Luke answered the questions they were firing

August 2008 Archives

Thursday, August 28, 2008Off road at last. Red dirt splattered across the car. Dust ingrained through every bag and box in the back. The car is dirty, red dusty filthy, inside and out, and we’re loving every second of it.

We’ve crossed rivers, steamed up soft white sandy beaches (check out the sprinkling of red dust on the bonnet in the pic), locked the wheels into 4WD and tipped our way through 45 degree angle jagged ledge canada goose outlet nyc roadways. We’ve even given the diff lock a whirl.

And some of this happened canada goose black friday sale on a road marked “highway” the Central Arnhem Highway a stretch of dirt that winds 700 kilometres from Katherine to Nhulunbuy, to the north eastern tip of Arnhem Land. Soft edges, bone jarring corrugations and vast crevices of sand appear with little warning.

We brushed with all the standard Territory terrors. Dingo packs that howled in the dawn, bush telegraph tales of a two metre crocodile hovering at the Goyder River road side canada goose outlet crossing, deadly snakes rippling across the sandy roads.

We witnessed the aftermath of a Buffalo versus 4WD gladiatorial battle and it was the buffalo left in road side rigor mortis. The bloated carcass was being inspected by two road tripping Melbournites as we drove by. They informed us they’d been trying canada goose jacket outlet to explode it’s fermenting belly, ‘just to see what happens’ and that the sharp rock they’d thrown at it had bounced back with canada goose clearance sale the same force, ‘like a trampoline’.

But it wasn’t until we were on our way back down the road, still riding on the high of the optimism and bursting heart https://www.londonbc.co.uk goodwill of the Garma Festival, that we brushed with the road’s darkest force and it wasn’t animal but human.

We were on our way back from the Garma Festival of traditional culture, where we had camped along a dramatic escarpment overlooking the Gulf of Carpentaria in a forest of stringy bark. The festival is hosted by the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land, held on Aboriginal land 40 kilometres south of Nhulunbuy (formerly known as Gove). Garma is a cultural exchange a sharing of language, dance and art that ended in a Canada Goose Parka concert featuring goose bumpily beautiful music from Jimmy Little, kids’ dance fests inspired by local band Saltwater and the Chooky Dancers a troupe from Elcho Island who have restyled their show to the Zorba the Greek (to international YouTube fame).

The night after the festival, by the Central Arnhem Highway, we’d fallen asleep where we were sitting in our swags, not long after finishing off our dinner of tacos and mugs of weak tea. We’d picked up a traveller at Garma, Luke, who was trying to reduce his environmental footprint by hitching, bussing, training and canada goose outlet in usa walking sections from Melbourne to the festival and back.

The intrusion of our camp came a few hours into our sleep, and first entered my dreams. I heard the heavy engine of a road train pull to a stop and dreamed of giant spotlights hovering canada goose canada goose outlet uk outlet over the ground leading to canada goose outlet toronto factory our camp.

I woke to the sound of heavy boots, opened my eyes and noticed the remnants of our fire still flickering, and that two men dressed in “wife beater” singlets were standing over us.

I stayed still, held my breath, listened as they kicked logs into our almost dead fireplace and stoked up the flames, not that far from my head. Luke answered the questions they were firing, their voices too loud for in a sleeping camp after midnight. Where had we been, where were we going? They canada goose black friday sale didn’t like the answer. The louder man’s tone became aggressive, his words unpublishable, when Luke said we’d been at Garma.

I stayed hidden under the mosquito net of my swag for the duration better that they think there are three men in the camp, I reasoned.

“I’d be playing dead too if two deros invaded my goose outlet canada camp in the middle of the night,” canada goose factory sale I heard one of them say.

They stayed for about 10 minutes. On the surface, it was just a chat from two truckies wanting to break up their 700 k over night drive. There had only been two real moments of tension, when things might have turned strange.

Once their road train had disappeared in the distance, we sat up for another hour around our freshly stoked fire, contemplating our vulnerability in the bush.

The Northern Territory markets itself on its wild terrain. Tourism numbers soared after a German tourist canada goose clearance was killed by a crocodile a few years ago people seem drawn to the adventures of it all. Anyone up for sharing tales of terror or tension from the road, or a travel tale or two about blunt and bewildering contrasts?

PS Thank you all for your quirky, practical, magical and mad suggestions for packing for the road trip. As many of you predicted, things are slowly finding their own place buy canada goose jacket cheap in the car (with many thanks to Bo’s love of “compartmentalising”). I’ve learnt so much from all your tips and I’ve also learnt never to refer to a canada goose outlet new york city singlet as a “wife beater” canada goose outlet store again!

Brett is the winner of the Navman S90i for his entry, which reads in part:

It’s time to let the equipment do its job, and get into an efficient daily canada goose outlet online routine without thinking about it, and start to let the landscape, sky people and animals work their magic.

Kingsford Smith Airport, however, is pretty much smack bang in the middle of the city, in the grand scheme of things, and yet it still costs you $14 for the 10 minute ride from Central. (An equivalent journey anywhere else in the city will cost you about $3.)

To put it in perspective, it costs a similar amount in pounds to get to Gatwick from central London but that’s a canada goose outlet much longer journey. And you can get to Heathrow on the Tube for much less.

Schiphol airport in The Netherlands is miles out of Amsterdam, but a train into town will only set you back a couple of Euros.

And how many airports in the world would charge you $5.50 to get from one terminal to another?

Phew. Okay, rant over. Thing is, you expect to pay more than you should for some things when you’re away that’s the life of the traveller. But it’s especially galling when it happens on your own doorstep, before you even set out.

It’s the worst kind of rip off really. I can handle the odd taxi driver taking the tourist route, or paying too much at a market because I’m rubbish at haggling uk canada goose but it’s the institutionalised rip offs that really bug you.

They’re all over the world, too, and the problem is that for a lot of them, it doesn’t matter how much of a rip off they are, everyone’s still going to use them. That’s because you canada goose outlet uk sale either a) don’t have any other choice, or b) really want to see or do whatever it is so much that you’ll pay any price.