The longest Uber drive EVER!


At the moment though we are travelling overseas….well, trying to get home! My husband frequently flies to the Philippines for work and sometimes I accompany him. Here’s a little story that might just give you a chuckle.

We just missed our flight home – breaking our record of never having missed a flight!

We were supposed to be on the 8 pm flight from Manila to Sydney, so we left early -at 4pm- booking an Uber , knowing how unpredictable traffic can be we thought that would allow for plenty of time to get to the airport. How wrong we were!
Three hours and forty minutes later we arrived back in Manila, having spent that entire time in various states of distress and hysterics in that very same car.

See, at first when we left the hotel I began to notice that traffic was heavier than usual. The driver seemed to be taking us on a route that didn’t seem familiar. I wondered if he was just trying to avoid the worst of the traffic?
But further and further we went into the heaviest traffic I have ever seen in Manila and we seemed to be going deeper into unfamiliar territory, like into a mad tangle of Manila suburbia.

There we were, in the complete chaos of people and motorbikes and shonky ramshackle shops lining each side of the insanely busy streets and all the while the driver kept going down side street after side street.

I became alarmed because Richard was looking at his GPS on his phone and we just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere close to where I thought the airport should be.
“Shit, we’re being kidnapped!” I thought. Of course I did, because I always jump to the worst possible scenario.

After giving Richard the “What the hell is going on!” look for about the fifth time he finally said to the driver.
“You ARE taking us to the airport aren’t you?”
To which the driver checking his GPS, sounded a bit confused and then started laughing in great amusement.

Richard had somehow given him the wrong address (!!!) and we were now in the middle of God knows where, in this shanty town suburban insanity, with only half an hour to spare before we thought our check in would be.
And to make matters worse…I needed to pee.
Of bloody course I did!

I don’t know about the rest of you but I now have severe pee anxiety after all our travel experiences and it really sends my head into a spin. I mean, it’s all I can focus on and I start thinking irrationally because nothing else matters except my bladder and everything becomes a desperate possibility for how and where to relieve myself.

The only thing is….there WERE no possibilities. We were in this unbelievable situation of having crawled to a complete stop in this narrow street that was crammed, and I mean jam pack crammed with cars and motorbikes, and whatever those bikes with sidecars are called, and people on bicycles and people on foot – absolute madness! On either side of the road were tiny market stalls and hole in the wall shops and a sidewalk about a foot wide and people just EVERYWHERE! There WAS NOWHERE to pee!

I had to take some deep breaths and tell myself to just calm the heck down!

That’s when I heard the Uber driver start to moan.

“Ohhh. OhhhHHH… I need to vwee vwee!”
At first I thought he was mocking me but it soon became evident that he too was busting to pee!
(The way he said “vwee vwee”, had me dying laughing. I felt his pain! )
“So do I!!!” I said.

Traffic was crawling. As soon as there was a break and cars inched forward about ten motorbikes squeezed in front of us. We were going absolutely nowhere and time was ticking away and there I was playing a “Would you rather” game in my head asking myself if it would be better to squat in the gutter in front of a million Filipinos or just pee myself in an Uber car?

Meanwhile the Uber drivers groans were getting more intense and I could see his eyes darting around – like me, looking for “possibilities”. I was thinking, right, if he gets out the car, I’m running after him.

Richard by this time had begun swearing his head off because it was evident that we were now almost certainly going to miss our flight!

“ I don’t even have bahttle” said the Uber driver, laughing but serious.
That made both Richard and I crack up in hysterics.

I had a full water bottle in my handbag but I wasn’t going to tip it out the window and offer it to him because by the sound of his groans and the wiggling he was doing in his seat I figured he could have filled three!

It was at this point that we introduced ourselves to the Uber driver, properly, and he told us his name – Ray. What a great guy, with a good sense of humour too!

Finally, after being stopped, literally trapped in the traffic, Ray suddenly jumped out of the car and ran through the chaos across the street to go and relieve himself somewhere.

I was mad with jealousy and my eyes were beginning to cross.
You know, when you are busting for so long it almost feels like your bladder becomes solidified….like concrete. It’s weird, and agonising.

Ray returned, jumping back into his seat saying “Oh My Lord, thank you my Lord!!”

“ I still need to pee!” I said from the back seat.

Richard was by then on the phone, cancelling flights and trying to get us new flights but all I could thinking about was where and how I was going to be able to VWEE VWEE!
To make matters worse, Richards phone was running out of battery and he HAD to organised these flights then and there or else it might have meant us flying home separately.

I was mentally sorting the contents of my suitcase…Was there something in there I could pee in! (Seriously can’t believe I’m sharing this with you.) Was there some article of clothing Richard could spread out like a bull fighter holding out his red cloth, that I could duck behind in a corner some were. Could I somehow open both the car doors and get between….

I was almost having a full on panic attack when I spotted a shop that looked like a Hair Salon.
“Right…I’m getting out this car now and I’m going in there to ask them if they have a toilet!” I said to Richard and practically pushed him out the car.

Like a crazy woman I flew into this tiny shop, ran to the girl at the counter and said “PLEASE, do you have a toilet I can use!!!”
I must have looked so distressed and flustered that she timidly pointed to a door at the back of the room and nodded yes.
Skidding by I blurted…” Oh thank you….we’re on the way to the airport….missed our flights….the traffic OMG!”

Can I just say, that toilet, even though it was tiny and so low to the ground that I was almost lying down….pure bliss. Even though I could hear the women customers outside giggling at me. I did NOT care! When you gotta go, you gotta GO!

Just as fast I ran back out of there, hoping our Uber hadn’t rolled on forward leaving me behind. The gay sounding guy manager of the shop had just enough time to swing the door open for me, gesturing with his hand and utter “Thank you for coming!” before I was back in the car and thanking the Lord myself.

We had been stuck in this car for three and a quarter hours by now! I felt like Ray was an old time friend. I wanted to invite him to dinner with us. We had shared some intimate stuff. We were bladder buddies!

So here we are now….back in Manila, in a new hotel…a really fancy hotel too.
Both Richard and I laughed, bent over like crazy people as soon as we got into the lift…

“I need to VWEE VWEE” will now become a part of our vocabulary.

We will not forget poor Ray. He probably won’t forget us either for being his longest, most torturous fare.

We will try to come home tomorrow.

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Posted in Anxiety, Australia, embarrassing, Getting older, Humour, husbands, Life, life experiences, Public toilets, Travel, travel blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crazy minds, Zentangles and Swirly People.


Gypsy Bloom 2

Every time we have gone away I’ve taken my pens and Prismacolour pencils with me and a drawing pad with the best of intentions of having time to just sit and unwind and do some Zentangle type drawings.  Has this ever happened?  No!  In fact I was quite distraught on our first trip away in the caravan when we stopped and found that the cupboard I’d stored my art supplies in had come open as we drove and not only did all my pencils fall out ALL OVER the floor – and a few broke 😦  but my laptop fell out too. (Thank goodness it was ok!)

Anyway, I have a lot of trouble sleeping. A busy mind.  I find that instead of spending hours tossing and turning it’s better for me to try and focus ( and calm) my thoughts and this happens for me through Zentangling.

What IS Zentangling?  Well, it’s just a more fancy name for doodling really.  Patterns.

I love patterns! The more intricate the better….swirly patterns especially.  It’s funny because some people are very geometric and square, and others are swirly circle people.

I’m a swirly circle kind of person. My sister is square, so is my husband. I wonder what this would mean to a psychoanalyst?  What do you think you are?  Look at your home decor – your quilt cover for example. I bet you’ll find your answer there.  Unless everything in your house is just blank and un -patterned.  I think I’d be a bit afraid of you if it is, because…well, that’s just weird.  It’s like standing in a completely white room…I think I’d lose my mind and HAVE to make marks on the walls. Swirly ones.

So…I’ve been wondering if there could be any actual USE for these Zentangles I’ve been creating, and then various people on Facebook kept saying to me – Get them printed onto fabrics!  In fact they have kindly come forth with a whole RANGE of ideas. Cushion covers, throws, scarves, mouse pads, phone covers, wallpaper, wall decals, one lady even suggested shower curtains. Well, whatever.

I don’t know. I’m sure someone could find a creative use for them, so I’ve added them to my Etsy store.  If the calming of my crazy mind can be of some use to someone else with a creative mind, well that’s a wonderful thing!

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/TheStockGypsy?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

So here’s a few designs that I’ve created!  I do hand draw these in a notepad with fine liner markers – sometimes coloured, sometimes not, and then take them to my favourite playground – photoshop, and digitally play with them some more until I find the right look that I want.

 

Tell me what you think?  Can you come up with any creative uses for these besides the ones I have mentioned?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, caravanning, Creativity, Family, Fashion, insomnia, Internet, mixed media, Social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For all you creative people!


As you might know, I love travel,photography and everything that falls in the fantasy realm.
As a result I have become totally addicted to creating photomanipulation art from all of my images that I have collected over the years.

My daughter and I have a facebook page called Twisted Gypsy Creative Photography https://www.facebook.com/twistedgypsyphotography/ where we regularly post our finished creations.

I have now decided to create an Etsy Store where I am selling digital backgrounds for other creative people to utilize – since I really can’t STOP making them! 🙂

People can use these to develop their own skills in composite work, or even as fantasy backgrounds for their own business. I’ve created the scene so all you need is a willing model, photoshop, and your own creativity!

Please feel free to share this post around to all your creative photographer friends, writer friends who may need book covers (My daughter Shai is a graphic designer and is proficient with Book Cover Designs.)
Even your musician friends who might need CD covers designed…

Some of these would even be perfect as stand alone art prints – and don’t forget…Christmas is fast approaching, so perhaps even as gifts for your fantasy loving friends and relatives!

Here is a small sample of some of the images available in my store!

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/TheStockGypsy?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

 

 

Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, Creativity, photographers, photography, Photomanipulation, Photoshoot, photoshop, scenery, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sleep Walker.


It’s nearly time.
The sun slipping below the horizon, the last of the golden hour quietly retreating from her performance as the curtain of night softly falls.
Collectively they stand, milling around a desolate landscape, in silence.
Only the quiet shuffle of feet, the occasional clearing of throats, a small cough, here and there.
Everybody waits…

And then it begins. One by one, each person slowly dropping to the ground.
Some sit for a while, while others immediately recline.
A stubborn few remain standing, but you can see their stance begin to waver.
By the light of a yellow moon rising higher and higher in the sky, I can see the silhouettes begin to thin.
Soon there will be a carpet of bodies, supine, littering the ground with only their soft rhythmic breath to break the nights hush.

But for me, there will be no peace.
No bliss of rest, no escape into that other world where tangled thoughts at last fall limp, slowly unwinding themselves from the knots that torment and tease.
I remain standing. Always. The last one standing.

The eternal walk, my task.
It’s tedious.
I resent their small little whimpered sounds as dreams take them to other beautiful,surreal worlds.
I’m jealous of their twitches and sighs.
Irritated, even angered by the snoring.
I kick one of the snorers, hard.
He grunts and turns over and is quiet…for now.

I’m walking amongst them like a lone wolf among sheep, choosing the weakest-the vulnerable, the anxious. Those who need my intrusion least.

Soft lumps on the dirt, fingers and hands that I tread upon, but make no apology.
I bend and peer down closely into the face of a woman.
Her soft mouth falls open, jaw slack,and a tiny stream of drool is beginning to form.
I shove dirt in her mouth and she immediately gags. A coughing fit ensues and she turns over onto her side falling silent again.

An old man is making sputtering sounds between snores.
It’s disgusting. He disgusts me.
I pinch his nostrils closed and put my hand over his mouth.
Silence.
Within seconds his body begins to twitch,little tiny twitches.
I wait…and wait…
He is jerking hard now.
Then I let go and he inhales sharply and deeply, as though surfacing from the depths of a suffocating ocean.

Around and around I walk, for hours amongst the fallen.
It’s tedious and time is distorted.
It drags as though I am walking through mud.
Over and over I bend or crouch to tickle their noses with my hair.
Whispering loudly into ears – their names and they jolt awake disoriented, for a mere moment.
I will upon them ice and fire, and make their skins crawl with imaginary unscratchable itches.
I sit upon their chests and peer into their stupid resting faces, willing them to open their eyes! Some do, in terror.
I kick and shove and pay no mind to standing on limbs that eventually seize up with a thousand tiny pricks, making even the deepest of the sleepers groan out loud.
I poke with sticks,put rocks beneath their ears and stones under their backs.
They toss and turn and I laugh out loud and go find more rocks.

I walk, endlessly among their dreams, disturbing them, shaking them, interrupting this intermission that they so deeply crave and need.
That *I* crave.

Their oblivion is not mine.
My envy is deep.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, very dark stories, very short stories, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out of Order.


Out of order 2 small.jpg

I created this image using several photo’s I took while on our recent trip. I wanted to challenge myself to do something a little bit creative with some of the sights we saw – to encompass a sense of the quirkiness, the colours and the spirit of what it’s like out there.

The emu in the image is one that followed me around when we visited the historic Pioneer Village in Griffith. He was not at all camera shy, and because of that I kept my distance a little as I have a suspicion that curious beak meets camera lense might not end in a particularly happy snap. I had tried several times to photograph the wild emu but they were all too skittish and ran off into the bush every time I stepped out of the car.

The old telephone booth was hidden away beside a building next door to the Chocolate/licorice factory in Junee and I just HAD to sneak around there and get a photo of it. A shame it was discarded there…perfect fodder for a photographer with lots of ideas in her head!

The sign I also photographed but it had a whole lot of writing on it so I painstakingly erased all the letters and saved the ones I wanted to put back ON the sign. I wanted to state the obvious and have a sign erected doing so but it’s also a bit of a pun – Having a telephone box stuck out in the middle of nowhere IS a little bit “out of the order of things”. Also reinforces the fact that if you’re out there in these remote places…there IS no contact with the rest of the world, so – be prepared.

Posted in Art, Australia, Creativity, memories, photography, Photomanipulation, photoshop, scenery, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In Her Chair…


Room 3 sm.jpg

In her chair, listening to the priest quietly murmuring last rites as her final earthly breaths cut through the silence of the night.
The only other sound, the clock on the wall marking time in the remaining minutes and seconds of my mothers life.
Each tick like a tiny paper cut to my heart, I counted my regrets.
Not having told her enough that I loved her.
Not being present as often as I should. 
Each disappointment flickering in her eyes when I’d failed her.

In her chair- the soft sweet scent of hair brushing tear stained cheeks as she bent to patch battered knees.
The unhurried stitching of countless torn trousers…
The way the golden lamp light fell across her face, as she sat reading late into a balmy summer evening.
The swell of her belly as each child came and left.
As she sang lullabies to those that remained.
Christmas mornings as she sat and watched each of us unwrap our gift…

In her chair, waiting for my turn for lessons at the piano. Impatiently enduring the mistakes of my sisters, wanting mine to be over so I could return to my adventures outside.

In her chair, wrapped in wool blankets, feeling poorly on a bitter winters day watching as she sat finishing letters, while the pot on the stove filled the house with the steaming aroma of rich oxtail soup.

In her chair, the switch of my fathers belt bent over his knee, penance for starting a fire in the chicken coop.

In her chair, staring out the window waiting for HIM to come home, who never would – the pain in her face staining the lace curtains with grief.

I sit once again and let the whispers of the past peel themselves from dark corners and dance with dust motes as the grey winter light softly illuminates the stories that were written, here in this room – in her chair.

Photo taken in Griffith Pioneer Park Museum. – My little fictional piece of musing.

Posted in Australia, Creativity, Home, Musings, photography, very short stories, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Menindee to Wentworth,Renmark and Mildura.


The next leg of our journey was supposed to take us to Mildura where we planned to drive out to Mungo National Park to see the Walls of China. Unfortunately due to bad weather predicted, and ultimately as it happened, the roads into the National Park ended up being closed. I was so disappointed as it was to be, I’m sure, another highlight of the trip.
We decided to travel down through Poontarie on the dirt road leading to Wentworth. The lady in the supermarket at Menindee told us the road condition was “fabulous” and she was right! Compared to the roads in the National Park in Menindee this was like driving on clouds. I did have a bit of a chuckle though at the road leading OUT of Menindee before we hit the dirt. Talk about having had some repairs done.

Road work.jpg

The scenery along this route was fairly ordinary. Poontarie itself, well, blink and you’ll miss it. I did stop and take a photo just as we left the “town” though (signposting the town) because it looked pretty surreal from that position.  Imagine the time it took to erect that car on a pole – in the middle of nowhere for such a tiny town?

car on pole 2.jpg

Somewhere along that route too there were a couple of bra and shoes/boot tree’s too. I posted this photo on facebook and some of my American friends were a bit perturbed by it. Maybe they don’t have the same sense of quirkiness over there? Maybe this sort of thing is considered littering over there? I stopped to have a look and was surprised to see a pair of roller blades hanging on the boot tree. First time I’ve seen that.

Rollerblades.jpg

Didn’t take all that long and we were in Wentworth. I was sad to slowly see the red dirt disappearing as we entered more farmland like country. The rain had begun by now so morale hit a bit of a low by this point. The weather…feeling a bit tired, feeling frustrated that plans were changed due to circumstances out of our control… I was kind of feeling that it would be a bit down hill from here to home. (But I was wrong!)
We stayed at a caravan park out of town in Wentworth which was for some reason hit by a plague of hairy caterpillars. A bit of a drive to and from town but quiet and right on the river.  I didn’t really enjoy this spot because although from the pic it looks ok, it was one of those caravan parks where there is no privacy hedge – or barrier of any sort between sites.  I really dislike that situation…where you are looking straight into the windows of your neighbours van.  Luckily the park was not all that busy.

Wentworth camp.jpg

We had to travel out to Renmark the next day as my husband needed to get something done to the HF radio and the only guy that could do the job lives out that way. Although it was totally gloomy and rainy Renmark looked like a lovely place and I’d be interested in going out there again and having a good look around.
We stopped in at a really lovely cafe in Renmark recommended by “Dutchie”- an old guy who has a second hand/antiques store next door. He was a bit of a likeable character. His claim to fame that he was of Dutch parents but born in a prisoner of war camp in Vietnam. His shop was so dimly lit you could barely see to get around – all cost cutting due to the horrendous power prices in South Australia.
The food in the (Cinnamon Grove) cafe was DELICIOUS and the quaint ambience, the other guests who we ended up inviting to our table and chatting with made for a lovely experience.
I gave their Facebook page a Like as it really was good food, service and just a nice little place to browse through as it has a gift shop as well. https://www.facebook.com/Cinnamon-G…

Renmark Cinnamon Grove.jpgRenmark cafe.jpg

The drive back to Wentworth was long and tedious in the rain but I stopped a few times when it cleared a bit to photograph the stormy skies and one nice little jetty in the water.

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Storm over landscape 2 SMALL final.jpg

Misty small.jpg

One noteable part of this journey was being stopped at the checkpoint to have our car searched….for fruit as we crossed into South Australia. We saw the signs about fruit fly but oh my, were they SERIOUS about it, even checking in our glovebox, boot and back seat and we saw them going in and searching peoples caravans! I was frantically checking to make sure that some errant mandarin from the days before hadn’t accidentally fallen into the mess in the back seat! I have no idea of what the fine would be but just being caught with a piece of fruit I’m sure would turn these very serious people into very scary people!

Renmark fruit fly.jpg

We didn’t really spend any time in Mildura as we were keen to try and drive somewhere out of the rain. A shame really because I’m sure there is a lot to see here. Next time!
I did snap this picture as we were driving across a bridge. I thought it looked like a Clampets houseboat. Apparently it’s owned by the Chook man, who goes up and down the river in it, with his chickens on board….and a whole lot of other “stuff” by the looks of it. He invites tourists, for a donation of course, to have a look at his floating abode, so I’m told. It’s a wonder it DOES float!

Clampets houseboat 2 small.jpg

Posted in Australia, life experiences, Nature, photography, scenery, Travel, travel blog, Weather | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Menindee Lake. Wow!


Menindee is a small township about 110km South East of Broken hill and it’s been a place I’ve wanted to visit for years because it is perfect for photography. Sometimes with bad weather the roads are closed getting in there but we were lucky and the weather held out long enough for us to spend a couple of nights at this incredible place.
It truly is a soul rejuvenating place…that’s the only way to describe it! It simply oozes peace and tranquillity, with plenty of camp spots along the lakes edge, some with facilities, and some where you have to be self sufficient.
You simply cannot go wrong getting a nice photo at sunset OR sunrise here.
It’s a birds paradise with pelicans, seagulls and all kinds of other water birds as well as many kangaroo’s and emu’s in the national park.
Only one thing upset me about our stay here and that was when I spotted another traveller, in a caravan – and I cannot be 100% certain, but I’m about 99% sure he was emptying his toilet cassette into the bushes. They left shortly after but it had me absolutely fuming! Such an incredible spot of immense beauty – host to so much wild life and here is a person with such disrespect and disregard doing that! Shame on him!
It really was like being on a tropical island with the waves lapping at the shore, the seagulls and pelicans…the glittering waters. We both took our chairs down the the waters edge and just sat and chilled for two days. Nice!
My hubby having a snooze in the sun.
Menindee Richard chilling.jpg
My little pelican watching spot.
Menindee my chair.jpg
I had a surreal moment when the wind dropped and the water went glassy still reflecting the clouds like a mirror….and then a pelican swam up and began fishing for his lunch, while I sat eating my lunch of leftover spaghetti bolognaise and a greedy magpie sat watching MY lunch. It was just so beautiful and tranquil that you almost had to pinch yourself.
Pelican reflection 2 small.jpg
This was definitely, out of all the places we visited, my absolute favourite spot, and I think my husband felt the same way. I have no doubt that in the future we will be back here again.
We weren’t so pleased with our trip into the National Park to have a look at the old Woolshed. The roads getting in were terrible! Thank goodness we didn’t have the van on the back when we did this road. I wasn’t overly excited by the Woolshed myself, but plenty of people seem to like this sort of thing. As I said to my husband….now if it had half a dozen tanned bare chested young men shearing some sheep I might have…..wanted to use my camera more.
Menindee inside shearers shed.jpg
Menindee Shearers shed.jpg
Posted in Australia, life experiences, photography, Travel, travel blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Broken Hill and Silverton.


It was a long LONG drive from Lightning Ridge to Broken Hill- I think in total about a nine and a half hour trip ?  so we split the journey in half and stayed overnight halfway across. It mustn’t have been a memorable camp site because I can’t even remember where it was!

Really not much at all to see along this route except tonnes of road kill and feral goats.  The goats seem to have infinitely more road sense than the kangaroo’s as we hardly saw any of those hit by trucks or cars.

We invented a new game across these two days.  Road kill – for lunch and Goats – for lunch.  Played in the morning each person on their side of the car has to count either road kill or goats (live) on THEIR side of the road and whoever counts the most gets out of making lunch that day.  Macabre I know.   I won both times.

Roadkill small.jpg

I started to go a bit stir crazy out there with all the nothingness and began to ponder over just how bizarre Kangaroos really are.  I mean, why bounce? Why did mother nature create a creature that bounces to transport itself?  Why?  And why do they bounce so FAST?  What predators are they avoiding? I can understand eagles carting off the very small roo’s but they are usually safely snuggled in mums pouch, so what else are they bouncing from? All that bouncing certainly doesn’t seem to help them get across roads safely.   I think I irritated Richard a little with my questioning of bouncing animals.

Before long we began to see the glorious red dirt and I felt excited to be back in “outbacky” like country again.  There’s just something about the red dirt…. and it makes the sky seem even bluer!

We decided to stay out at Silverton at the camp ground there – Penrose Park as we have stayed there several times before.

Nothing much has changed out there. The facilities are not the best, rather run down now. The showers could really do with a revamp, or just a decent clean as there are mould stains all over the roof.  The water pressure is sensational though, almost blasts you down the plughole.

There is no potable water available there – just drinking water from the camp kitchen, nor a dump point if you are in a van or motorhome.

They charge $20 or $25 for a powered site and you can have camp fires- they sell firewood there too.  A far better option for us than staying in an overcrowded cramped caravan park in town.

Campfire

I love Broken Hill, always have. It’s easy to see why it attracts so many artistic people out there.  The red dirt and the blue skies are just so vivid and amazing.  There is so much to see from Art galleries to mine tours, to the sculptures on the hill (we missed these this time) to the Train Museum. Definitely a place you could spend a week at and not get bored and certainly a great place for photography!

We had all kinds of weather thrown at us during our four night stay there.  Blue sunny skies to overcast and gloomy with rain, to a dust storm that kept us inside the whole day, to amazing fog one morning which made for some interesting photos.

Here are some scenes from around Broken Hill and Silverton.

Posted in Australia, camping, caravanning, life experiences, Nature, photography, scenery, Travel, travel blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trip to Lightning Ridge, NSW.


We just arrived home yesterday after a three week trip which entailed visiting places such as Lightning Ridge, Broken Hill, Mildura, Griffith, Junee and Sofala.   This is the route we took from Kilaben Bay in Lake Macquarie, NSW.  I’ll be putting our trip reports up in parts.

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Our first stop of interest was at Old Baan Baa school which was a great little camp spot – you literally sleep on the school oval and there are very clean showers and toilets available to use as well.

All the buildings are open for you to have a look through which is interesting.

The woman who runs the place – Karen, is a real character who can TALK!  If you stay there expect to be entertained by her tales which can last anywhere up to an hour as she certainly has the gift of the gab – but her stories are great!

She was telling us about a guy who had stayed there previously for a few days.  The only part of him not tattoo’d were his eyes she said.  A little bit on the odd side.   When he left he’d forgotten a small Persian type rug that he’d hung over a fence.  He messaged Karen to ask if she had found his “magic flying carpet”.   Karen replied that she had and that she had safely stored it away in case he revisited.

To which he replied “ These are the GPS co ordinates  for my flying carpet – please put them in and the carpet will fly back to me.”

They finally agreed that it would be better and safer for the carpet if it was put away for safe keeping until his next stay.

There is a pub good for a meal across the railway tracks – oh, yes, the only downfall as a camp spot are the trains that come through.  It didn’t really bother us too much though and we didn’t even hear them through the night.

At only $5 per person per night this is definitely great value, and Karen is worth every cent.

On our first evening there I wanted to do a little drive around the area and take some photo’s.  The afternoon light was looking nice but I couldn’t see much of any interest to photograph until I spotted some horses in a field.

To gain some height I was balanced on the step on the side of the car with my camera when a ute pulled up and the two men in it had a conversation with my husband, which he recounted to me afterwards.  Apparently they pulled up and said in an almost conspiratorial way ” You want a horse?”   My husband laughed and said no…we didn’t want a horse.  “You want a goat?”  they offered instead.   Only in the country hey.  Safe to say we drove away without purchasing any farm animals.

Horse and foal 2

The drive from there to Lightning Ridge has got to be one of the longest most boring unscenic roads I’ve ever been on.  Dead dull boring so absolutely nothing of great interest was photographed that day.  We did start to see emu’s though out in the scrub.

At one point – the most exciting point for me photographically, I spotted a whole mob of Emu which I stalked over rabbit hole infested ground to try and get a decent shot of.

Emu sm

 

This was our first experience in Lightning Ridge but I must say, our expectations were sadly underwhelmed.

LR sign

LR view driving in.

It’s ok if you want to buy some opal, because there are dozens of those kinds of shops, and sellers setting up stalls in the main street, and even in the grounds of the caravan park we stayed in.

For us the vibe of “let’s see how much we can scam out of the tourists” was present and we had to laugh at the “Car Door Tours” – There are four of them.  Red, yellow, blue and green car door tours marked by a corresponding car door with that colour door marking the very short trail , which basically are just existing dirt roads through the shanty town of residents which make up Lightning Ridge.   The roads themselves were not very long – we could have done all four in one day.  There were a few points of interest along the way on these roads, most of which you had to pay to go into, or were surrounded by visitors cars making them hard to even photograph.  I must say though…we did not purchase some sort of leaflet I think it was?  which described each point of interest.  Perhaps if we had it would have made what we saw make a bit more (interesting) sense.

I suppose it’s a bit quirky in a Steptoe and Son kind of way.  It’s like all the Clampets have landed in the same spot and spread their junk around, dug lots of holes and dubbed it a town.  This was our impression anyway.

Here are a selection of images from around the town.

I found this building the most interesting visually.  It was built for a movie set.

LR chrch for movie set 2

 

I must say though, the locals didn’t seem to go out of their way to make you feel welcome.  I was wary of getting out of the car when I saw the sign warning about mad dogs, and even less inclined when I saw what looked like a noose.  I suppose they just have a special sense of humour out there?

LR sign dogs.jpg

LR noose.jpg

We went to visit the hot Artesian pool – and I envisioned this semi natural location , you know, with reeds and steam and looking all a bit like a bit of a spot of paradise in comparison to the rest of the town, but it turned out to be a fenced proper “pool” – tiny, and overrun by mainly aged people soaking their aches and pains away.  It didn’t appeal to us whatsoever.  Shot through the bars in the fence I felt like I was a peeping tom spying on pensioners.

LR pools

 

The Opal Caravan park – mostly dirt – I didn’t see any grass) we stayed at was huge, very clean, amenities were great and the spaces we very large which was great as you didn’t feel you were on top of your neighbours.  Two women also do a comedy hour there every evening and from the sound of the laughter it must be good – unfortunately both nights we came home halfway through and all the seats in the shed where it was held were full.

So all in all, it was a long detour- and such a boring drive out of our way to visit Lightning Ridge.  I’m glad we did it, because now we know, but it would have felt less unsatisfying to us had it been a place we needed to pass through on our way somewhere.

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