Monday, March 3, 2008

Push to Ceduna, Goodbye to the Nullarbor; Hello Eyre Peninsula

Feb 19th

We slept. We ate. The weather changed with the wind bringing cool air and the threat of rain. We got ready and checked the weather. Nothing conclusive. We had locked our room as the proprietor had asked, but after looking at the wind and weather we decided to wait and leave at midnight.

Nundroo is owner operated. There is something to be said about this. On a road like the Eyre Highway, you just don’t have to be nice if you don’t want to. That morning I had been immediately put off by the sour looks and pinched face of the landlord, but had held back judgment until we spoke to him about the room. We said we needed it for the day, and he charged us the full $77 AUD. This made sense, as he would be unable to rent the room that evening. I left thinking that despite his constipatidly-pained appearance, he was just a no BS kinda guy. No worries right? That evening, after deciding we would wait on the weather for three more hours, I asked him if we could get back in our room – having paid the full price for 24 hours of occupancy. He leaned back in his stool, crossed his arms and looked at me with disdain through glasses that made his eyes seems rather large, "Well, you’re entitled to it. Do you have your key?"

That morning he had told us to leave the key on the dresser and lock the door behind us. "No" I replied, "I locked the door like you said I should."

"Well, I don’t have a key; there’s nothing I can do for you." Behind this charmer was a wall of keys, and it really defied logic that after each tenant left they would not have a means of opening the room again. I like to think the best of people, but this gentleman was doing his best to make me pay for those assumptions. Fortunately a recent hire, and English bloke, who had been watching the whole episode unfold, piped in.

"What about those keys?" he gestured to the wall, covered as it was in keys.

'They probably don’t work. If they do, it might be this one," he said and pulled off a key ring that looked suspiciously like the key ring that a maid might use as she made her rounds to change the bedding.

Our Limey hero, probably earning a tail-chewing in the process, grabbed the keys and led us back to our room. Trying several keys, he found the correct one. We slept. I believe I am better at napping than Anthony. I think this might irritate him a little. We had instant coffee in the room to wake up and made our way onto the road.

75 km down the road in Penong at the local roadhouse there, we met a kindred spirit of our landlord. She served us terrible coffee and under-heated pastries, but it was really the frown that gave it the vitriolic taste that I really enjoy.

Except for rain, nothing happened on the way to Ceduna. However, I was somewhat disappointed that the lady at the information center who gave us our Nullarbor Completion Certificates was so nice. I was hoping for a hat-trick of nasty people. You just can’t always get what you want.

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