...or "How To Make An Ass Of Yourself (or Worse: Show It) 13,000Km From Home"
11.06.2012 - 12.06.2012 30 °C
I am now as far away from home as I will get on this excursion, and possibly even as far as I'll ever get in my life, who knows.
We begin as I pulled away from the caravan park in Fitzroy Crossing, where I had met a nice elderly couple who were also aiming for the Gibb River Road. The gentleman attempted to help me figure out my air compressor (I shamelessly asked him if he knew how to run it, as I am just a useless tourist and new to the whole 4wd road trip phenomena). I felt better that he could also not figure it out and eventually advised me to simply ram the pin of the bike-pump attachment into the inflation tube of the tire. Very scientific. I'm doomed.
Since I was early going and ahead of (or on, depending on how you look at it) schedule I detoured about 20Km from the highway to see Geike Gorge, which is kind of like an appetizer for what I'm going to (hopefully) be seeing as I travel back east through the Kimberley on the Gibb. It was very impressive - lots of amazing rock formations, beautiful water...and the constant BEEP BEEP BEEP of a dump truck backing up somewhere along the river bank. I'm not sure if they were trying to make the gorge wider...or fill it in, or what, but the obnoxious sound made me feel better about keeping my visit here to a short 1 hour, as I wanted to get heading towards Broome. Along the access road I did see what I think to be my first wallaby...or maybe just a small kangaroo, but regardless it under much better circumstances than the first one. On the way in, this wallaby/small kangaroo was at the side of the road, saw me coming, and hopped away into the bush. Cute! However on the way back out, another - possibly even the same - wallaby/small kangaroo at the side of the road saw me coming, then proceeded to hop along beside the truck. I slowed down as I waited for the sickening thud of this crazy thing committing kangacide on itself by launching itself in front of me, but luckily the creature flipped a coin in its head and chose to hop right instead of left. I'm starting to get why Australians almost consider kangaroos a pest. Their either kind of jerks...or stupid beyond comprehension.
Also along this road I did my first creek crossing! It must have been, oh, 1.5cm deep. You have to start somewhere.
Soundtrack: The Electric Head Part 2: The Ecstasy / White Zombie...just to be clear, the iPod picked this song randomly, and the only way it could possibly be appropriate for for the scenery as I cruise through beautiful Western Australia is if this is some prelude, some opening scene if you will, of a tale that eventually sees me hunted down and massacred by some crazy bushman or evil witch-spirit or vengeful and merciless god. Lucky for me, the only way that would be true is if I had two other best pals, two hot girls, and a bag of pot in the truck with me. I have none of these things. My life is so boring...
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to drive. I'll drive anywhere, anytime, I just love the experience of going new places and driving. I'll drive anywhere...well maybe not through Saskatchewan or Manitoba. Anyway, by the time I was within 100Km of Broome, I was actually sick of driving. The endless road I followed that had me crest the horizon like 20 gigillion times began to look more taunting than inviting. But it was all worth it.
The Frangipani Resort is in Cable Beach, a small resort/tourist community just north of Broome on the Indian Ocean. It's what is called 'self-contained accommodations', meaning it is a small (very swank and cosmopolitan) apartment with all the amenities I need: a dark wood and stainless-steel kitchen and open-floor living space with dark stone tile floor throughout...
...a super-comfortable bed with mahogany bed posts...
...my own private veranda with a BBQ and lounge-bed...
...and...an outdoor shower.
Yup, the shower is in a little walled-off alcove in the back behind the bedroom - totally private (um....well I'll get to that in a second) so that you can enjoy your shower in the beautiful, tropical...hot, humid, sticky Broome weather. Yes, even in "winter", it is bloody hot and humid here - it's apparently 27 degrees celsius here now, but with the humidity it must be like 35 or 80 or something.
I checked in, and had about an hour before sunset - the one thing I wanted to do here in Cable Beach is watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Ok, so let's give this shower a spin. I get everything set up outside in my stall, and apprehensively strip down and start to shower. This is pretty cool I start to think, my own outdoor private OH MY GOD I DIDN'T CLOSE THE BEDROOM DOOR! There was a clear view right from my shower all the way through the apartment, past the veranda, and onto the resort road. I frantically drew the shower blinds, and thankfully I think only 30 seconds had passed - hopefully not enough time for anyone to walk by, staring into other people's apartments. I suppose if they had...well they are ones who will need help going forward, not me. Again, not one of my finer moments.
I kind of emotionally recovered, made my way down to Cable Beach, and walked into the Indian Ocean as the sun set - just in time. The water is clear, blue, and warm like a heated pool. It is also full of box jelly fish and Irukandji (another type of 'deadly' jellyfish). The signpost proudly displayed that the last reported sting was exactly one week ago. What are the chances it happens weekly? With my luck..well, I didn't press it, I only waded in ankle deep.
I will never forget this sunset for the rest of my life - words could never describe it. I say that a lot. Eventually you will begin to realize that this is simply me being lazy. Anyway, I stood there in the water and watched the sun set until it was just me alone with a dark sky and my thoughts...oh, and the hundreds of other people around me.
After treating myself to an uber-calorie bacon and eggs breakfast I cooked on the BBQ I finally managed to find the ambition to leave the 'apartment'. I really didn't want to, I just wanted to lay inside with the AC on all day. I'm starting to feel really worn at this point, the drive probably took more out of me than I thought (it was about 1900Km after all, not including the 900 round-trip to Ayers). I drove down to the cliffs on the point and took a bunch of pictures.
Then I carried on to the port and walked out onto the wharf (well the part I was allowed on, that place is seriously locked down) and I took a bunch of pictures.
After that, I moved onto the town beach where I, yup, took a bunch of pictures.
See a pattern? Specifically the lack of originality? Oh well, theoretically I had done what I came here to do - touched the Indian Ocean, which is pretty significant for me. Not only did I touch the freaking Indian Ocean, I have also now touched the ocean on both sides - kitty-corner actually - of this continent. I think that warrants some measure of accomplishment.
Profile: Common Cable Beach Guy: you are skinny, possibly even fairly well built. You are definitely tanned, and are wearing longish shorts. You have no shirt, in fact you probably don't own any shirts, and when you see someone wearing a shirt you wonder what is wrong with their chest. What you do own is a surf board, because you are awesome. If you don't own a surfboard, they you are playing soccer on the beach to distract everyone from the fact that you do not have a surfboard. You hairstyle varies because you don't want to conform, but it is probably either short and dark, long wavy and dark, or in an odd mohawk-like thing. You do not wear shoes, no matter what you are doing or where you are - forget that shit. And seriously, you *are* awesome - no sarcasm. I kind of wish I could be you...well at least the part of you that is 15 years younger than me.
Profile: Common Cable Beach Girl: you are delicate but sun-weathered, your cheeks are permanently rouged. Your hair is likely dark, long and wavy or tied back; you may be blonde, but if so you just stand out a bit more. Your eyes are also dark. You are wearing a beautiful floral sun-dress, and you may even have a flower in your hair. You do not wear shoes no matter what you are doing or where you are. And many of you are the woman of my dreams. Sorry for that.
After another uber-calorie lunch of deep-fried Barrumundi and Chips, I started on my preparations for tomorrow. Gassed up the truck, bought a box of wine (no, not one of those shitty bag-in-a-box wines, I mean a box with bottles in it - I'm not getting stuck with that whole $40 a bottle thing at some roadhouse on the Gibb because they had to fly over and drop the booze in with little parachutes). Then onto grocery shopping. Yep, I can get 13,000Km from home and I still need to go grocery shopping.
After getting back from that horrid grocery trip (I've actually removed a huge long section of blog that delved into my psyche and rambled on about, well, god knows what. I took it out - I'll post it whenever I release the "Director's Cut" of the blog), I went back down to the ocean and again watched the sun set. It was somehow better than the night before - probably because there is a bit of a rainfall on the way apparently. And I'm standing there shin-deep in the Indian Ocean (haven't been stung yet) with two kinds of shitty feelings, the first being, well that whole "wish-you-were-here", with "you" being pretty much anyone I know (my wife would be a really good start), but thankfully the stronger shitty feeling was: damn, I don't want to leave. So again, stupid personal hang-ups ruin everything, but I know that somewhere between those two feelings is simple elation for where I am, what I've accomplished, and the knowledge that I can see this thing through to the end, and I bet there are not many other people (at least that I know) that might have the brass globes to do this the way I've been doing it. Or is it a brass lack of any common sense or self-preservation?
I'm listening to the ocean from back at my apartment. I'm going to pack up, make a steak (with no seasoning, so the Australians better be right about how good their beef is...actually I've already had a couple steaks here in Oz, and they are pretty damned good), and hopefully get a good night's sleep, because I plan on hitting the road fairly early tomorrow - obviously I'm most comfortable always on the move to my next destination, and there is no sense in fighting that now, I simply may as well enjoy it.
You will not be hearing from me for a long time this time. I will be on the Gibb River Road for 6 nights, and then another 2 will be spent barreling back towards Darwin for the 21st (I guess 20th for most of you). Best case scenario is I'm able to post my blatherings - which I will continue to keep writing drafts of - in Darwin. And I promise to leave out the Maury-Povich-psychoanalysis bullshit going forward (will keep for the "Director's Cut").
Nah, actually I don't promise anything...ever.
Soundtrack: Dreamin' Man / Neko Case