Monday, February 16, 2009
Like any television-reared child of the 60’s, I watched Skippy. Yet in spite of that training, I was still doing something wrong.
Every time I sidled up to one of the kangaroos, stepping quietly, avoiding sudden movements and murmuring in a reassuring tone, they grew tense and did the whole hopping away in blind panic thing. Finally, I saw how the other tourists did it. The preferred method includes running straight up while screaming with delight, offering a handful of potato chips and trying to hitch a ride on their backs.
The funny thing is, once I stopped with the stealth crap, the ‘roos relaxed and we got along just fine. One even curled up for a nap and I was all but spooning him, down in the sand and grass and the nuggets of dried poo like everybody's best mate. As in Australian for buddy, not in any unhealthy cross-species sense.
I only found this place because of the ‘Prize-Winning Pies”sign. It sounded like a welcome break on the drive south from Sydney’s rains. I gambled on the spicy beef curry and quickly got to chatting with Michael and Ian, two blokes sitting one table down. I mentioned I’d been hoping to find kangaroos. They knew just the spot.
“It’s just past Wolongong, on the way toward Murrmurang, hang a left at the dead wombat, pass Kalgoorlie on the track through Wagga Wagga around Oodnadatta and bob’s your uncle you’re there.”
Or something like that. My eye glazed over after ten or fifteen minutes of directions and a laundry list of other sites demanding my attention. My meat pie grew cold, I began to collect social security. The earth ceased to spin on its axis and the sun turned supernova before slowly fading to a black cinder.
“...and you’ve got to check out Woolloomooloo, just head across the Nullabor and you can’t miss it. Bloke carved a perfect replica of every man, woman and child in the shire using nothing but a chainsaw...”
That’s one thing you can say for kangaroos. They really don’t have much to say at all. They’re just happy to share your potato chips and a shady spot on the beach.