I was awoken by the wheels of the huge Airbus A380, on which I had travelled all the way from London, screeching as they hit Australian tarmac. Luckily, I had fallen asleep with my seatbelt fastened and I was therefore not awoken by the cabin crew; giving me some, but not an awful lot, of sleep. After 24 hours of travelling time, I was finally in my last destination.
On leaving the airport, I met with my travel representative, Sheila. She seemed a little over-enthusiastic for three o’clock in the morning and after listening to her rabbit on for almost an hour about the ‘amazing’ features of my holiday, I kindly requested her to “SHUT UP!” I arrived at my abode for the next 2 weeks, a small rental apartment overlooking Sydney harbour, at around 4:30am. After some more intense persuasion, Sheila finally left me in peace.
I pried my eyes open to look at the clock; 2pm. It took a while for my brain to register that it was two o’clock in the afternoon. After some thinking time, I awoke with a gasp. I slowly dragged myself out of the heavenly bed and immediately noticed that my stomach was crying out for food. I went to reach out for the room service menu and then it hit me; I was in rental accommodation. I stressed over the knowledge that pretty soon I was going to have to bare the brightness of the outside world. However, I was so hungry that this really didn’t have much impact on my decision to throw open my suitcase, grab the first item of clothing I saw (it happened to be some dirty jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt) and head straight for the nearest shops. Conveniently, this was just down the small street in which my apartment block was situated, but it still seemed like miles and miles of empty-stomached hell.
I stumbled into the grocery store, drenched in my own sweat (I was now seriously regretting choosing the first thing in my suitcase!) and headed straight for the pastry counter. I asked for 2 croissants but was replied to with a confused glare. Whether it was my British accent or the fact that I felt like I had been hit by a double-decker bus, the man standing on the other side of the counter certainly didn’t know what I was talking about. So, in true British style, I angrily pointed at what I wanted and unsurprisingly, the member of staff angrily passed me the goods. After paying for the croissants, I staggered out of the shop and slowly returned to my apartment.
For what seemed like hours, I sat in complete darkness on a chair in the middle of the apartment, and tucked into the croissants like a grizzly bear that had been hibernating for months. I decided that after my strenuous day that I should call it a night. I got into my pyjamas, which felt excellent after last night sleeping in clothes which I had been wearing for over 30 hours, laid my head on the pillow and fell asleep like a baby. Little did I know; it was only 3pm!
I awoke in an invigorated mood at 5am and decided that after yesterdays complete waste of a day, I would go on an excursion. I found the telephone number of a local company that went on excursions into the outback. I booked myself on the coach leaving at 9am and prepared a small bag of items I thought would be useful: a camera, a notebook, a pen and a small amount of spending money.
I walked down to the company’s office and boarded the coach two minutes early and we left bang on time. After 4 and a half hours on this coach, I started to think that we would never arrive and started chatting to the other tourists on my coach, I found out many facts about their lives and their background.
I turned my head once more to talk to an Australian family, who were simply taking the bus to see their grandmother, and in what seemed like a split second, my head was instantly crushed by an immense force. I felt extremely dizzy and started to profusely vomit. After emptying the contents of my stomach onto the now crumpled coach floor, I started to lever myself out of my seat, which seemed to have halved in size. A meandering river of brick coloured liquid flowed slowly down the angled floor of the coach; a repulsive mixture of sick and blood, streaming from other people’s bodies. After taking a long, hard look around the bus, it appeared I was the only survivor.
As I climbed through the small opening that was once a door, I got a real sense of what had happened; in the road laid a fly ridden mound of flesh, a kangaroo. The coach was over on its side, the front buried into a deep ditch that lined the side of the road. I looked around me and saw nothing, just small shrub like plants, dotted across the horizon. My first thoughts were to find water (I had finished all of my water hours ago). I knew that we had passed nothing in the form of a shop on our extremely long trip, so, I decided to walk into the outback.
I had been walking for at least twelve hours. There were many moments during this time where I saw the remains of houses except one, which was uninhabited. I was very close to giving up, so I sat on a jagged rock to compose myself. Immediately, I noticed a break in the silence of the desert. It sounded like singing, maybe chanting. I was drawn towards it, like a donkey is drawn towards a carrot, and eventually found myself in a small village. I was greeted with a confused smile and after much pointing and whispering, one man was pushed forward.
“Hallo,” he stuttered, “Welcome to the Bladub Tribe.”
The Bladub tribe was an Aborigine group from a small village in the outback. Luckily, I had read about them in the hundreds of guide books I had bought. I pointed towards a well and one woman happily retrieved me a pale of water. It was dusk, and again, I went to see the tribe leader, Masawa, to ask if I could sleep in their village that night.
It wasn’t much: a mud hut with shrub leaves as a mattress and woven grasses for sheets but it was reasonably comfortable. However, it wasn’t a touch on what I was used to in my apartment.
Surprisingly, for the first time since I could remember, I woke up naturally with the sun. I felt refreshed and calm, ready for the day ahead of me. When I left my hut, I was startled to see a woman with a huge grin across her face. She was holding out a bowl containing maize soup. I thanked her kindly for this gesture, and although it wasn’t at all pleasant, it was an extremely nice thing to do for a traveller that they didn’t even speak the language of. I returned to speak to the tribe leader, even though I did like the Bladub tribe, I still really missed my apartment in Sydney, and it was a priority for me to return there.
When I asked the man, he simply chuckled and gestured for me to follow him. He led me out of the back door of his room and pointed forward. There, just ten meters from the tribe’s village, was a busy bus station.