Saturday, 22 April, 2017
The new plan was to travel to Central Australia and more specifically Uluru – this is a long way from Tasmania, so we made sure that we were fully prepared. We left the state with two big bags of apples, we must have stolen about fifty of them – if you didn’t read my last blog, I was picking fruit for a short while. I feel it’s better for my reputation to clarify that. Otherwise, it just sounds like I’ve been walking around the supermarket stuffing apples up my jumper and pretending I’m pregnant.
The journey required a lot of state changing; to get to Uluru we would need to go through Victoria and South Australia first. The apples, unfortunately, did not make it that far. We only managed to eat six of the fifty, before some bloke with muscles and a hi-vis jacket removed them from our car.
A man standing at the South Australia border was rubbing his hands at the prospect of checking our vehicle – he seemed to assume that we were trouble. He’s going to be gutted when he realises that we don’t actually have any drugs or weapons – while I look like an absolute gangster, I’m actually a pretty clean chap.
“Are you carrying any fruit in the car?” He asked. Damn, I guess I’m not actually that clean after all. I couldn’t exactly talk my way out of this one, forty-four apples are not particularly easy to hide. I didn’t understand why this man wanted to take our breakfast, lunch and dinner. Was he hungry? Had the farm sent him? Were they onto us?
After the bloke found our stash; he was in heaven. He spent the next ten minutes going through our glove compartment and boot – presumably looking for pears and oranges, because anybody with that many apples must also be carrying the harder stuff, right?
In the end, he found and took every last apple – I was fuming. He was absolutely loving it too – his smile got wider with each one he swiped. You’d think the lad had promised his whole neighbourhood apple strudel the way he was going. He’ll be at a care home in his shiny jacket taking away their sugar and flour next, the miserable git.
Apparently, there is a pest going around Australia called a fruit fly. It’s aeroplane is an apple and the fly’s main goal in life is to ruin all the fruit export industries across the country. Thankfully, though, they ignored the two big bags of magic mushrooms that we had sitting next to the apples – so, we still got to travel with our apples. They were just now giant, pink and spinning around the car as we headed down the highway.
We didn’t just drive straight from Tasmania to Uluru – that would be ridiculous. We did have a few rest stops along the way. Most notably, a town called Coober Pedy. The reason this is worth talking about is because we had the unique experience of sleeping underground – I really don’t want to keep banging on about them bloody apples, but it was apple money that bought that experience.
Sure, it was the cheapest accommodation in town – we were picking apples, not sapphires! – But it was a really cool experience nonetheless. Basically, Coober Pedy is an old mining town, where workers used to dig for opal. As it is on the route to Uluru, they’ve turned a few of the caves into hostels – tourists with recent riches lap it up and everybody finishes the day that little bit wealthier (obviously we were richer in experience, not cash; I’ve been juggling socks at the side of the road for change ever since – I reckon apples would have worked better, but, you know).
Coober Pedy also appeared to be a pretty religious place, or at least it has a bunch of underground churches anyway – which I think is a fair indicator. We went to the Catacomb Church, a place I really enjoyed. The people working there were very warm, showed us around, shared details on the history and didn’t ask for anything – which actually usually makes me more inclined to donate to a place, unfortunately, on this occasion I forgot. So if you ever end up at Catacomb Church, please offer them a fiver on my behalf – cheers. I also noticed that the cave had been built into the shape of a cross too, which makes me think that the creators of this place must also be from England and very patriotic.
After our night sleeping in a cave, we drove and drove and drove. And with great sadness, I will now share the story of a tragedy that even surpasses the tale of the confiscated apples. It’s of a suicidal bird that flew head on into our windscreen when we were driving at 100 miles per hour. RIP. Technically speaking, Monica was driving at the time – so, she is the murderer. I’m merely an accomplice. Still, I could get into some pretty serious trouble for a hit and run, I reckon – so, I’d prefer it if you don’t tell anybody.
It was quite the thump when it hit us / we hit it, as well. The incident left us with a fair old mark on the window – nothing too damaging for a car that had been through two world wars, but we were certainly slack-jawed and wide-eyed after that one. If you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel; don’t take a rest or drink a coffee. Hit a bird. That’s what will really wake you up and make you concentrate.
Other than that, we’ve not had any other major casualties – touch wood – and are now only a few miles away from Uluru – I’m really excited to see it tomorrow. I’ve also heard that it will be extremely hot, which is an added bonus. I’ve got some ridiculous tanlines around my ankles because of my socks, so I’ve bought some flip-flops especially for this trip to sort that out – the only reason we’re going to the hottest part of Australia at this time, if I’m truly honest.
I’ll conclude by bragging about that little bit extra that I’ve contributed on this trip to keep spirits high. We’ve had to pack food that is long-lasting and appropriate for such a journey, so it has been my chance to really show off my skills in the kitchen (our car is now also a kitchen) – I’ve been cooking up jam sandwiches, chocolate spread sandwiches and even tuna mayonnaise sandwiches. It can be a lot of work taking up the role of head chef – but when you’ve got the skills, what else can you do? You’re relied upon.