When we left our intrepid heroine, she was still exploring the wonders and perils of Darwin. Will she be eaten by crocodiles? Will she break her leg again? And, most importantly, will her hotel have hot water…?
No. It didn’t.
Indeed, the theme of the hotel was cold – a cold room (yes!), a cold shower late at night (no!) and, regrettably, cold scrambled eggs for breakfast (eeyargh…).
Saturday, 9th August – Darwin
Today started with the wedding rehearsal. P collected me from my hotel, and we drove to the celebrant’s house. Our trip to the rehearsal was enlivened by a phone call from a very cross delivery man who was irate at P’s temerity in not being at home to take delivery of a surprise bouquet of flowers. How dare she be at a wedding rehearsal? How dare she not be willing to drive across Darwin to collect the flowers from the florist? Hmm… We played a long round of telephone tag, in which we endeavoured, without apparent success, to get the flowers delivered to my hotel room (on the grounds that there is someone at the front desk at all times).
After that, nothing about the wedding rehearsal could possibly faze us, and indeed, it went well, with the celebrant having a positive gift for keeping everyone on track. P then insisted that I could not spend four days in Darwin without seeing a single crocodile. P is *highly* enthusiastic about crocodiles. My enthusiasm is more muted, but I definitely enjoy watching P be excited about them, so I was happy. Crocodiles really are strange creatures – I find them very ancient and alien to me. Much larger than I imagined, too. One of the crocs we saw was 80 years old, and was missing two legs from long-ago fights. He swam around languidly, leaving me with the uneasy impression that as long as a crocodile still has half a tail and a mouthful of teeth, it will in fact never die, but will swim around forever…
(Incidentally, P has a beautiful apartment overlooking the beach in Darwin. It’s a lovely beach. The waters are crystal, the sand is white, the weather is fine – and nobody can swim in it because it is full of crocodiles and poisonous jellyfish. I ask you – who designs a beach like that? And what sort of masochistic person would live in full view of all this inviting beauty, knowing that one could never enter it? P may be my best friend, but this is one thing I will never understand about her!)
Moving on, P had decided that she, her mother J and I should spend the afternoon having a relaxing day-spa experience, so off we went. The massage was incredible. My calves, in particular, loved the unaccustomed attention. Picking nail colours was highly amusing. J was adorably worried about embarrassing P with undignified nail colours, but in fact her sparkly gold fingernails and dark red toenails suited her very well, and looked both dignified and celebratory with her silk kaftan. I had no such inhibitions, and decided to go with a different colour on each fingernail, which really did match my multicoloured dress. P chose a French manicure and bright pink toenails. Because she is the one who will be living with the photos.
I have to say, having my nails done was excruciatingly painful (apparently, I have sensitive cuticles), so despite my fascination with my own fingers (I spent four full days becoming distracted whenever I saw my own hands), I don’t believe I will be repeating the experience. Or at least, not ‘properly’. Ouch.
And then it was back to P’s place to organise dinner, and then back to the hotel for me to pack – Andrew will be arriving at 2am (flights into Darwin are rather like that), the wedding is tomorrow, and we will be leaving for the airport almost as soon as we return from the reception…
Sunday, 10th August – Darwin
My best friend is married!
Andrew got in at 2:30am, and as I write this, it’s nearly 2am again, and he is on a plane back to Melbourne. One that is sitting on the tarmac, by the look of it. I, meanwhile, am waiting in Darwin airport to board my own flight to Malaysia.
P’s wedding was this afternoon, which meant that I did not need to report for Bridesmaid Duties until midday. Accordingly, we slept in, and went out for breakfast to the café favoured by the vegetable-avoidant Germans. We will draw a polite veil over this breakfast. Suffice it to say that we really should have gone back to the paleo place.
At midday, P, J and I convened at the hairdresser to get our hair and makeup done. This was quite good fun – P looked absolutely beautiful, J looked gorgeous and rather magnificent, really, and I – I had blue hair. (The hairdresser made maximum use of the blue-hairishness, bless her).
And then it was a matter of hooking P into her dress and keeping her non-panicky until the start of the ceremony. And helping with her train, of course. It’s odd – I’ve been a bridesmaid so often now that I actually have lost count of the occasions, but I’ve never been the one who gets to do all the girly dressing and train-management stuff. Which I have to say is kind of heaps of fun. The celebrant was very impressed by technique – I didn’t tell her that I was simply following the elegant example of our cats, by curling the trail neatly around P’s feet, like a particularly gorgeous tail. I did nearly cry when I got P all hooked up and looking so very bridal and beautiful.
The singing went well – V has a lovely voice, and nobody would ever have known that we had only sung together for the first time two days previously! Apparently, we have inspired P’s four-year-old cousin to become an opera singer. So a job well done.
The wedding and reception were held at Pee Wees on the Point, and I have to say, they were really excellent. The venue is beautiful, the staff are friendly, and the food was easily the best I’ve had at a wedding. They even have a vegan chef, so A was well catered for.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel for the last bit of packing, and to wash off the makeup and hairspray – and then to head back out to the airport a bit after midnight to put Andrew on a plane. I am now checked in and waiting for mine. More weepiness!
Next stop: Malaysia, and my appointment with a BED.