Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
The Outback is just way, way too big!
2007-08-23 to 2007-09-01
Yep, I was hitchhiking again next morning undaunted by my setback the day before! Ash had dropped me to a turn off and it took 2 hours before Jeff, a dead set, true blue Aussie Truck driver picked me up breaking his company`s regulations but Jeff was not one for following the rules too closely!
His truck was beeping away as it reached a certain speed limit and he kept saying, “That`s another caution!” from his managers who would have him on satellite tracking! He`d been long haul driving for 18 years and I asked him what the major differences were over the years. He said the roads stayed the same but there were no more hitchikers. “Ever since the Falconio Murder and the `Wolf Creek` movie no-one dares hitch or pick up these days.” I asked why did he pick me up then? “Caused you didn`t look like a d*ckhead!”
Fair enough I thought, a deeply perceptive man! One other nugget of info to come out of our trip is that Bradley Murdoch (who is serving 28 years for the death of Peter Falconio) was brought up in none other that Northampton, where I had just hitched out of yesterday!! Funny that they didn`t have a sign up announcing that local bit of history!
I got to Denham and tried to hitch for another 90 minutes in 30+ heat when I went back into the town and saw a guy come out of a `WICKED` van and I asked him if he was going to Monkey Mia (my final destination) and he said yes but he had to do some shopping first. I, quite kindly I thought, offered to wait for him! He was Olivier from Lyon and he dropped me to my hostel.
In my room were three girls and to show off my kind of freaky memory, I told them that they were driving in a silver blue metallicy coloured car and that they had whizzed past me yesterday! “You`re that lunatic that we saw on the road?!” was their opening salvo! They suggested that I make up a sign saying “I`m Irish and not Insane” but I found that a touch oxymoronic…
Next morning I woke early (6:30am) and walked to the nearby beach and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise and wild dolphins lapping up right beside me on the beach (there was an elderly couple there too but for the sake of my story lets just pretend I was all on my own!) It was amazing, 10 dolphins, some pelicans beside me, the sunrise and no camera! Grrrr… As you may have noticed the number of pictures I have been loading has diminished as my camera is getting fixed back in Ireland.
Still it was amazing to see them in the wild. Olivier and I took off north to Coral Bay, a short 600km spin up the road. In my room that night was Alan who lives about 500m away from my house in Limerick, needless to say we didn`t know each other!
We had a good night, me corrupting Colm and Laurie into a few too many drinks before their early rise and fishing adventure next day (Colm couldn`t even cast a line all day as he was too sick! Hahaha!)
The next day saw us head up to Exmouth. The roads are so long and straight its ridiculous. An errant Emu or an eagle might break up the monotony but for the most part you could sleep behind the wheel on cruise control.
It is strangely beautiful out here though with its red sand, barren yellow hills and off roads to settlements hours inland. I heard that they discovered a river the other day in Australia that no one had ever seen before! And this wasn`t some brook, it was a full on river that they flew over and couldn`t find it on their map! You could bury a person out here no problem, hell you could bury a stadium of people out here and no one would notice….
Speaking of all things morbid, Exmouth was dead! We`d got there on Saturday and when we asked where to go that night we were scoffed at. “Everyone goes out on Friday`s around here!”
And what happens Saturday?
“We recover and wait for next Friday!”
Of course you do…. Well I wasn`t waiting for another 6 days so Jo, Jurgs, Simon, (new mates) and I got a lift to Carnarvon and booked on the 20 hour bus journey to Broome. We had 11 hours to kill first however so we bought some cooked chickens and had an impromtu picnic and then got some drinks and hung out down by the beach. I could think of a worse way to while a day away. It`s a pretty dead end town though, a lot of crime apparantly and we went to one of its locals that evening. We had to pay a deposit for a cue stick for pool. I asked if they had a big problem with people stealing cues?
`No,` said the barmaid, `but we do have a problem with….` and she mimed the action of breaking a cue over her knee as she smiled and handed me over my newly acquired weapon! Seems to be a strange theme of pool and violence going hand in hand on this trip for some reason?!
We got into Broome in a little under 23 hours (our bus had broken down) and checked in late at night. Broome is famous for it`s pearling and there is so much work for people here who might want to go out on the boats for a few weeks. A lot of broke travellers take it up and all come back knackered and black with the tans!
There is a large Aboriginal community up here and everywhere you could see them in ones and twos, just wandering off into the distance, usually stumbling under the influence of some very cheap but very strong alcohol. It was a really sorry sight…
They have a phenomenon called the “Staircase to the Moon” which only happens rarely so we went to see it. The bright orange Moon comes up over the mudflaps on the beach and the reflection gives the impression of steps… well they would if we, like the thousands of others had been looking in the right place! No-one bothered to tell us or check where exactly the Moon came up and when we saw it coming up around the corner by a hill, we all rushed over but too late. Well, way to go us! I better not need to go to the toilet when Halley`s Comet decides to swing by next time!
Thursday night is the big one in Broome, quite literally! This is rough and ready country out here and the weekly wet T-shirt competition is truly a highlight! We roared the Irish `competitor` Angela* (name changed in case she ever goes into Politics and I need to blackmail her!) to victory, easily beating the other ten girls and in particular the runner up who clearly forgot that she had to leave her Wet T-shirt ON to actually win a Wet T-shirt competition! A technicality but an important rule nonetheless!
A few days in Broome and Alan and I were ready for our epic 27 hour bus journey to Darwin. That`s the same length of time it would take me to fly from Sydney and arrive on my doorstep in Limerick! And why did we make such a journey?! Limerick are in the All Ireland Final tonight, yep, we came all this way for a 70 minute game of hurling!
When we told some guys we met in the bar last night we got handshakes, high fives and hearty back slaps with utterances of `Respect`; their girlfriends just stared at us like we had three heads?! Girls, they just don`t get it do they?!
So, 35 degree heat today and no chance of a swim because there are too many crocs in the water.
We are on countdown to the Final mode, it will have been a really long journey if we lose!
In the Wicked Van with the Consi Halo!