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First Impressions of Derby

Written on: Wednesday July 25th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

After a well-deserved lie-in following all our travelling, we pottered about the house for a while, before meeting Duncan, who had kindly offered to give us a tour of Derby. As we had only seen it in the dark the night before, we were interested to see what the town (if it can actually be called a town!) had to offer by the light of day. The answer was a resounding 'not much'.

Derby is basically made up of two parallel roads, joined by smaller roads at 90 degree angles, with not much on either main road. The most populated road has the supermarket (Rusty's) and the off licence, or the bottle shop as it is known here. There is a small shopping 'arcade', which houses a couple of shops, and a hairdressers. A couple of pubs are also on this road, as well as the Derby Memorial Pool, which is the one redeeming factor. The pool does have very erratic opening times though, and at the most is only open 5 hours a day. It's the only place in town where people go to sunbathe, as there really isn't anywhere else to go! Other than the afore mentioned items, there is nothing here in Derby, unless you're into skating, and then there's a small skate park. Imagine a deserted town, with things blowing in the wind, and nothing for miles, and you'll be close to the reality.

Derby is surrounded by mud flats, which are formed by a tide coming right up to the town during the equinox. At present, they are solid, and span for miles surrounding the town. The red dirt is in abundance here, and seems to infect everything, taking over clothes, shoes, skin, etc. The hospital is the tallest building in Derby, which is not that impressive when you consider that the highest point is only 2 floors up.

Derby is absolutely full of boab trees, which are possibly the strangest looking plants I have ever seen. The Aborigines believe that there is a story behind the boab. Apparently, boab trees used to be beautiful looking trees, but they grew too tall, and became too close to heaven. This displeased the Gods, who uprooted the boabs, and turned them upside down, making them ugly. The trees literally look like they have roots coming out of the trunk, not branches. They grow boab nuts, which the Aboriginal tribes pick, and make carvings on. Boab nuts are also edible, although I haven't tasted one as yet.

Derby also has it's fair share of eagles, which soar overhead most of the time, emitting the classic shriek. They are huge, and look great against the blue sky - I've spent many a time trying to catch them on a good photo. Another bird that inhabits Derby, though not as pretty, is the crow. You can guarantee that on stepping outside, you will hear the awful croaking sound of a crow, hidden amongst the branches of a nearby boab. We've also seen a grey parrot (possibly not it's real title, but parrot-like nonetheless), which was surprising!

Anyway, all in all, I'm afraid to say that Derby is pretty dull, and I was feeling a little bit despairing by the end of the 'tour', but we are only here for just over 3 weeks, so we will make the best of it!