Where have all the people gone?

Trip Start Apr 13, 2011
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Trip End Jul 13, 2011


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, April 29, 2011

Funny, after being so reluctant to stay in Menzies, I slept incredibly well. It was a bit weird, waking up virtually on the steps of the Town Hall, and in the middle of the main street, especially when the first thing you do is wander over to the toilet block in your jarmies, in full view of all the passers-by. Never mind, I am shameless already, after only two weeks "out west". I'm not sure how I will fit back into city living again, although at least in Birkenhead territory, it’s also OK to go to the supermarket in your jarmies or your inside-out T-shirt from yesterday. 

Getting fuel in Menzies was a bit of a challenge. The petrol station had closed - that is, the people who own it put a fence around it and decided to make it their private home. Very cosy! A very detention-centre-like look, maybe it will take off in other towns, who knows? They left the bowsers in place, and obviously struck a lucrative deal with one of the fuel companies, because if you can decipher the weird instructions on the pump, it is actually possible to fill your car up. However, first you have to endure the humiliation of a bloke in a blue singlet coming out after about 20 minutes of swearing and carrying on to have a laugh at how noone ever gets it right, and he then has a cackle about the first receipt you got from the machine, which reads $999,999. We weren't sure where we were going to put nearly a million dollars worth of unleaded, nor how poor old Serge the Subi was going to carry it. Turns out that the "hand lever" you are supposed to pull is some gadget that doesn't look anything like it is a moving part. It didn't seem the time to explain the nuances of the English language, unless we wanted gappy smiles that matched our host's, so we politely said thanks and hightailed it out of there.

On to Leonora, via a few more ghost towns. We stopped in Kookynie, thinking there'd be a township of sorts to look at. Turns out the hotel is the last surviving relic, and almost everything else really is a ghost. We stopped for a beer at the pub, and were joined at the bar by the two local policemen, who had stopped in for a fried onion and cheese sandwich with chips (IN the sandwich, yuck!) and a chat with the newcomers. It was a very jolly interlude and threw up two more possible options for a career change - running a bar with almost no business, or working a beat where there's no trouble! The timing was not right this time, either, so we continued on our journey ...

Paddy’s mate in Leonora (someone who visited the camp earlier in the year) turned out to be a hoot – and an incredible source of interesting and useful information. We have forgotten most of it, as he spoke so fast and with such passion that, whilst you were engrossed in the story, this stopped you from remembering to take notes down the finer details. He wasn’t very encouraging about the situation of the local indigenous folk, and a walk down the main street before dinner at the "whiteys’" pub unfortunately confirmed what he had said.


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