Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lazy days

Day 4 (Sun, 3 June 2012)
To be honest, we kinda ran out of activities to do by the 4th day. Darwin isn't one of your hustlin' and bustlin' cities, which is one of the reasons we chose to come here. We're not one of those families who like to cram a lot into one holiday. We just want some R&R.

In the morning, we made our way to yet another market, this time, Nightcliff Markets. After yesterday's experience at the Parap Markets, we decided to have breakfast first and upon reaching the market, we're glad we did cos we found that the two markets are pretty similar. In fact, we recognised some of the vendors we saw yesterday! So basically, they travel from one market to another hawking their wares. Something like our pasar malams back home?

Darwin has a large population of aborigines and many of them sell their arts and craft at the markets.

For lack of another planned activity, we decided to make a trip to Casuarina Square, which is one of the largest shopping malls in Darwin in the residential district of Casuarina. Did the typical Singaporean thing - shopping at K-mart and Big W. One thing about these Australian stores, they have a fantastic range of chic household items at very affordable prices.

And while food in Darwin is non-descript at best, there are a couple of food items we really like. Funnily though, they're from the supermarket.

1) Their tv dinners. Readily available at Woolworth's or any of their supermarkets, these microwavable tv dinners come in a crazy assortment of flavours and are very reasonably priced. Although we didn't buy them for dinner, we found that they make a hearty breakfast, before starting a day of activity. Much more satisfying than cup noodles or sandwiches from a cafe.

Here is a sample of the ones we bought - some cost as low as A$4 each for a sizeable portion. We only picked the ang moh meals though, we didn't trust pre-packaged Asian food to suit our tastes.

2) The Aussies are known for their milk. No surprises there, their milk is creamy and rich, something about the Australian cows? (even chocolates from here taste better).

But during this trip, we made a Eureka discovery and that's their fantabulous Iced Coffee. We bought this one day because I needed a caffeine fix and then realised that the name is actually a misnomer as there's hardly any coffee in it. It's really coffee-flavoured milk. But wow, it tastes absolutely divine! We couldn't get enough of it. Their chocolate milk too, is yummilicious (see how I'm fusing my adjectives? It's THAT good!)

Since we didn't do much today, I'll talk a little about the Darwin city centre. It's small and neat, consisting of just three parallel streets - Cavenagh, Smith and Mitchell - so it's almost impossible to get lost.

Our hotel is extremely conveniently located in the centre of Cavenagh Street, directly opposite a huge Woolworth's, which is great if you're like us, always needing to stock up on stuff like juice, fruit (and coffee milk!)

Mitchell Street is where most of the restaurants and cafes are located, and there's where we go for most of our meals.

Eating out isn't cheap in Darwin, especially with current strength of the Aussie dollar, and they're not exactly a culinary capital. However, we did stumble upon this modest Turkish restaurant one night, called Istanbul Cafe, on Knuckey Street (adjoining road at the end of Mitchell Street).

It's run by very friendly immigrants who are clearly also extremely hardworking as the restaurant opens for breakfast all the way to late at night.

The food is authentic and satisfying. We liked it so much we went back twice. We tried their kebabs, mixed grill and pides. The pide with spinach and ricotta cheese (middle pic) went down very well with the kids.

Across the road, there was an ice-cream bar so we ended the leisurely evening with a decadent dessert. Why not? We're on holiday!

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