Thursday, January 17, 2013

Appropriate Family Holidays

Growing up we travelled a lot, not fun beach holidays in Fiji or Coffs Harbour like lots of families but dusty driving and camping holidays where excitement meant traveling one thousand kilometres in a day. Inevitably we ended up in Coober Pedy a few times. In itself this is a pretty crappy place, no one lives above ground for a start, and a normal touristy day here involves sifting through piles of dirt. So I guess my parents were looking for something different when they took us to Crocodile Harry’s house. They must have seen it advertised somewhere as a thing to do, so we hauled our asses over to this odd ranch outside the main drag.
Littered with debris the place was surrounded with broken down cars and (surely a made up memory) tumbleweeds rolling on past. We paid our two dollars, or however much it was that he had the gall to charge, and headed into his “nest”. Inside his underground house was a wall made of old dusty bottles and, I kid you not, a wall covered in women’s bras. There must have been hundreds of them, some of them signed with ‘x’s and marked with lipsticked kisses. So after what must have been five minutes of standing awkwardly in this man’s house we left. Retrospectively, that man was just a lecherous old drunk and I don’t know what possessed my parents to take my brother and I there, I guess it was the same parenting instinct that allowed them to cover my school books in gigolos. Or perhaps it was just the nineties, when people weren’t so damn precious about their children. Either way, all these years later I think it’s pretty hilarious that he charged children money to look at garbage and some dirty underwear.
So if you’re ever in Coober Pedy, be sure to check it out, I don’t know where the name “Crocodile” came from, but it’s surely a name that delusional old man gave himself. He probably thinks he’s Paul Hogan. Hell, maybe he is, and it was all the cash from his tourist enterprise that he wasn’t declaring to the tax office.

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