Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

Outback. The myth, the reality.

The myth:

You won't see anyone else for hours on the roads.

Be sure to carry at least fifty liters of water because you might be stuck somewhere for days.

You can't get much to eat anywhere, so pack plenty of food.

You'll experience quiet nights full of stars.

The locals you'll meet will be colorful characters with plenty of stories to tell.

The reality:

You will experience traffic jams in the middle of fucking nowhere. Two hundred kilometres up the Oodnadatta Track, you will find yourself trapped behind a Victorian family towing an overloaded trailer, dust in your face, and with so much oncoming traffic you can't possibly pass them.

If you did break down, it would take on average one hundred and twenty seconds for another vehicle to pull up. They probably have an espresso maker somewhere in their caravan, so being thirsty would not be a problem.

Every tiny town along the way will have at least two places to eat. At least one will be selling cappuccino - in fact, you will see ads for cappuccino every ten k at the least. Apparently Australians are roo poo raving mad for cappuccinos. Who knew? And one in ten places to eat will in fact be a gourmet cafe kind of joint, with quandong sauce kangaroo fillet served with some kind of coulis. Fair dinkum!

You may see stars, but only faintly because you cannot get away from other people on holiday who build huge campfires every night. It will not be quiet because there will be generators, dogs, children, and tapes of Reba McEntire. After ten nights of this, you will wonder why it is you didn't just drive to someplace like Tonopah, where you can easily find dark, quiet nights just outside town. Hmm.

The locals you meet will have multiple degrees in hospitality from a major Australian university. They may have stories, but they will be too busy setting up the buffet for the tour bus that's coming down the Birdsville Track in a bit to tell you any. They will seem generically Australian, but with a pressed shirt on. If there are locals, they are apparently not allowed in the towns as they might upset the tourists, who apparently demand only clean, well-groomed white people with blindingly white smiles.
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