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Monday 22 Sep 2003
Derby, Australia

More car fixations...

Right lots more to update so here goes...

18 Sept 2003

So I DIDT end up leaving... stayed here another night by the lake cuz I felt like chilling out...

19 Sept 2003

Left Kununurra and passed a long way across country through Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

These towns are very different from those Ive seen elsewhere in Oz since the majority of the people are aboriginal. Plus (and possibly as a result of this) they are quite friendly and say "gday" as they pass rather than walk by without looking as I was used to. It makes a welcome change!

At one point I explored off the road in Fitzroy X-ing and ended passing through a "drinking-allowed park" which was full of locals straying across the road drunk out of their skulls.. almost hit a few guys by accident. It was near to a caravan park I was thinking of staying at.. but quickly changed my mind. Its sad to see this though since alchohol is the true bane of aboriginal society and alco abuse is a serious problem with them. Thankfully most communities in the outback forbid alcohol to be brought in so this problem is only restricted to the big towns.

Stayed at a lay-by that night on the way to Derby...

20 Sept 2003

On my way to Derby I took a quick trip into the West Kimberleys. Up until this point I was forced to drive along the main Great Northern Highway to go west, which unfortunately completely bypasses the beautiful Kimberley mountain region. There IS a road that goes through but its completely corrugated and not suitable for my van.

Anyhoo... before arriving into Derby, I took a detour along a "mostly-bitumen" road toward Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek... It was fine getting there.. UNTIL the bitumen ran out. Then I ended up traversing some of THE most nightmarish corrugation Ive had to endure so far. Some of the dips were about 10 cm deep. Basically my car became a vibrating-bed-on-wheels. This clearly wasnt good since after I came back from my trip to the Gorge my car wouldnt start!

Needless to say, the gorge was beautiful.. full of crocs sunbathing and resting on the surface of the water, mouths open. The gorge was in fact an ancient coral-sea landscape so there were fossils and prehistoric coral in abundance.

But... back to the car. Well I was screwed. No sooner had I contemplated having to wait in the desert heat for days on end than a kindly ranger came along who JUST HAPPENED to be a part-time car mechanic. Luck of the Irish again? Begorrah!

Soon I was off... my car was ok as long as I didnt stop and turn it off so it was a race back to Derby before my oil ran out or my petrol was low. Thankfully neither of these happened and I only ended up getting one puncture.. a slow one so I didnt have any trouble getting to a caravan park.

Unfortunately I had to give Tunnel Creek a miss...

That night, in the caravan park, I met the "very eccentric" art dealer: Jane. Shes a white woman living in the caravan park who shares her caravan with several aboriginal artists.. a few of them sleep on the floor of her caravan. Shes very flighty... a bit difficult to understand (constant references to gypseys from Ireland pepper her converstations with me) but a nice kindly woman all the same...

I bought a boab-tree nut carving that was made by one of the artists for the bargain 10 dollars (the selling price would be about 100-200!).

I also met Nelson, an aboriginal man that is a true master at the boab-tree nut carving artform. He was taught by his father and he was sharing tales with me of his upbringing amongst his tribe. He showed me the scars he "earned" for completing various tasks that are required as part of the aboriginal mans initiation ceremony. When he was twelve he was led out to the outback, blindfolded, then left alone there for 7 days to fend for himself. While there he had one spear. He had to kill and bring back a kangaroo within the time given to him.

Very interesting... and he also seemed to enjoy the fact that I was interested. Most aboriginals dont talk much about their culture in my experience. I think theres an element of trust involved so that they dont tell their secret stories to "just anybody". Henceforth Jane has christened me "her nephew" and "Aunt Jane"/"Uncle Nelson" are my new relatives.


21 Sept 2003

Spent ENTIRE day cleaning out my car... sick of all the super-fine dust that has built-up inside from all my corugated-road "adventures"

NEVER am I going on another corugated road in this car!!!

My carved boab-tree nut has started cracking unfortunately...


Tried to drop the car in for another service and electrical fixing (have to fix the mobiliser which seems to have fallen down around my feet after going on all the corrugated roads!) but no luck so earliest is tommorrow morning...

Eccentric "Auntie Jane" has kindly let me use her parking space as an area to camp tonight for free...

Also I replaced my cracking boab-tree nut carving with one made by "Uncle Nelson".. hes a true master in every sense. Been doing them since he was taught by his father at 12.

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