I have to admit there are times on the road when one must make do with what one has. We were oten miles away from medical help although knowing that the Royal Flying Doctors could land on the road in front of us was both comforting and disturbing. When Derek had a severe allergic reaction to something unidentified I offered to wrap his hands in quilts so he couldn’t scratch. I am not sure whether it was the strength of his self-control or his unwillingness to be proven wrong but he never scratched once. He just squirmed a lot and swore under his breath. He actually ended up going to a hospital as soon as we got back to civilization so I knew it had to be beyond bad. This is a man who picked up his thumb and sewed it back on himself at one point and could not figure out what the big deal was. On the road we both had deep concerns over each others health and well-being. I cannot tell you the number of times Derek offered to do a breast exam for me. He seemed to think lumps were more likely to form while driving on those rough roads or something and knew it would be weeks before I would be able to book a mammogram. Isn’t that sweet? He is incredibly compassionate and loving towards me.

I had mouth surgery done just before we left and for the first few weeks it felt like they had accidentally cauterized all my saliva glands. I have never thought about spit so much in my entire life. I regretted all those carefree days where I had salivated without even a thought for how incredibly lucky I was. You should thank God every night that you have saliva, seriously people, it is a real gift. Sometimes I could not even make myself swallow. As I complained and grew more discouraged that it was ever going to improve, Derek sough desperately for ways to eliminate my suffering. I will never forget the evening we were cuddling on the bed, him stroking my hair and he offered to spit in my mouth if that would help.

I assured him it wouldn’t.


Anyway, we headed towards Broome and along the way we found ourselves being flagged over by what appeared to be a man, face covered, hat pulled down low. His vehicle was pulled over on the side of the road and he stood in the middle of the road and waved us down. I expected armed gunmen to jump out of the ditches and that would be it, game over. But then, I reminded myself I was not living in the middle of South America and I should start breathing again because if I passed out I would be of no help to anyone. Derek is strong but even he would not have been able to lift me and swing me at a gang of men to keep them back. Awake, I could swing Derek …

It turned out the man was a woman. Her hubby was driving cattle across the road up ahead. I waited to see the nice horsies but instead a helicopter and quad bikes sprang into view. I cannot even begin to explain the gut wrenching trauma going on in the pit of my stomach as I had to consider the impact this new kind of cowboying was going to have on the internationally famous Calgary Stampede. Who was ever going to care anymore about a horse that runs fast around barrels? Who would bother with the cowboy wrestling a steer when a helicopter could swoop in, scoop the animal up and do with it what it would. Ever hear a steer scream? They do that when in the air flying without wings. They scream and then suddenly they stop and are quiet and become very compliant. They volunteer to brand and even to castrate themselves. I started to weep about all those uneaten pancakes and hips of beef. What about all the unemployed square dancers? But then the hitman/woman waved us on and it was over and I told myself it was all just a bad dream and not even real. Please do not write anything in the comments below to destroy this my illusions. I am getting older. I have a right to my illusions and my bogus beliefs.

So we made it to Broome. I was so excited, I had heard so much about it. We decided to stay outside in a roadside caravan park as the prices in Broome were over the top expensive.

It was a beautiful spot with many lovely and interesting things worth seeing. However, I have to say it is nothing compared to the raw beauty of Australia and the places you can go where there is not the ever oppressive presence of commerce. There is no doubt it is lovely to have a glass of wine overlooking the ocean in an airconditioned club. It is wonderful to eat a meal produced by an award winning chef at a resort, but these are no longer things that I yearn for or even feel that I want to commit days of my holiday time to.

I place Broome like I would Banff in Canada, the Grand Canyon in the US, and many other well-advertised holiday “hot spots.” They are well worth seeing but only once. There are many similar, much more interesting, and less commercialized places like these that I enjoyed much more.

Get your picture taken riding the camels on the beach. Watch a movie in the open air. Pay ridiculous prices for beautiful resort experiences and consider yourself one of the beautiful people. Just remember the law of the beach . . . No matter how awesome you think you look and how hot your body is, there is bound to be a younger, better version of whatever you are offering just strolling onto your little piece of paradise as I type. You will not miss her, everyone will be staring at her. You had your moment. It was that few seconds between when you arrived on the beach and then turned around to see her. Have a glass of wine. Go pet a camel.