A large couple in an automatic estate pull over...


Magun's Compass
Learn from the Travel Experiences of Others

"Where' ya goin'?" the bearded man leans across his woman.

"Alice Springs," you sound a bit sheepish.

"We can't take you that far, but we can take you to Port Wakefield."

You jump in, content to be moving at last. You soon pass another hiker at the side of the road, and then the driver challenges a Ferrari on the straight.

The red sports car moves over; your driver kicks the pedal, and hits 160 km/h.

There are some oil paintings in the back of the car that the couple hope to sell around the pubs. They are not artists; it's just another way to earn a buck.

The ground outside is dry, yet the driver still flicks his cigarette out of the window. His wife scowls at him.

"I don't want to litter the car," he says sarcastically.

"You shit! If you started a fire, I'd shop ya. You can't burn the country and get away with it."

"And I'd shoot ya," he sneers. He probably means it too.


"What d'ya mean being such a prune?" he takes her on again, "I'd eat dates if I wanted the shits."

He tells her about the early settlers in Elizabeth, made for your benefit:

"They were called the Ten Dollar Poms.... I offered to double their money to go back home." You grin to please him.

"What's in Alice anyway?" the driver asks. "I reckon you'll go to the rock. Every one photographs the rock.... Shit, it's only a rock, and it's not even the biggest."

The woman was adopted by a Geordie couple, and challenges the driver again.

"The trouble with you, is you don't appreciate your own country."


Australia is the size of Europe, with barely any towns;
yet they are all much further apart

The vastness of the island/continent keeps many of the natives to their own patch, and so they brag and joke about their superiority, and the failings of others.

You can see it at first hand when you travel on the land. You learn to appreciate its size, and your encounters are among the colourful local characters, not just with travellers going the same way.

[Melbourne to Adelaide]

[From Port Augusta]

Australia Index.

Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia

Travel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia and New Zealand as Michel introduces you to a collection of characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.

If you can't afford to buy a copy of Nomadic Gatherings, the chapters are slowly being made available online - for free.

You may even decide that it really is worth having a hard copy in your hands; a useful read for those long bus journeys being written about, and for endless waits at ferry ports.

Nomadic Gatherings - Online Chapters.

Find out more about Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and The Americas.
Magun's Compass

Originally Hosted on Geocities - in 1996

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