When I stepped off the bus, it was 100F/38C and it felt humid to me. Not on the level of Darwin or Cairns, but enough to make the temperature significantly sticky. It looked to be a short walk to the hotel (Stuart Hotel/Motel), which has an address on the main drag. However, the entrance is around the corner, and down the block on Warburton Street. I don’t recall seeing that street name in any communications from the hotel after reserving. So what should have been a short, 5 minute walk in the heat of the day with backpack and frontpack, turned into a 30 minute back-and-forth, around the block sweat-odyssey. But, I did find the room, and it’s…nice. I have a kitchenette with microwave, coffee gear and a fridge. And plates/silverware.
I dropped my crap, er, stuff, and headed out to see what was happening. I heard loud music emanating from the place next door, so that was going to be me first stop. What I thought was a DJ and recorded music turned out to be an emcee and karaoke! Whomever was singing when I entered was killing it. The next few? Well, let’s just say the first one was the best – by far. I sidled up to the bar, and noticing Victoria Bitter in cans seemed to be what was everywhere, asked for one. $5 AUD isn’t bad compared to prices in Darwin, and it was nice and cold. Sat down and looked around.
It slowly dawned on me. I was the only white person in the place, other than some staff. Every patron was indigenous. I felt conspicuous and out of place. I figured to slam the beer and go. A man approached, stuck out his hand and said, “How are ya, mate?” I shook it, we smiled, and he kept on. My out of place feeling was abated, and I stayed for several more songs (all sung rather badly, to be honest), and when my beer ran out, so did I. I then made my way to a sports bar down the street (Kirby’s), and a similar situation played out, except it was $5 schooners of XXXX lager. I don’t know if there are no white people in Katherine – other than in Woolworth’s grocery – but they were not in the bars I visited at the time I did. One notable image in Kirby’s was the Von Miller Denver Broncos jersey. Ah, nostalgia!
Saw my first real road trains rumbling through town. The longest had four trailers, and calculating the axles and wheels, I came up with a total of 98 tires on that monster. Makes me wonder how many spares the driver has?
Tomorrow is an early morning run, then I think I’ll continue exploring the town, and book a tour to the gorge for Saturday. I leave on Sunday, and I think the time spent poking Katherine will be time well spent. When is something like that not?