24th Aug 2012 1:12am | By Sally Worbey
The Mindil Beach markets in Darwin are renowned for their world-class food and peaceful ambiance. However English traveller Sally Worbey had quite a different experience...
I have convinced my very worried parents to let me go off backpacking and arrive in Darwin but stick around for longer than I originally planned to, because I don’t want to miss the legendary Mindil beach markets. I hear they’re famous for their Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese food.
I also hear how relaxing they are to watch the sun go down over the beach while listening to live music.
Because the locals tell me how good the food is, I skip lunch and save my stomach for the evening. I stroll down to the beach, absolutely starving.
After perusing the markets I settle on a nice looking Thai food stall and load up on a large box and a load of the appetizers. I find a nice spot on the beach to enjoy the food and the slow sunset over the beach.
After a little while I start feeling these odd stomach pains. But, I just put this down to eating too fast or being so hungry. However, these continue to carry on so I go and grab myself a bottle of water, have a few sips and then have to make a run for the toilet, trying to avoid throwing up over everyone.
As I have my head over the toilet bowl I feel a massive heat wave hit my face. I look into the mirror and my face has started to swell. It then dawns on me: as a child I had a severe nut allergy, but for years I’ve had absolutely no issues with it. I’ve left my damn Epi-Pen back in the hostel. Bad times, indeed.
I decide to jump on some poor security guy and end up getting carted off in the ambulance with an oxygen mask on, looking like a right plonker!
At the hospital I start to feel a bit better and all of the nurses keep coming in and having a chat to me. Apparently in Australia it’s a well known fact that all Thai and Chinese food contains nuts. Shame none of the locals chose to tell me about that!
When I finally get let out at midnight, I have no one to come pick me up because I am travelling alone. The kind lady at reception tells me that if you pick up the payphone it will go straight through to the taxi office.
After a while of unsuccessfully trying this, I hear the door go behind me and turn around to see a man who has blood all over his face. I soon discover he has had his front teeth knocked out. In other words: he the last person a vulnerable single woman traveller should be asking for help from in the middle of the night! He then asks if I’m alright so I ask him if he knows the taxi number and he gives it to me.
“Oh well I need one too so we’ll just share it,” he says. Great.
While we’re outside waiting for the cab he decides to invite a crazy old woman who is swearing at the hospital into our taxi too. Brilliant.
During the drive, the man asks me for my phone number so we can go out on a date. I tell him that I can’t remember my number because it’s a new phone. (Problem solved I thought but oh no!) “Okay,” he says, “I’ll just book into your hostel.”
Thinking to myself, what the hell do I do now? I root around in my bag and miraculously find my phone and give him a fake number.
When I finally get back safe and sound to my hostel, I rest my head down on my pillow in my locked room and think about my productive day.
Miss entire beach markets. Fight death. Almost get mugged/raped.
Hmm, shall I tell my parents this story? No – I think not!
I’ll just tell TNT Magazine instead.