Day 1. Big Australia Trek – Heading North.
We got off at midday, having given up on the postman ever showing up and missing out on the last chance to get the parcel from Bree. Hopefully, it will be there by the time we get back home but we are talking Canadian Post and I truly do believe a one armed, retired Mountie, swims those parcel across the big pond by themselves.
We stopped at Ban Ban and took a picture of the springs and the epic signage. A lady actually scooped some water in her hand and drank it. She went off into the woods. I am pretty sure she grew an extra head and ate her little dog.
We drove on until we arrived at the banks of 3 Moon Creek and a lovely little campground. Just another one of the awesome roadside, overnight, free campsites that Australia offers. Toilets, sheltered barbeques, a few scattered picnic tables and a clearing where you can park. No electricity or water hook-ups but free and pretty safe. You end up having everything from tents to caravans like ours, to people just pulling into sleep in their vehicles.
We pulled in and did a sweep around the bathrooms to pick a spot near the back. The place was already quite full. We barely got to our spot when a man came running over to tell us we had missed the cement platform by … he did use his fingers but the space got smaller as he talked – either 5 inches or an nth of something or another. He said he yelled out at us right away and he wondered that we did not see him waving his arms as he sat in his lawn chair.
Derek was really polite and everything but the moment he walked away he did mention something about it had been his mistake not to immediately search the campsite for the dude who was directing traffic. I agreed. We had failed. Our eyes should have immediately been riveted on him. What the hell was wrong with us? This guy was the boss. He had barely walked around the corner of his caravan before he turned to come back and talk to us about the weather. We agreed that there was weather. He did a circle of the whole site. Everyone was informed. Weather. It was here and there was more coming tomorrow.
I am including a picture here, sorry it is only his backside but it is rude to snap pics in someone’s face that you don’t even know. He might think I was going to post it online or something and that would be difficult to explain. If you ever see this guy, you need to know, HE is in charge. Watch for him. He will be there to help you negotiate large cement platforms and gosh knows, all of us have suffered a lot of damage over the years from those platforms.
He told us he was the first one in. He had clearly showered and got dressed in his ironed, colour co-ordinated clothes before he set his chair out, ready to boss people around. I pointed out to Derek that there were red plastic flowers in the window of his caravan. That says everything. Don’t ask me to tell you what it means, it just does. Derek wondered where his wife was, especially when he wandered over to the public restrooms. I suggested she had most likely locked the door to the caravan. I know I would have, if I was his wife. He would be sleeping in the truck. But, it turns out, there was no wife. Derek said he had a couple of birds with him, and then I had to clarify whether he meant birds flap your wings birds or birds women birds. It was the flying kind. The birds eventually let him in the caravan.
I waited and watched for 3 moons – there weren’t any, not even 1. Sigh ….
Then we made dinner and Derek was looking for a knife and I told him where I put the knives and when he found the perfect, his very favourite, knife for cutting the carrots I asked him if he was impressed that I have thought of all his needs and had even packed his favourite, carrot cutting knife. He mocked me. Then he dismissed me and said there were plenty of other knives in the drawer he could have used. I made him hand over the carrot knife. I am keeping it in my purse. He can use his other knives. I am keeping this for someone who will appreciate it, who is not him. I don’t are how much he whines. I have drawn a line and I have a knife.
Then there was an old woman who pulled in. She was going to sleep in her truck and I talked to Derek for over an hour about how awful it was that she would be out here alone and even if she was the “feisty-I can handle anything,” type, who would let their mother do that? I wept for her a bit and wondered if she was living in her truck. Then I cried more at the thought of that and there but for the grace of God …. OMG I am talking like my grandmother!! This was about the time Derek started to click the TV remote repeatedly with some intense aggression, swearing about there not being any reception. He moved the antenna every which way and even tried to tinfoil me … nope … nada … we were in a hole. No TV. Just me and my imagination and this pendulum of emotional wing dings.
Later, a guy tripped in the dark and fell over and I had to tell Derek. He was zoned out with a game he was playing on the computer. I was sound asleep but I woke up and told him someone was hurt and had probably died. He went out to check on him, being as several people were yelling in that non-descript-total-panic-what-the-heck-do-we-do tone and so he went out and checked. I started imaging us up tending to the widow, making coffee, everyone crying, waiting for the paramedics. The dingos would come and someone would have to beat them off with a stick. We would have to build a fire and huddle around the dead body to keep it safe until help showed up. We would all cry, exchange emails and promise to write, but we never would. The widow would wonder why none of us came to the funeral and probably end up blaming us for not saving him. Especially Derek. He could have got there faster.
That didn’t happen. The guy was still breathing and said he was fine and besides the hall monitor was there so Derek came back. No-one could hold a candle to hall monitor guy. The guy in pressed plaid is in charge. If he said he was not dead, he was not dead. That is all there is to it.
And OH OH, this is the most important thing, that may help with explaining this whole blog. My doctor suggested I have a flu shot and I said no and then she and Derek looked at one another and then there was a discussion about how awful it would be to have the flu on a trip like this. I said ok but I did not want to end up having the flu right now when we were leaving on the trip and she said that would never happen, I might just have a few mild flu symptoms, if anything. BUT, she warned it would hurt and my arm would be very sore.
So I had the needle. It didn’t hurt and my arm was not really really sore. It was itchy. And then I was nauseated and achy and the night before we left I had a temperature and went to bed early. Then our first night I started having vertigo. I have never had vertigo but I was falling over when I tried to walk. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I could not move because I would fall over so I was standing halfway to the bathroom and screaming for Derek. He woke up and was trying to make send of everything and get untangled from the blankets and out to help me and I was screaming at him, “I have to pee.”
So that really happened.
In the morning, I realized that everyone would have heard me. I tried really hard but you know what, there really is no way to spin someone screaming in the middle of the night “I have to pee” where you don’t come off sounding like some kind of psycho. I gently prepared Derek that people might have a lot of questions or they might just shun him and throw large sticks at his head. I prepared him some might be praying for him, others might be performing cermonies close to the caravan involving fire and little dolls that looked like us.
Turns out most of them shunned us. The older lady walked a wide berth around us and I decided I had her story all wrong. I figure she is only about 30 and she did a lot of drugs, spent too much time in the sun and partied too hard, so she just looks like she 80. She stole the truck and is going to sell it for crack. I also decided that while people are unkind to overweight women who wear tights, women like her with stick legs should not wear them either. I tried to take her picture but when I started to open the caravan door she ducked in the tall grass and crawled on her belly the rest of the way, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. You will have to trust me when I tell you, not even the pattern made her look healthier.
Knowing that you are probably the butt of everyone else’s morning jokes hardens you up right away and you can become quite nasty. Early morning embarrassment is a real killer of any compassion.
The lesson for today is, if anyone suggests you have a flu shot – one of those kind where you won’t get the flu but you might just have some mild symptoms – don’t. You also get vertigo, might pee your pants, become the joke of all the people you know, have violent mood swings from compassion to phoning the police tip line and turning in an old lady sleeping in a truck. It isn’t pretty but it can happen. Derek says it will wear off today. Until then I am supposed to try and sleep alot.
What does he know, he was the one nodding when the doctor suggested the flu shot and said I might only have a few mild symptoms. He is the one that say beside me waiting and went up and got the nurse and asked where my shot was. We could have said no. We could have run. He made me do it.
I hope none of these people are going anywhere we are. I hope none of them took pictures. I hope none of them are bloggers. Sigh.
(PS If the lady in the truck is your grandma, the real me cried for her, the needle induced flued up me went for the whole crack whore thing. Contact me and I will give you the name and address of my doctor. Sorry. )