Sunday, 15 April 2012

Rockhampton to Emu Park

I was very reluctant to leave the breakfast table, let alone straddle my bicycle once again, such was my pleasure in basking in the warmth emanating from my hosts, as we talked so freely and easily about evrything from road rules to recycling. But leave it I did and continued on this crazy, relentless mission of mine. On the map of the country in the guest's room it looked even further from Rocky to Townsville, than the previous stretch to Brisbane. My bottom was suitably fortified by this rest stop, yet it would soon throb once more.

Bidding farewell to Rocky, Adrian headed east to the coast, feeling reinvigorated and mellowed, even with a stiff head wind to contend with. Now north of the Tropic of Capricorn and surf beaches (because of the reef). From the huge coal port and beef capital of Australia to the tiny resort of Emu Park, where I sat, overlooking a choppy, coffee-coloured bay, propped up against a monkey puzzle tree and a chicken roll the size of my head. The idyllic scene was somewhat spoiled by the smell of dog poo - and then I discovered I'd sat in it. Luckily I removed the soiled shorts, as I wear a padded cycling pair underneath (together with a fleece permanently tied at the waist to cushion my derriere). There's a Ladies' Beach here; and the Singing Ship, a musical sculpture commemorating the bicentennial of Captain Cook landing nearby. I had to wait to photograph this white edifice, before a mooning couple finished their canoodling in front of it (I think he'd just proposed to her as she seemed to be regarding at a ring on the appropriate finger).

Spent a very enjoyable evening in the company of another Dave, a Couchsurfer iving in a beautiful, Swiss chalet style barn, which he had built himself from a single 'black wood' tree. Parts of it (eg supporting pillars) were whole, thick branches and other parts (eg the kitchen work surfaces) were smoothly varnished - with the bark left on at the edges. Dave is a hunky, charismatic guy, who goes abroad for several months of the year due to the success and seasonality of his air conditioning business. He likes Asia best because of the culture, food, cheapness - and because its warmth means he can pack light - he only takes a tiny rucksac containing one change of clothes, a second pair of footwear, toiletries bag and guide book. I also met his flatmates : Marita, a coalmine 'truckette', Steve, a bus driver soon to return to his home town of Brisbane, and Richard, who works as a chef, but has aspirations to study physics (and told me of his theories on using mercury to create gravity). Apart from Dave, they were all very pale - especially Richard, who was almost the colour of his work tunic.

In his super duper, softly lit kitchen, where he looked very inch the TV chef himself, Dave knocked up grilled chicken coated in cornflakes, and then we played pool and snooker. I slept outside on the deck in a proper bed with a mosquito net. It was a tad windy, yet I liked the feeling of it and slept pretty well.

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