Sunday, January 21, 2007

CYCLING TO JUPITER

I am eating mangos hot off the tree, and huge Shark Bay prawns so fresh they are still pissed off. Safari Bob, true to his word, has delivered me to the Gascoyne delta. Mission accomplished, he has turned his truck around and headed for home. He leaves me resolutely searching the plantations for a place i can call home. On my old single speed Raleigh i pedal the South River Road, looking for a shack. I find two old empty homesteads. Lovely corrugated tin and timber, high vented roofs. One is on Santa Rosa, the other is on Jupiter.

Jupiter is only 10km from Carnarvon. Santa Rosa is about 12. The plantations here have beautiful names. Calypso. Margaritaville. Hacienda. Emerald. Desert Bloom. Poinciana. Clearwater. And, of course, Bumbaks. They all have their own logo on their banana boxes, or mango cases, as the case may be. I reckon the banana boxes are a kind of folk art. Someone needs to do a photoessay on these plantations. And i think that someone is me.

The farmers pump their water up from underneath the river bed. When not in flood, the rivers here flow upside down. Sand on top, water underneath. It's wack. But when the Gascoyne does flows above its sandy riverbed, it tends to move a lot of water. 5,520 cubic metres is a lot of water, isn't it? Particularly when it's going past every second.

Suddenly my second story holiday apartment is completely flooded. I am lying on the couch with the aircon running and the TV on, watching Tais Toi on SBS, that French movie with Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno. I am figuratively pissing myself laughing, mainly because of the humour, when suddenly my laughter turns to shrieks of horror. I have left the kitchen sink running on the far side of the apartment, with the plug in, and the couch has now become a kind of surf mat. The whole of the kitchen and carpeted loungeroom is under about two inches of Carnarvon scheme water, which, as all the locals know, will rot anything.

The NorthWest is subject to this terrible and random flooding, apparently.

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