Another Country Diary
Links to images and other pages are in blue. These entries are broken up into weeks, or when the page gets too image heavy.
October -2 November.
More Songs about Buildings and Food Pt.1
me know when it's safe to watch another movie in-flight. Six
monitors in front of me, two of them flat screens on the bulkheads, all
with different colour casts and none of them showing a good picture. Oh
well, reading makes the time pass just as well. I started the new
Umberto Eco Baudalino, and Jan raced through Tim Winton's Dirt
Music so we swapped. Both were appropriate for the journey. What Journey you
A week in Western Australia visiting friends in Kalgoorlie and then driving to the coast and around to Margaret River. Since I've been back I've been trying to find time to write all this down, so I'm going to put up all the images, some quick comments and then go back with more detail as I get time. It's a bit away from the 'Country Diary' experience, but it's me, and fits that 1978 Talking Heads album title just fine.
Out of the airport into Perth heat. Five minutes traveling in the hire car and we discovered the All Travelers Motel, of such pre-fab Californian beauty that it had to be recorded. It's a set built for Wim Wenders or perhaps a setting for some modern horror movie. From the power cables threaded through the palm trees and cactus I'm afeared that they have fairy lights in them at night. Like Bill Bryson I have an attraction to strange roadside motels. I may have to revisit this one. (Image 700pixels wide. 120k)
Be careful how you say it, the locals don't like you saying Free-mantle,
it's Frr-mantle. No matter how we said it, we didn't get to stay
there. We arrived on a Food and Wine Festival weekend, streets were closed
off, no accommodation available anywhere, so we decided to explore a bit and move on.
get to Kalgoorlie by following the pipeline. It stays on your left
hand side and along with the railway line and the road, it hardly bends
in the whole length of it. (You get anxious when it crosses briefly or
you lose sight for a while.)
Jan knew more about the history and significance of the pipeline and its politics then I did, because of her research for the Centenary of Federation advertising. All I knew was from my school days. That it allowed the mines at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie to be opened on a large scale and even today it supplies the whole of the town's water. Which is something of a sore point to Perth people who don't have enough water for their own growth. Next year is the 100th anniversary of its construction so I'm sure we'll all hear more about it.
the tourist banners on the road into Northam, amongst the 'Avon Valley -
home of recreational aerial sports' images, was one of the pipeline. It
was not a very surprising attraction after having watched the pipe for the
last 100k. but hey, accentuate your positives.
|In a country of black swans this white one on a nature strip in a suburban street looked like a garden ornament. Until it moved. There's a notice beside the river that tells how the white swans were introduced to Northam in the 1900s. It appears that the Avon River in Northam is the only place in Australia where the birds have found a natural breeding ground. The swans are fed each day by locals.|
drove out past the edge of town, past a few humpy's and
aboriginals sleeping in the dust of a council yard. The sunset light was getting more
intense and then we came to the large cemetery, stretched
over a large area of a hill side. It had a one way U-shaped access road that lead me past
increasingly photogenic tombstones glowing blue in the fading
Australian author Katharine Susannah Prichard who lived in the town, tells the story of when her husband, Captain Hugo Throssell, the first Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross, arrived home from the First World War in 1915 to a hero's welcome.
|I tossed a mental coin and chose the bigger of the town's Chinese restaurants for dinner. There were a group of young girls out front, all dressed up and sexy in an innocent small town way. They were grouped together in the street lights, just roaming the foot path outside the restaurant in the warm air. When we went inside we found that it was one of those girls birthday. There was a long table of adults winding down from her party. As we ate we tried to pick who were the parents, uncles, and aunts. We watched as a young mum with the only child at the party, didn't even try to hide her pride as the new baby was passed around, eclipsing the attention on her sister whose birthday it was.|
|We were joined at our table by a nun. Slightly hunchbacked, with a round stomach and a big smile, she made some pleasantries then confided that each Saturday night she came to the restaurant, said hello to the kitchen staff and did a round of the tables chatting to the customers. She then was given some take-away which she took across the road to share with some 'nice friends in the deli'. She wasn't in a hurry, had stopped for a slice of birthday cake, but I followed her to the door to ask if I could take her picture. She thanked me.|
back down the near empty street to the motel, the glow of the sign for
and women's clothing store washed out onto the roadway. From the street
level you couldn't see the faces of the mannequins. As you'll see from
the few larger photos,
the window models are as otherworldly beautiful as the neon.
Then lying in the warm hotel room with the curtains and sliding window open to let in air, listening to dogs in a backyard barking nearby, sleeping that night was very disturbed. Our body clocks were out of whack. We were awake and left early, to miss driving in the heat of the day, and headed to Kalgoorlie.
Pt.3 Esperance - Denmark,
Pt.4 Margaret River
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