The night was cool alright, maybe 8° C, but the day felt a lot like Wellington summer. With all the green that is still around, it is really hard for us to fully comprehend that this is winter. Be it as it may, we are enjoying it. A whole day of sunshine and agreeable temperatures. Maybe even a little bit too cold still for hanging around in the shade all day.
Right, what were we up to today? Well, for the most part, all these little things that needed doing but we did not get to on a normal travel day. A good bunch also required internet / phone connectivity, so around mid-morning we called it and decided on a rest day (i.e. staying in the Hawker camp ground).
The army surplus haversacks-made-tank-pannier we picked up in Auckland have proven themselves over the last week as excellent temporary (food) storage. Therefore, with an extra buckle and strap Nina has turned them into a permanent solution. I am very pleased with the final result, and the $35 price tag for the lot is a sweet bonus.
I have been busy with more general titbitty stuff: Load new audio books onto the Garmin; order spare parts and minor bits of kit to Darwin (including Nina’s Compañero pants); post the last blog entry; PC maintenance and a bunch of emails.
Last of all, I called my contact for shipping the bike from Darwin to Dili to get the dates and a confirmation that they are still the right place to go through (don’t laugh, it was a fun little daisy chain of “we don’t do that anymore” to get to them in the first place). The news was average: There are two sailings we could aim for – first with a cut-off of the 22nd of September, the other one on 1st of October. The first would mean a mad rush, but unfortunately the second sailing has a 9 day wait from cut-off to departure, probably another 3-4 days until we can start to free our bike in Dili.
For now, we are aiming for the 1st, knowing that these dates are famously sketchy from what we have learned from other travellers. So there might be hope.
After all was done and I went out to shop for another abysmal meal (when the petrol station is also the tourist info and the supermarket, not too much can be expected from me in terms of tastiness).
Around 3 pm, we finally had everything done and were ready to at least do a little bit of sight-seeing for the day. We headed south with a light bike to go on a little hike from the abandoned homestead of Kanyaka. After some minor challenges (all due to bad signposting, I swear), we found the ruins of the homestead and went on our way to visit the “death rock”, a distinct boulder marking a water hole. The bolder was used by the local Adnyamathanha people to bar their dead, hence the name. Oh, and we got our emu-spotting ticked off the list 😉
After that, we headed back to Hawker to check out another lookout signposted from town. Unfortunately, once there we found out that the actual lookout was another 20 min walk out from the car park. With the sun setting already, we took the views from the road and headed back to camp for some food and blogging.
A small side note at the end: We have been welcomed warmly if a little gruff by the majority of Australians we encounter. But within not even 10 minutes, a lot of these encounters exhibit something that John Oliver once brilliantly worded as: “Australians are comfortably racist”. The mere fact that we were the only ones to cringe when an old chap during a roadside stop peaked his crown jewel of a joke with: “and then the blackfella said” …
In other news: Nina is neither amused by the warmth nor by the bazingillon flies …