Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Winter 2019 - OZ 20 Back to Port Augusta

2019 - OZ  20   Back to Port Augusta

Saw Quite a Few Wrecked, Abandoned Cars
We are not under pressure to get back to Melbourne…as of yet!  But we can no longer just meander around. 

It is time to head towards Melbourne; or at least travel among more people, if we have trouble, there would be more people to help us out.  Here in the outback, if we get car trouble or something else happens to us, we are kind of stuck.

So, we decided, after talking about it to NOT go on to Alice Springs (we’ve been there before), but head back, back to Port Augusta.
Passed By Several Salt Flats

It will be a long drive again but it’s a must for us, staying in the outback is not really an option any longer.

The outback of Australia is an amazing area, with the entire nothing there; there is a lot to see.


I mean when was the last time you spent time seeing nothing and liking it?

Another Salt Flat

Wedge Tailed Eagle - Check Its Legs
On the drive back we saw a few Wedge Tailed Eagles. They were sitting on the side of the road, eating carrion. No vultures came near them while they were busy devouring their lunch. Those birds are huge, a wing span between 1.8 to 2.3 meters. Furry, long legs and fierce, too I understand.
You Can See the Wedge Tail  - Look at the Talons

We booked our hotel via the internet and it was a quiet, old place. The Hotel, Pampas Motel, was run for years by the mayor of town, a lady who was much liked in town. Now this lady passed away and now the daughter is in charge, she inherited the place. We had a little chat with the new proprietor who told us that she would love to sell the Motel.  
Pampas Motel

Well, the motel was run very well, the rooms were clean, the colors cheery, the parking adequate, why would she want to sell?  True, there was nothing around the hotel as far as food was concerned, not even breakfast was given, but it was a lovely, old place. No internet, but that could be added if you really tried. But that is the issue, once you decide you don’t want it, why upgrade?

We stayed in many smallish motels while in Australia. They were mostly family run, mostly a ‘mom and pop’ operation. The big American Chain Hotels are not so widely spread in Australia. I am glad of that, I don’t really like them, they all look alike to me, have really no character. 
We Had a Patio But No Internet

So this owner of the Motel kind of offered the Motel to me… She wanted to have a life like we have, travel, see the world, she told me. She did not really want to be bogged down in one spot, serving others, washing their towels each day.

I could understand her on one side, on the other side; she was good at what she was doing. Had a cheery disposition, made a good impression. 

But somehow fate or circumstances made her ‘serve’ others. While I have the good fortune to just idle my time away, moving from spot to spot.

How lucky am I?

We had to find a place to eat that night, a place with internet, and a place not too far from this Motel.
It struck me as funny that we had to go to another Motel down the street to eat, while the place we had booked had nothing to offer besides a bed for the night only because the owner did not want to offer anything else.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Winter 2019 - OZ 20 Walkabout in Coober Pedy

2019 - OZ  20   Walkabout in Coober Pedy

Boot Hill Cemetery
Once we were back in town, after our outing along the dog fence, we visited the cemetery. This is always a place where the character of a town emerges. The names on the headstones were mostly English or Slavic, the sayings were sometimes funny. We were invited by a dead person to sit down and have a glass of wine on his grave: “have a drink on me” it said. But we could not stay that long…flies...millions of them.
Remembering 8-Mile Will Who Walked Home When Lost
For 4-Year Old Tyrone (Click on Pic)
Bottle of Beer and a Glass

Toys By the Child's Grave

Blurry Through the Glass

So we did as the locals do, we went underground, to the underground shops. Carol had to look at Opals, but these shops were way too touristy for Carol, who by now ‘knows’ opals.

We did the sightseeing our B&B owner suggested.

Inside the Catholic Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Entrance to CatholicChurch

We had a look at the Roman Catholic Church, a land mark in town… underground, of course.

The Hole Is Just to the Right of Centre (Click on Picture)

We also found the Golf Course, a very unusual Golf Course, no grass! The putting area was black sand; the fairways were white to grey rubble, sand. 
Black Greens & White Fairway

To tee off one uses a patch of artificial turf that you have to carry with you. The game is played at night with glowing balls, so that they can be seen. This Golf Course is the only Golf Course in the world that has a ‘reciprocal’ agreement with the venerable St. Andrew’s course in Scotland. Members from each club can play free on the others greens. 

Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Elijah

We found the Serbian Church, a bit off the track, underground. I even lit a candle here; kept the flame burning for the dead.  
Entering the Serbian Church
Inside the Serbian Church
 Some sermons in that church are given in German, the sign said, the times were posted but I am not staying for that one.

Interesting and Informative Underground Displays in the Desert Cave
Underground Shops

We visited a big hotel (Desert Cave) that was built above ground but had parts of the amenities dug out, underground. An underground passage from the hotel to the other side of the main thoroughfare offered a display of the kinds of opals found around Coober Pedy, we looked at that in detail, it was interesting.

Exquisite Opal
Not in My Budget

Red Is the Most Rare
A Rescued Adult

We visited a man who helps abandoned wildlife. He has a store with Aboriginal Painted Art and some homemade musical instruments all made by the Aborigines.
Feeding An Adult

In his spare time this man rehabs animals such as kangaroos and whatever is brought to him. He showed us his pets that still need rest before they are set free again, into the wild. He was feeding a young Joey that was taken out of its mother’s pouch after she had a sudden demise just yesterday.
Feeding a Young Joey
Joey (Click on the Picture)

Beautiful Original Aboriginal Artwork

This man, the owner of Josephine’s Gallery, showed us how to play the didgeridoo. Not as easy as it looks. We both tried to get sounds out of the didgeridoo and we did get some tones but Carol could do it better than I could.
Brightly Painted Digeridoos

Its Much Harder Than It Looks

To Read About the Artist, Click on the Picture

In town are some vehicles on display that were used in the filming of the Mad Max films; odd looking vehicles, kind of from outer space.
Mad Max Machine

We drove through the back streets of town, found the ‘famous’ BIG WINCH, an enlargement of a contraption that helped miners get down to the opal layers. Mining is still the main reason this town exists.
The Big Winch
Opal Bucket on the Big Winch

Some people say that the real opal finds are now a bit removed from Coober Pedy, but all the shops, all the business in these Jewels, is still done in this town.
Opal Mining Along the Stuart Highway

The actual mines are now along the sides of the Stuart highway, we passed some of those mines, and passed the dirt hills, passed the mayhem those diggers create to find opals.

All this for a stone, I thought.

All this because some lady on 5th Avenue in NYC or somewhere in Paris, Milan, London or Berlin feels tickled pink to wear one of those stones…

My, My, I really don’t understand the world… I just live in it, watch and observe…and I am astounded by what I see. 
Used When Looking for Opals
Square Tunneling Machine

Also On the Stuart Highway

 Coober Pedy sure is an astounding place to visit.

Welcome to Coober Pedy