Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trip (Day 4)

We began the day with more gorging. These ones, a few dozen kilometers from yesterday’s, were populated by delicate ferns, dragonflies of blue and silver, and the sort of doughy, silent, grim-faced tourists whom one can pick as senior Germans before they even open their mouths. Which they won't do, since they communicate entirely via stolid glares.

I’ve decided that the thing that gives Karijini its marvelous quality is its incongruity. Having abundant water, delicate ferns, and even fish in the middle of an arid semi-desert is as rare as finding a decent macchiato there. Indeed, from the floor of a gorge one need only look up to see the scorched scrub peeking over the top of the rocky walls, as if waiting to swallow up these fragile oases. Transport these gorges 1500kms south and they'd be beautiful, but lacking the almost magical quality they have in the Pilbara.

But one can only gorge for so long, so after lunch we packed up the camp, threw a few leftover babies to the dingoes, and continued on our roadtrip up to Port Hedland.

Port Hedland is widely reviled as the worst of the large towns in the Pilbara. The satellite suburb of South Hedland is considered the worst part of Port Hedland. And right now we're in a caravan park in South Hedland sandwiched between the airport, a railway line, and an arterial road down which huge roadtrains roar and wail. That is, when they're not pulling up with screech of air brakes at the trucker's tavern next door.

This is no place for a Blandwagon. I'm hiding in my tent, listening to Amy Winehouse on my iPod and trying to pretend that it isn't there. Or that I'm not. Either or.

We are only here for the night, around 15 hours in total. Even the hardiest of bogans in our party balk at having to spend more than the bare minimum of time here. However it's a necessary evil for us to replenish our supplies and break up the 650+km distance between Karijini and 80 Mile Beach.


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