The land of G’Day!
The almost universal greeting in Oz is “G’Day”, and when you say ‘thank you’ to someone for their help, the reply is invariably “No worries, mate, no worries”. When I say “hello” or “good morning”, I immediately identify myself as a Pom.
Now, I’ve had a bit of fun recently, when introducing myself. I’ve used the following introduction: “Hi, I’m Frank, a whinging Pom”……and then waited for the reaction. It has invariably caused a smile, and quickly broken the ice and, of course they kindly say that I don’t look like a whinger. However I used that introduction with a couple two days ago, and they simply looked at me totally bemused. They didn’t understand the inference. Why? Well, they were Canadians!
Today’s route, Eden to Cann River, was going to be a full day (120km/75m), but I never bargained for the “tundra” I was about to cross. This was the day for going south “to Mexico”, in other words crossing the border between NSW and Victoria.
The map marked communities along the way, even with services and amenities…….but the reality was very different. Even the village of Genoa had nothing, its only cafe having recently closed. Nor was there drinking water. The only water came directly from the river. A kind couple with a caravan filled my bottle from their personal supply. 120km (75m) without services! That is the longest stretch I’ve done. And fortunately, I had stocked up on sufficient emergency rations.
Close to the state border, I met my first fellow cyclist in over 500km, going in the opposite direction. Roger had been born in the UK, but has been living in Norway for over 40 years. After 2 minutes chatting to him, I realised we were garments cut from the same cloth. He had just spent a few weeks touring Tasmania, and was now completing the considerable distance between Melbourne and Brisbane. And I took careful note of the Surly bicycle he was riding……with even wider tyres than mine!
Victoria has an imaginative series of road signs dedicated to getting you to check your own fitness to drive. But what about the weary cyclist? Having microsleeps on the saddle……I say no more. I would never do it, of course!
So now I’m in Cann River, checked into the simplest of campsites, but it does have showers. The aptly named “primitive sites” generally only include ‘long-drop toilets’, and water will come from a stream. I have to say, a shower at the end of a long day in the saddle is a non-negotiable luxury.
To conclude, with a startling revelation: Kiwis are not singular in their ‘drive-by donations’. Today I had two cars pull alongside me and hand money through the window. I begin to see Aussies in a new light…..
Children in Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1