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Full Circle

Day 131: King's Creek

Michael Palin - Full CircleWake to the sound of galah birds (pink-throated, white-winged members of the parrot family) calling to each other like doors on squeaky hinges.

Over a swagman's breakfast - eggs, bacon and sausage cooked on a wood fire - Ian, dressed for the day in blue and white check shirt, jeans and trusty bush hat, promises me that what I am about to take part in is one of the great adrenaline rushes I shall ever experience. Westy doesn't help by adding that bungy-jumping is tame compared to what we're going to do. It's the 'we' that alarms me. I can feel my sausages resurfacing as they speak.

At half-past seven our armada of vehicles leaves camp and drives off down bumpy red earth tracks into the bush. This is Mad Max time. Wursty, wearing a turquoise cut-off and a scarf tied, bandanna-style, beneath his baseball hat, drives a high chassis all-terrain Land Cruiser. Westy rolls up and down the column on a Yamaha 350, a black tube leading from his helmet to a water bag slung on his back. A helicopter is somewhere ahead of us, in the high wide skies, searching out the camels. Thin cassia trees provide the only escape from a hard unblinking sun. This is the sort of place where flying saucers land and things fall out of the sky. Land that is old and tired and has seen everything.

It's also Monty Python time. Even in my state of heightened anxiety I cannot hold back a smile as Ian strides to the top of a scrubby ridge, spreads his hand Moses-like out over the wilderness and declares: 'Great camel spotting country!'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 131
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: King's Creek
  • Book page no: 189

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