We got an ear full about loud Aboriginals in this town. At the caravan park the manager told us not to worry if loud yelling came from the house next door which housed Aboriginals from bush communities in town for a few days. We asked him if he thought the yelling might just be a cultural thing we couldn’t understand. “No, it’s because they are a violent people who have no respect for anyone else and no respect for themselves.” We didn’t get into it. He has painted a picture of his neighbors he is comfortable with, and is not interested in understanding subtle differences. His painting is black and white, and he likes it that way. Nice man otherwise.
October 21. Wudinna. Wheatfields, bins (elevators in North America) railroad tracks through the center of town, neat houses and gardens, shops closed Saturdays, the loudest noise the buzzing of flies. This could be any one of a couple dozen Great Plains (of North America) towns we have cycled through. One delightful difference: men in white slacks, white shirts and white broad brimmed hats bowling on a billiard flat lawn. On the other side of the Wudinna and Districts Bowling Club; women also all in white, skirts, blouses and large sun hats, also bowling. In wonder if they mix for a cuppa after? The bowling club is open for guests on Tuesdays. Oh that it were Tuesday.
Earlier we had been directed by a man holding a Bible. His church had just finished a garage saleand a few lingered around a picnic table to pray for church members. The streets were wide and still Saturday noon. The man was very nice. I sensed his prayers would be simple, sincere and direct.
Early this morning we stopped at Poochera for some beans, bickeys and a cold drink, at the roadhouse. We were in a sunny mood. The proprietor looked unhappy. We tried to cheer her by praising the weather, local landscape and her town. The seemed to prefer being unhappy. In one corner, on a draped card table, were arranged many religious tracts, praising Jesus as the way to salvation. They were faded blue from the windows, and time, and dusty. She was making the public gesture half-heartedly, and betraying the truth of her soul in her countenance.
Magpies For Breakky
October 22 Bush camp. This one was a hard one to find. Everything is fenced now, so it is hard to get out of sight of a road. This one was down a dirt track 500 metres and was fairly well hidden, but we didn’t have a fire since it was Saturday night.
Australia all over on the radio Sunday morning.. Macca always plays a recording of magpies, and that attracted the attention of our local magpies, who joined in all around our bush camp, singing loud and close. It was magical. They knew what the radio magpies were saying!
October 24. Port Arthur. First day off in 17, and 1860 kilometres. Nothing hurts, but a day doing anything but riding Zippy seems a very wonderful idea. Pleasant town. An Aboriginal man approached us on the street. Big smile. Well dressed and clean, he spoke intelligently, and slowly enough for us to understand. He taught me to pronounce several Aboriginal words. Handshakes, slaps on the back and a hug when I did particularly well on a difficult word. I smelled some alcohol, not much. He was proud of his culture and wanted to write a book for tourists sharing it. Before he left, more as an afterthought than anything else, he asked for 50 cents to by something to drink, and “Pull myself together.” I told him he had earned more than 50 cents but gave it to him. What can you buy to drink for 50 cents? I enjoy their physicality and directness. He ignored Claire completely. That too is cultural.