Escaping the didge

Victoria River
Sunday, July 1, 2007

We decamped before sunrise as today is going to be a long driving day. Adrian says that it could take up to 15 hours to get to Victoria River to make up for the mucked up itinerary. We drove the 53km's of bone jarring, bowel loosening road out of the Bungle Bungles and all on board are looking forward to long hot showers - having not even had a wash for 2 full days.
Later - we made it to Victoria River late afternoon, after only 9 hours of driving. I think Adrian has a tendency to over exaggerate times and distances and the effort involved - forgetting that he is being paid rather well for this job. He sometimes acts like he is doing us a favour and it can get quite tedious.
We set up camp like well organised troopers and dived into the long awaited showers. Disappointed is not the word for it. Lukewarm dribble is a kind way to describe the worst showers in the Northern Territory. With liberal amounts of soap at least we smelt less like campfire, although we only managed to penetrate the top 2 layers of grime.
After dinner the girls headed up to the bar for alcoholic drinks and to fraternise with the locals. Unfortunately the locals were all engrossed in a football game so we ended up sitting outside being regaled by stories of 'our most embarrassing moments'. The Danish girl won with her tale about a bleeding nose and the rollercoaster.
When she was a young teenager, her parents took her and her sister to Disneyland. They had waited ages to board the rollercoaster and just as it came around to their turn Kristina realized her nose was bleeding. Her mother went searching through her bag for tissues but none could be found so a sanitary napkin was substituted. By this time the family had boarded the rollercoaster and begun to ride. Kristina had inadvertently applied the pad sticky side to her face -  which failed to absorb much of the blood. She passed the first pad to her sister to hold while she made a second attempt to stem the flow of blood with a new pad. The photo that was taken halfway through the ride shows one sister holding a bloody napkin while the other sister has one firmly stuck to her face. Neither sister was amused.

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There are no princesses when bush camping.
Abandon all your personal hygiene routines and don't be precious about your privacy. Forget makeup, hair straighteners, regular showers, fluffy towels and hairbrushes. The absence of a mirror is very liberating - trust me - we all look as bad as each other.
The first thing to happen once hitting the bush is your face will break out in pimples - this is a natural reaction to the freedom it feels after being smothered by makeup for years.
Second go the fingernails. They will all snap, tear, break and generally disintegrate in front of your eyes.
Every day is a bad hair day. Don't fight it... just wear your favourite baseball cap or beanie at all times.
Learn to pee in the bush. This can be achieved with or without paper. The first time you do this, you will feel great paranoia but after a few days you will be dropping your daks with the best of 'em.
Contrary to all the ads on TV, clothes do not need to be washed after being worn once. They can last 3 days and nights before they start to show the dirt -  unless you have been silly enough to bring white Tshirts. Even the white Tshirts will not show the dirt after the first time they are washed - because they will be grey - like the rest of your clothes.
Bodies can also last 3 days without a wash - as long as everyone else around you smells equally as bad, no-one will notice.
The constant application of Aerogard is good for masking body odour. Everything and everyone will also smell like campfire smoke.
The quality of the shower pressure and heat of the water will be determined by how desperately you need a wash.
Every inch of your body will be covered in red blotchy marks from insect bites - these will be in various stages of healing and some may appear as nasty infected lumps while others, which you have been unable to resist scratching, will be vicious black scabs.
And remember the most important rule when bush camping - the necessity to pee in the wee small hours of the  morning is directly inversely proportional to how cold it is outside the tent.

01 Leaving a mark
Leaving a mark
02 The girls at the bar
The girls at the bar
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