I awoke during the night and became immediately confused. My tent looked wrong. The space felt different. I couldn't see as much as I usually could in the tent. I shifted and realised I wasn't laying on a mat. Someone had moved me! Where the fuck was I?! How had they got me out of the tent without me waking up?! I went to sit up and my hand felt the edge of the bed. I was in a bed! A double bed! How the crimson hell had that happened?! Where was I?
None of this is made up. It took me a few minutes to realised I was at Eucla. Then I broke into a big smile and settled back down to sleep.
I awoke again around 8am, and felt totally exhausted. It took ages for me to crawl out of bed and into the shower. I was a wreck. I had finally relaxed, and as happens, hadn't realised how much I was just keeping myself going through sheer bloodymindness. The water poured over me and I couldn't move, so I sat at the bottom of the shower and sobbed for a very long time.
Then I had to face getting out of the room. I'd chatted with shazgirl the night before and had made the decision that I'd spend the rest of my stay at Eucla in the budget rooms - $35 for a bed, a light, and a powerpoint. I knew I'd be staying a few days. On the way over I really needed three days at Eucla, instead of my normal two, and that was with help on the driving. It would have been silly for me to leave too soon, so decided I'd seen how I felt Friday morning and may leave then.
Leaving the room was hard, because it was all hard. And it was going to be 2-3 hours before I had a room to crash in again. I almost broke. But then decided I'd head to Bordertown and see if their net connection was working. It was, but the comps had no USB drives, hence why you'll be getting a bunch of these posts in a hit. Strangely, it was only $1 for 15 minutes, I was sure it was dearer than that, certainly at Belladonia it was $2 for 8 minutes. I stayed on for half an hour, then had a weak chocky milkshake and lukewarm toasted cheese sangers.
Headed back, got my room key, and then dozed for a while. Woke up, read, dozed, read, dozed... I simply wasn't up to going out. Wandered off to the bar for some raspberry cordial and a lemon, lime and bitters. I'd been told that they were having an Anzac day service the next morning, so I thought I'd go along, since it was only going to be two minutes walk from my room.
Lightning was flashing through the night sky, way off over the ocean, in the warm night air. I headed down to the telegraph station in the dark, and wandered down to the jetty. It was gorgeous. The wind wasn't too cold, I had the stars above and regular flashes of lighting way off in the distance. Tried a couple of ideas for photos, then wandered off naked into the dunes for a while, and enjoyed the night.
Yes, I have been getting nude a lot on this trip. Been naked in a forest, on roads, in red desert sands, on a salt lake, and on the beach and the white sand dunes at night. It's just felt right, either for an odd photo op, or the need to be open to the spaces I'm in. Often one has dictated the other. So even if I'd had a willing model, I probably still would have stripped down at these places.
I headed back to my room and slept...
...until about five. Which was unfortunate, as the service was at six-thirty.
Unable to sleep, I pottered about and then headed to the service. It was run by the Eucla police, five of the six officers were there, and there was breakfast put on afterwards.
The service was short and simple. Two officers laid a wreath and the Sergeant's two young children laid another, then got bored and wandered about, asking questions and commenting on things, before the boy announced he had to pee and went over to a bush in clear sight of the 20-30 people present.
Most of the folks present were locals. Eucla has about fifty people living there, and I got talking to a few. Well, they got talking to me, my shyness preventing me from walking up too any of the groups standing about afterwards. As usual, I found myself talking to the women. A couple of people had seen me about for a few days and asked if I'd broken down, when I said no, the next assumption was that i was moving here.
I explained that I wasn't, but that I loved the town. Alex, who works at the quarantine checkpoint, has lived at Eucla for nine years now with her mum and loves it. A nurse who has been here for a few weeks and will be heading home to Augusta in another week, said I should move here. I explained that shazgirl wasn't up for it, especially at the moment as she was expecting. Alex immediately piped in with "Oh we've had babies here before, that's not a problem!" To which the nurse replied, "Of course it's much less stressful for everyone if you give birth in a major city."
Chatting with one of the cops, it turn out his six month old son was born two months premature. The mum had just been about to head to Perth for the last two months when she went into labour. A plane landed at the airport, collected her and got her off to a decent sized town with a hospital.
The one problem with me staying here for the extra days, and especially attending the service, is that now I want to live here even more. I told Shaz on the phone, if she dies before me, I'm moving to Eucla.
I pottered about a bit, and slept a lot through the day. Eventually wandered out to look at the golf course, though not much had changed from the last visit, except that there was a lot of growth on the course.
Headed back, meditated, wrote a little, read and slept.
Woke up around 6am and tried to sleep for a while, then gave up and read. Wandered out to go to the loo, and was informed by some old bloke that I had a flat. I looked and yep, the tire was low. I had a look and I'd picked up a nail somewhere, I thanked him, went to the loo and went back to bed to read.
Ben dropped around to give me fresh towels and we had a good chat. He's lived here for a year now, and starting to think about a change. Another country boy who has done the city thing and prefers life elsewhere. He also told me I had a flat.
A couple of other people told me I had a flat before I finally felt up to changing it. Changed it, went to the mechanics but he did have a tire that would fit, and recommended that I wait until I get to Ceduna. the chances of getting another flat between Eucla and Ceduna are small, and the next place along is Bordertown and he said they'd change a fortune. So I'm going to risk it.
Expect a post talking about dealing with two flats in as many days real soon now *grin*
Went to Bordertown for LPG (Eucla's pump is broken and won't be fixed until Monday) and hopped online briefly. The machine I used the other day had stopped taking dollar coins, it had also changed its prices to $2 for ten minutes. The girl told me the company they lease it from had changed it. Bugger!
Came back, crashed out, and then paid a brief visit to the telegraph station ruins before coming back to collapse again. Read a bit, written a bit... that's sort of it.
In theory I'm leaving tomorrow, in practical terms, I don't really feel up to it. But let's face it, it may take a week before I'm up to it, and I can't justify the expense. I'll just take things slow and easy, at least I've had a bit of a break.
And with that, good night!