Broome

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
1
25
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our first morning in Broome, I awoke early and decided to head down to Cable Beach for a bit of jog.  The sun was just up, but was already strong and when I got to the beach, I was glad of the cooling breeze.  Several people had told me that Cable Beach is over-rated.  They are idiots.  Cable Beach is spectacular.  It is the ultimate in beach, made by God when he’d had plenty of practice faffing around and experimenting with shingle, seaweed and high-rise hotels.  He’d got all of that out of His system by the time he got around to this one.  It extends over five kilometres of white sand, curving around the bay. It is protected by untouched dunes - the only buildings are a lifesaving club, a public loo and a café and these are not visible from the beach itself.  The colour of the sea is impossible to describe in it’s purity - all I can say is that the first time anyone sees it, they stop and draw breath.  The best and most incredible thing about this beach is that it was practically empty of people.  Lying stretched out in the sunshine, you could turn your head away, see no-one and imagine that everything you did see belongs to you.  Perfect.

Unfortunately, I had to wait a little while for my first dip in the sea - we had a few errands to run.  We went and got some shopping - a highly enjoyable experience due to the icy air-conditioning, and then we dropped bade farewell to Kurt, Dave and the boys, and dropped our Wicked van off at the depot.  After that, we walked into town and had a look around.  Broome was built on the pearling industry and the mass immigration that it attracted.  As such, it has a multi-cultural history - the main two streets are known as Chinatown, despite boasting only one Chinese restaurant and the town has Chinese, Japanese and Muslim cemeteries.  There were lots of galleries displaying Aboriginal art and lots of tour operators - Broome’s multi-culturalism now lies in the mix of tourists it draws and the vast numbers of twenty-something-year-old travellers who fill all the hospitality jobs in town.

After another coffee stop, we made our way to Cable Beach on the big blue town bus.  We were just in time to watch the sun go down over the ocean - a fiery blaze that spread across the water and turned everyone on the beach into a deep purple silhouette.

The next few days were spent in pleasant idleness - swimming in the Indian Ocean, lying in the sunshine, drinking hot coffee in cool cafes and cold beer in warm bars.  I enjoyed early morning runs along the shore and sunset paddles in the still-warm sea.  There was little else to do and nothing else I’d rather have done.  We had a particular reason for hanging about in Broome - we were waiting for the arrival of Lisa Harris, a friend of mine, recently arrived in Australia, with whom we were to drive to Darwin in a three-seater Wicked.  Lisa shares at least a portion of the responsibility for the damage that university did to my liver and bank balance.  Rumour has it that age is yet to mellow her in  her excesses, so we were looking forward to an interesting trip.

When Lisa arrived, we (characteristically) went straight out for a beer.  We headed to Matso’s, a restaurant with a micro-brewery attached and a reputation for beers with interesting twists, such as mango, chilli and ginger influences.  Their beer menu is extensive and the plan was to work our way through it.  We set off well - the ginger beer was tangy with a real spicy edge; the mango was sweet and full-flavoured without being sickly.  It was at this point that the evening took a turn for the worst for me - my downfall, a large plate of kangaroo curry.  Now, don’t get me wrong - my dinner was beautiful; delicious - too delicious in fact.  I simply had to finish it, despite the fact that the volume of food would have been enough to feed all three of us, with left-overs for tomorrow’s packed-lunches.  Moments after the last morsel had crossed my lips, my triumph was replaced by a most unsettling feeling of fullness that made both sitting and standing - indeed, breathing - very uncomfortable.  Another beer would be an impossible feat, for at least another hour.  Such gluttony.  Luckily, Rhiannon and Lisa were sympathetic and even  agreed to a return trip the following evening, to finish what we’d started.

Other Broome highlights include the taxi-driver who picked us up and turned out to be a Geordie, and our trip to the Sun Cinema, a 90 year-old outdoor cinema.  We sat on canvas deckchairs under the stars (and the Broome airport flight path) and watched a tiny gecko crawl over the screen.  Broome - thumbs up.

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