I didn't yet get around to mentioning that I spent the last weekend in Darwin, visiting my old friend Ron who currently works up there. Just a quick weekend trip (on Frequent Flier points accumulated through conference travel last year), flying out Friday after work and returning Monday morning directly back to work - and I think I'm still backing up for the sleep I lost in transit. It was great to get out of the Brisbane cold for a while and warm up in very balmy conditions - and interesting to see Darwin for the first time, with Ron a a tour guide.
What struck me was how much more, well, Australian Darwin seemed - perhaps that's just the wide open streets, or the greater amount of red dust everywhere, or the ant hills on the outskirts of town, but I really felt more like being in Australia again than I do during my everyday life here in Brisbane. In fact, Darwin now reminded me of how Brisbane felt when I first came here on holidays in 1990 - so perhaps it's the familiarity of having lived in Brisbane for 11 years now or the fast that this city has gone through some massive changes since then and become more cosmopolitan (and crowded): more of a metropolis in its own right, and less part of a national image.
Meanwhile, back here in Brisbane now, it always amazes me how right on the morning of the official first day of spring, on 1 September, the weather suddenly turns warm. While not quite on par with Darwin yet, we're getting some balmy days and nights of our own all of a sudden, and I even switched off the heater overnight, for the first time in months. And as a nice bonus, the smell of jasmine flowers is drifting through the house from the bushes all around me. Can't wait for summer!