A Rum Tale 

On April 30, 2017 by Saint Paul

Saint Paul wakes up after a rough night filled with dreams about luggage stealing female pirates, rattles snakes playing with maracas and ‘four-eyed’ students doing studenty things on the streets. Fortunately today will be a slow day with a drive back to Darwin and many stops along the way. To get a bit of exercise his Saintliness walks over to the billabong where Banjo Paterson wrote about many many years ago. It looks like a very restful place and it is hard to imagine that in a few seconds you could be ripped in shreds and seeing parts of you end up on the breakfast plate of a hungry crocodile.

As PJ drives the Saint into Litchfield National Park, the scenery changes from wetlands into dryland. And because it is a tropical area, termites are in heaven here as they have lots of wood and grass to nibble on. Thanks to alls this glorious food they built impressive termite skyscraper cathedrals well up to 6 metres tall. When PJ makes a hole in their home an army of fighter termites that are on border control head on over to take a look and immediately get some supplies to patch the hole up to avoid any illegal immigrants entering.

There are also clear signs of patch burning which means that certain designated areas are set on fire to make the land fertile for the next generation of plants and animals. Because this is done in a controlled manner, she’ll be right. Otherwise mother nature will someday bring along some lightning and light it up herself.

A few kilometres outside the quaint town of Batchelor, named after the former prime minister of South Australia, lies a jungle area. Back in 1871 there was a bullock wagon delivering barrels of rum going through the jungle, but as the load was quite heavy, the wheels of the wagon got stuck. Then the guys were in a hassle as the AAA did not yet exist and even it had, there was no way to reach them due to the lack of phone coverage and the lack of mobile phones. Therefore they started thinking and realised they needed to lighten the load. After a few minutes they came up with the brilliant solution: Drink all the rum. The solution was as useful as it was tasty because once the rum was drunk, the wagon got unstuck and the jungle got a cool name as a thank you: Rum Jungle.
The last stop before heading back to Darwin is at the magnetic termite family. They resemble the Borg from Star Trek, as they all work for one single collective. They are building massive structures resembling tombstones on a graveyard. They all serve the king and queen by protecting the mound from invaders. Their magneticness is derived from their ability to identify the magnetic poles. The axis of their mounds is aligned from north to south to have the morning sun on their east side and the evening sun on their west side while exposing less surface to the hot midday sun. They are clever bunch those termites.

For dinner is the good old guy clan consisting of the Saint, Bartholomew and and Freddy and they decide to head back to the same place where the tucker was good on Thursday. Saint Paul opts for Freddy’s Thursday choice which is the succulent steak. Obviously it is the correct decision otherwise his Saintliness would not have made this decision. To finish off the Darwinian experience he decides to get into the upcoming Singapore experience by ordering a Singapore Sling. The female bartender is having some difficulties remembering from bartending school what it actually contains but she does manage in the providing the Saint with a tasty flavour of Singapore in hot Darwin.

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