September 23rd 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

Tony and Chris

The really big news of the morning, which we heard first broadcast over the radio, + then from Tony as he knocked on our door for our early morning call, was that Australia II, still battling in the finals of the Americas Cup, had pulled it back to 3-2 down in the best of 7 final.  Very good news, as the Americans have seemed to have been such bad sports about the whole thing.

A bite of breakfast, then we travelled in to town with Tony to collect our money.  Left our packs behind, since we were all coming back again during the morning.  In fact, we didn’t need to travel in at all, except that it was more interesting to look at Brisbane rather than sit at home.  Until  the bank opened, we left Tony to make some phone calls while we shopped + strolled around Brisbane.  They had a simply splendid Army Surplus store, where we bought an excellent clasp knife + a water bottle, + could, if we had been at home + so didn’t have to carry the stuff, have bought a whole lot more.  Oil lamps, bugles, plates, clothes – marvellous.  And then we killed an hour or so by wandering around, tho’ I hardly think we did Brisbane justice.  Our stroll was random, + of extremely short duration.

Back to the office, + then to the bank, where Tony coughed up the danegeld, before we retraced our steps once again to Woolloowin, the suburb where Tony lived.  Picked up our bags, + then Tony was kind enough to drive us out to Apsley, quite a distance really, dropping us off at a service station on the main highway out.  Tony had been very kind indeed, far more than I had expected or, indeed, deserved, in view of my opinion of him.  I feel he is a sad man, whose life, at its twilight, has dulled.  And he lives in the fantasy dream of the salesman, where things are as he would like them to be rather than as they are.  I could see John Bush becoming like him as he becomes older.  Not so much death, but decline + fall of a salesman.

The sun was burning down, + we waited for about 30 mins or so, so were grateful to accept a ride from a middle-aged couple which, altho’ not far, would, they told us, drop us in the shade.  Our hearts fell when we saw the spot they took us to.  Right on the highway, virtually a motorway, + the shady spot merely the place underneath the overpass.  What was worse, there were 2 other hitchers a little further down the road.   So we decided to do the decent thing +m walk beyond them.  Where we prepared ourselves for a very long wait, + still in the heat of the sun.  However, much to our amazement, a few minutes later a car screamed to a stop just ahead of us, by-passing, I believe, our 2 competitors.  It was a young couple, + another youngish girl in the back, all on holiday down in the Brisbane area.  It was a bit of a squeeze, but it was a big hired car, + air-conditioned too, so very comfortable.  From what they said, we didn’t expect to be with them for very long, but really it was quite a hefty ride.  They were nice people too.  They suggested it would be a good idea for us to make a slight detour out to the coast road, + then  north to a place called Noosa Heads, + as they were going part of the way themselves, we agreed.

Our next ride, by contrast, was uncomfortable + mercifully short.  Tho’ it was interesting enough, being in a pick-up with a grumpy guy best described as a “character”.  He had pronounced + definite opinions – on everything, I imagine, but chiefly the ones we received were on race.  Melbourne was full of “wogs, wops, + slopeheads”, + black + white people couldn’t get along together.  It seemed rude + not very sensible to point out that Australia had been a black man’s country in the first place, so we didn’t.  Tho’ perhaps we should.

Much more pleasant + interesting was our next ride, with another “character”.  Or 2.  Or 3, counting the baby in the back seat.  But she slept most of the time.  John + Carrie were a couple, he enormous, she slight, with, they told us, a patch of land out in the middle of Queensland.  They aimed for self-sufficiency, + were full of big ideas,  but we didn’t get to know them well enough to tell whether they were realistic.  (“The pie in the sky turned out to be way too high.”)  Most refreshing tho’, they had a good sense of humour.  Nice people.  They dropped us off at a beach, where we both, this time, braved the water.  It was excellent for body-surfing, so I really enjoyed it.  That is just about the only aquatic activity I enjoy.

However it was back on the road time soon enough, + we were lucky to get a ride all the way to Noosa from an old lady.  She was a bit disconcerted by our packs, had stopped, she said, because of our faces.  Had never given a ride before, which is always a nice ride to get.  It shows that something in one’s hitching tactic is working. 

She dropped us right at the camp-site, so were able to pitch tent, then go looking for some fish + chips.  Regrettably, Noosa is a very expensive place, + there was nothing which fitted our purse, so back to the camp-site for cheesy stew.  Chatted, first with Ben + Lambert, 2 university researchers on, it seemed, a boys’ trip out.  They both had families, so I presume it was as innocent as that.  Then with Tony, a telephone salesman (insurance) who can’t have been doing too badly out of it, as he had a nice motor.  He gave us a lift to the pub, + there we had a couple of drinks together,  but it’s a good job they had a video juke box, as the conversation wasn’t inspiring.  Enjoyed the videos tho’.

More aq case of making progress north than anything of note to comment upon.

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