Friday, March 18, 2005

No Ticket To Ride

Is what you've got when you're hitching and bumming rides. And since you're at the mercy of other peoples' generosity you sometimes have to wait, which is what happened to me at Exmouth where I stayed a couple of days longer than I would have liked; then two rides came at once (which goes to show that they are like buses in more ways than one). I got given a lift by a Swiss couple who I found a bit strange (although that feeling was probably mutual). For a start their entire CD collection (without exception) was composed of what can only be called religious rock. Anyway, they were going my way and beggars can't be choosers.

From the coast we headed inland to Karijini national park, home to some spectacular gorges that run through layers and layers of red paving slabs. Actually there are only 4 colours here in the outback: the rusty red of the earth and termite mounds; the blue of the sky; the green of the eucalyptus leaves and hardy spinifex grasses; and white, for clouds, gum-tree trunks and the bones of roadkill that litter the side of the road.. I would have liked to have stayed a bit longer to explore the gorges properly but the Swiss couple were reminiscent of stereotypical Japanese tourists: arrive at car park, walk to lookout, take picture, back to car. To me they didn't seem moved by the amazing spectacle before them and were rather non-plussed. Though I suppose I might be a bit similar when it comes to looking at pieces of Art. I mean what's the minimum amount of time you need, say, to look at the Mona Lisa, to get the entire "fantasticness" of it. So maybe I'm being a tad cynical. Either way the park was spectacular and I definitely found it highly rewarding.

From there we made a bee-line north to Port Hedland, Australia's main port for raw materials (e.g. iron ore) export, where I am at this very moment.

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