Friday, 16 March 2012

Braidwood to Ulladulla

Didn't get to see Andy's wife; he said she was upstairs recuperating from an operation. Maybe she was a giant lightbulb. Halfway between Braidwood and the coast I found out what was meant when people had asked if I was "going down the mountain"; there was this exhillerating steep, twisting, downhill section that went on and on. It featured hairpin bends, escape ramps, the smell of burning rubber and a top speed of 41 mph - would have been faster had it not been for the caravan in front. The vibrations were something else and I made a mental note to check my nuts at the bottom. It was bloody humid today and I was sweating so much that even the notebook inside my bumbag was wet. The much awaited coast (hadn't seen the sea yet) was a bit disappointing, as Bateman's Bay was full to the gunnels with middle-aged tourists mooching about and they all seemed to have hideous English accents. Funny how the accents of your countrymen irk when abroad. Busy, fast road up the coast. I say on the coast, but actually inland a bit, with side roads going to each beach. I hope it's not going to be like this all the way to Cairns. Bloody cars and their stupid, ignorant drivers. Sometimes on fast roads, as a cyclist, I have this feeling of seperatedness from the rest of humanity and it seems that everyone else is in an angry rush. Just because (as someone who chooses to go from A to B as much as possible by bike) I'm in the minority (by about 1,000,000 : 1) it doesn't necessarily follow that I'm crazy, and to me it feels like all these twits in their speeding, hermetically sealed boxes are the insane ones.

Then dark clouds amassed, then there was thunder and lightning, then there was a downpour. I took refuge as best I could under a scantilly-leaved tree and donned a coat. Half an hour later and much cooler, it stopped and I continued northwards. The rain came back in waves for the remaining 15 miles and I didn't want to stop because I would get cold. The rain was so heavy at times that cars actually slowed to below 70mph and some even pulled over. It was quite enjoyable actually - once you're soaked to the skin you give up caring and even noticing that it's raining. The frogs, of course, were loving it, and were croaking even louder. Their sexual playground was enlarging and they were touting their wares for all they were worth.

It was when I reached the turn-off to Mollymook that I unzipped my bumbag (to look at the tiny printed out map of the location of tonight's couchsurfer) that I discovered that now the contents were wet with rain rather than sweat. Horror of horrors, my signature on the traveller's cheques was blurred almost out of recognition. The map itself was damaged too, but I could just about follow it to the large (regular size here) house where Kath and Brian lived with some of their children, Gemma and Nathan, two miniature poodles, cat and chickens (apparently 20% of Austraian households have poultry). A very tasty curry was soon whipped up and bite-sized tiny aubergines nestled amidst it's many ingredients. Then we all repaired to the lounge with ice cream and berries in brandy baskets to watch Ian Thorpe (of the size 17 feet) lose his comeback freestyle race in the Nationals - meaning he will not be going to the Olympics. A giant bogey sat above his lip as he was being interviewed and we all howled with laughter. Then there was football (what they call rugby) between the Tigers and the Dragons and I tried to follow it as best I could.