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Today, I did the unthinkable: I entered a shop solely to escape the heat.
In fact, Port Douglas' blazing sun and humidity drove me into the shade and/or air conditioning at least 5 times today. It brings me into contact with many interesting people.
I met a lady selling a huge and excellent selection of books at the Sunday markets. Driven there by the sun, I was browsing where only my ankles were unshaded, when I fell upon a cheap selection of classics that I'd always wated to read. The effort of choosing - or perhaps the lack of air movement, or the inadequacey of the army-style tarp overhead - caused rivulets of sweat to meander down the side of my face and down the front, from my forehead to the tip of my nose. I felt as if steam was rising from my body.
"How ya goin' dahl?" the proprietress asks.
My lopsided smile as another drop of persiration finds its way to my brow. I flick a bit of hair with the back of my hand, where I feel it plastered to my head.
"Fine..." I lie. "A bit hot."
"Ah, yes, dahl, ain't it beautiful?" she smiles a simple smile.
After discovering I'm from Canada she remarks on my deep an and warns about losing when I get back home - such a shame!
She tells me all about her horrible experience with snowy winters in Vancouver. (Vancouver no less - I wonder how she'd far in the really cold cities?)
Now she lives in the rainforest, alone for 6 months of the year as her husband lives in California to fulfill his teaching duties. Her house is completely solar-powered, right down to the Macintosh computer she uses for the Internet access that she can't do without. She tells me she's found she can quite do without humans but she needs her books and her Internet. Of course, she chats my ear off for a good 15 minutes (while other people wait to buy books). Thoroughly interesting suff; I'm just saying I don't think she's really quite so well-adjusted to the lack of human contact.
I also meet the fisherman-pants lady and her husband who invites me to try on several syyles while I wait for his whife who knows how to tie the darned things.
I try them. I love them.
I want the blue cotton-linen ones with the batick waist band - the expensive ones. But I go for the balck rayon pair instead as they're lighter to pack and go with more of my clothes. Besides, they're cheaper.
I buy cherry tomatoes and passionfruit ice from the lady who sells delicious-looking banana-black-sapote cake. She tells me that black sapote is the chocolate pudding fruit, and I want to try it. Sadly, a local woman buys ALL the loaves while I'm talking to the baker.
Instead, I buy banana passionfruit loaf from n old hunched-over woman after asking which would be the most moist of her cakes (other options include banana-date and banana-mango). She says they're all the same, but I'm later dissappointed to discover that the passionfruit icing covered up a burnt top.
I try on knock-off sunglasses, sample dried mano and pineapple. I break down and buy the homemade mango ice cream, which is divine (and decadently rich).
When the markets close at 2pm, I stop in at the air-conditioned Chemists. I have 10 bites on each foot alone, several on my face and 5 or more on each arm. The Chemist sells me an expensive antihistimine, and warns me that it won't work on crocodile bites if I go swimming in the Northern Territory.
It's been a blisteringly hot day, but as the sun goes down, Port Douglas is just a gorgeous tolerably hot city with a lovely pink sunset.
Sunny, 32 degrees
Coasting By Susan Kurusawa