Monday, 9 April 2012

Hervey Bay to Bargara

I took Dave out to a local cafe with a friend of his. Dave rode his bike shoeless and shirtless, "The Australian way," he laughed. The cafe owner told us he'd been raided for drugs by the police recently because someone had given them a tip off. Dave said the previous owner had been a drug dealer and he knew the individual, a former boyfriend of his ex. Dave's friend, who looked like the Australian actor in Wilfred, a comedy where Elijah Wood sees his dog as a talking man in a dog suit. Dave's friend wasn't wearing a dog suit - not really the climate for such an outfit - although I have seen charity workers in Easter bunny suits. Dave's friend said he could get me a temporary job as a mental health worker (he is a co-ordinator for an organization) which would pay $400 a week. Apparently, as I'm over 31, I would need a sponsor to get a working visa for a year. The bacon and egg muffin, and the flat white (regular coffee) were delicious. Hanging out with these two was a lot of fun and, although I had a heavy mileage, I lingered for a second coffee. They told me my strict cycling schedule was ludicrous and I was missing out on the best part of the whole country; Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.
By the time I made my excuses it was nearly 11. Five miles into the journey I discovered I'd left my phone and beetle book behind and had to go back. By now it was practically 12, stopped for another coffee and chocolate, and it was 12.30. Luckily it was fairly flat and the Bruce Highway wasn't too traffic-laden, so I got my head down and pedalled fast. I was still overtaken by a septagenarian on a road bike. I must get one of them for my next tour. Eric Street bore a sign pointing to "The Friendliest Neighbourhood 2008". What happened there for such an award to be bestowed? Passed drive-in bottle shops and petrol stations, reminding me that life is easy here. Not so much 'the lucky country' as 'the lazy country'.

Turned onto the Isis Highway at Childers, and as it grew dark and I was standing at the roadside scoffing a banana, a man stopped on the other side of the road. He got out of his car, walked towards me and in a soft voice asked me if I was alright. Maybe he was from the friendly neighbourhood. He gave me directions via a short cut, which I'm sure added miles to my journey. However, frustratingly the mileometer went kaput and I don't know how many miles I covered today, although I'm sure it was over 100.

It was 8.30 when I phoned the Warmshowers hosts, as I didn't have a Google street map and needed directions. They drove out to the petrol station, where I realised I shouldn't have made the call, and escorted me. Robyn, a doctor, lives with her husband David, an Asian grocery owner - except he's not Asian. His greeting to me was, "Fucking mad if you ask me. Put a motor on it." Their grown-up son, Tim, was also in attendance, as was his stunning girlfriend, Kim. Amidst the fatties there are a few Elle McPhersons and Mel Gibsons in this land. They were both in the 'computer suite', where a whole room housed about six of the things. They had been to the famous local beach which is a thoroughfare for turtles coming on land to lay eggs. It costs $10 and they didn't see one. While Robyn was chatting away and serving up cold pieces of fried chicken (which in my starved state tasted like caviar) I couldn't help notice Kim over her shoulder in the computer room. Seen from behind, she was standing behind Tim and slightly bent over him. Wearing a very short skirt, her long legs and part of her bottom were on view. To save her modesty, she might have been wearing a thong, but the effect was knickerless. I tried to maintain eye contact with Robyn, really I did. We watched Dante's Peak and Robyn relayed her cycling adventures, mostly without David, who, as his earlier comment illustrates, is not keen on the sport.


  1. Cough, cough, ahem, ahem.... your girlfriend is reading this! Cough, cough.