Hats Off For Snakes & Millionaires

For the quick-fix readers who will soon realize that this is yet another whopping 4-minute read and end up quickly browsing the pictures and move on; do at least scroll down and read the bold text, it might save your life 🙂

We were burning all the hundreds of branches we had collected over the summer holiday. After every bit of bad weather, Camp Moogerah’s massive green lawns were littered with dead foliage which we duly collected to make the property look presentable for the school camps. Now the time had finally come to torch the fruit of our work.

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“My alchol-infused brain, however, insisted on knowing more about how to murder a snake…”

The neighbours came over for a barbecue in the light of the blaze. Richard and Joan are millionaires and I worked for them. Anton and I had given their property a thorough trim with whipper-snippers, lawn-mowers and hedge cutters. Pleased with our effort, they invited us for dinner and drinks; two nomads with calloused hands and broken shoes sitting in a sparkling white leather couch, eating Black Angus steaks, each pound of meat worth more than half a day’s wages for us. Damn fine steak I tell you, and great company too.

As we watched the flames eat away our pile of stick-pickings, I ended up chatting to Richard. He is from Western Queensland. To anyone who knows a bit of Australian geography, Western Queensland means hardship, tough times and leathery skin. Born nearly 70 years ago, Richard grew up on the edges of the great inland deserts, where the land is like a cracked heel; dry, furrowed and painful. He didn’t come from money, he came from farmers and hard work – “yakka” they call it here – and Richard still does a hard day’s yakka every day, beginning at sunrise, tending to the nearly 100 premium horses he breeds for the glamorous race-tracks of Australia’s big cities.

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Not all snake encounters are serious…


Beating Around The Bush In A Bus

I caught a ride through Australia, hitching with Timmo from Finland and Ben from Mullumbimby in a fine Toyota Coaster. Eardrum and Ananda were the generous stewards of this old beauty of a bus, and the stories of their adventures could easily have taken us all around Australia a couple of times.

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Chillin’ in the bush on the Gregory Development Road. That’s Eardrum saying fuck you mate. Don’t take it personal. He’s actually a great guy. Just make sure he eats.

They were leaving only 30km from where I was at, and they drove me about 2100 km North (yes I know there are 2 zeros there). Three days of driving and we’re still in the same country. We took the inland road instead of the coast. Bush. More bush. Bush. Sleep. Bush. Bit of desert. Bush, bush, bush then sleep. Then bush, bush, bush, bush, desert, bush, bush and then suddenly tropical mountains.

The five of us were damn near delirious when we celebrated our 3 days of solid driving with fish’n’chips & beers in cosy Kuranda – the village in the rainforest. Along the way we had seen and felt the endless miles of shrub and dry heat (Nevada go home), heard the rare sound of our inner songs in the spinning wheels of the bus, and tasted the distances of our lives in the dust on its windscreen.

What a trip. I could tell you a story, but you really did have to have been there…