We are in a little town called Kondinin, population 313, and it is 40C as I write.
A sign proclaims the fire danger to be “catastrophic”. It is stiflingly hot, and very dry. It almost hurts to breathe and my eyes burn with the heat. Overnight we slept in the town community park and it was comfortable – we also had the use of a washing machine in the toilet block, so did some housekeeping.
We have just walked around this tiny town and it took us a good ten minutes – then we stopped at an old house proclaiming itself to be a café where we sat in someone’s lounge room and were served by one of the smallest dwarfs I have ever seen. And played noughts and crosses.
We didn’t see anyone else at all. Where are the 313 people? The shops are all closed (except the café in the lounge room with comfy chairs and doilies and tea set just like my mum’s)
John has singlehandedly made the executive decision to travel on an allegedly “good” dirt road to Norseman, shortening our journey by some 400 km. Hmm. 255km of dirt road. I am praying that it is not corrugated, otherwise we may not arrive until next Tuesday!
Wave Rock was an interesting waystop and sporting our fly nets, we joined some Japanese tourists for photographs by the rock, which is rather beautiful with its striped undulating surface. The dark stripes are caused by lichen and algae, and the undulations by wind and water over millions of years.
So – on to the dirt road. It was surprisingly good because it is used by the mine trucks and is graded regularly, but its Saturday and although we passed two nickel mines we only saw 5 other vehicles in 300km. The landscape is beautiful for its barren ugliness and I loved this peaceful drive through desert, mulga and wildflowers.
And then something bizarre happened.
A bare chested man wearing pink tights and carrying a plastic male torso appeared. All by himself, just walking along a red dirt road in the middle of the desert 2 hours from habitation. We stopped, of course, to pick him up. But no, he didn’t want to come. “I pride myself on being an eccentric’” said he, “and this is the craziest thing I could think of. It’s a bit like Monty Python, isn’t it”.
“Do you have any water with you?”, says I, stating the obvious because I could see that he definitely wasn’t carrying any water.
“Nah”, says he. Don’t need it. But can you take my photo and email it to me? Here’s my card.” And off he went.
Here he is, and here is his card.
Still shaking my head…..
I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole, just like Alice.
We stopped at an enormous salt lake and walked upon its crustiness until we started to sink in mud, and laughed a lot. In 40 degrees. Wearing fly nets.
When dusk began to fall, we pulled off the road and parked in a little clearing under some trees. Dusk isn’t a good time to be driving: not for us, and not for the kangaroos. We ate under the stars, and reflected upon how lucky we are.
It was an excellent day! But a very strange one…..
*A tiny town with no people except the dwarf who served us morning tea in her lounge room while we played noughts and crosses.
*A rock in the middle of nowhere that looked like it belonged under a surfboard. With Japanese tourists.
*A crazy man in a pink leotard and a pink walking stick and pink earphones not connected to anything in the middle of the desert and not carrying any water.
*Dancing like idiots in searing heat on a salt lake.
And – best of all – communing with the stars on a still night with nary a soul for miles.