyramid from Ancient Egypt!  And LOOK, a storm drain!

 

Darwin Waterfront was terrific and virtually empty!  There is a wave park (which we didn’t go in, as it was $5 entry and closed fairly soon), and a decent playpark, as well as a safe swimming area, under Lifeguard patrol.  Our first stop was to Trampoline for an ice cream (double chocolate), and we joined an older guy at a bench in the shade to eat it.  Cornelia was then straight in the playpark, and made some new friends immediately, while Ian and I watched from the bench, accompanied by our companion, Jeff.  He was an interesting guy.  He was local (ish) to Darwin, in his 70s, and had been here during the destructive cyclone in 1974.  Despite the hideous damage, some good came out of it – he met the lady who later was to become his wife as a result.  He was good company, although guilty of being of the older generation that believes all he reads, particularly as it turns out, about Donald Trump, Muslims and how one is good and one is bad.  I did my best to persuade him to be a little more open-minded about other religions, and that being Muslim is not something to be feared.  It’s the bloody terrorists, whatever their religion or background, that are the problem. Ian is far more tactful, nodding and adding that Donald Trump certainly knows his audience.  Something that is lost every time he says it, by those Trump supporters who would blindly follow him wherever he goes!

Anyway, enough of that!  It was time to get Cornelia off for some supper, so we thanked Jeff for his company and took him up on his recommendation of the Irish pub just opposite the park.  I was in luck, as Lobster Mornay was on the menu.  Yum yum.  I washed that down with a glass of average rosé, while Ian was delighted to have a pint of Guinness to go with his Guinness and Steak pie. All Bugsy cared about was that they had a colouring sheet and some pencils for her to borrow, and she was in heaven.

As it was getting a bit late, we decided to take yet another Uber back to the hotel, where we asked if we could extend our check out by an hour, which would give us enough time to go back to the park, so Cornelia could go in the water for a bit, before we left Darwin for Perth.  The latest we could get was 11:00, and this was better than nothing, so we gratefully took it.  Cornelia had a quick bath and a cuddle in bed, before she fell to sleep.  Ian and I weren’t far behind her, glad to be in bed on the right side of midnight!

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