Road Trip in the Country of Queensland

OMG. Shall we be issuing passports next? And shall this likely lad be our first prime minister/president? We found him near Jericho, a wide place in the road in Central Queensland. The locals there like to decorate their termite mounds in such fashion. Bush arts are alive and well in this neck of the woods, and here is proof.

We had been planning a trip to Japan for October, but the world has changed. I can’t even travel to the other States. States? At least that’s what they were formerly known as. You know: New South Wales, Victoria, etc. The seven points on the large star adorning the flag of the Country formerly known as ‘Australia’. The man elected Prime Minister of this erstwhile Country, some seventeen short months ago, now keeps running around trying to pretend he’s still in charge.

You think my language is hyperbolic? Give me a break. I’m just putting into words what things feel like to me.

So with borders effectively closed in all directions, my partner (Janet) and I set off on a road trip within our brand-new Country. I mean the Country of Queensland. It’s been many a long year since we ventured on a road trip. It’s now not only a presenting possibility, but a present necessity. If we want to travel at all, that is.

My daughter has fewer possibilities for travel. She lives in a Country (formerly a State) of Covid lepers known as Victoria. This is a small Country, like Belgium is within Europe, so she has much less room to move than have Janet and I. Moreover, last time I spoke to her, viz. to my daughter, her lock-down conditions forbade her to move more than 5 kilometres from home. She lives in this home with husband and four young children. All six inhabitants of this home are working or studying from home.

Are they stir crazy? Do dogs have fleas?

So I promised I would text her one photo every day whilst on my road trip. That was the least I could do.

Trouble is, my phone is with Optus. Some of the remote places we go to (like Winton which is where we were just a few days back) are not covered by Optus. I think I may have to post the daily photos on Facebook, but this seems much less personal. Which is a pity, because my daughter had been so looking forward to living vicariously via my daily texted photos. No good telling her to get a life.  What other options are available to her?

I feel very sorry for my daughter, and for the predicament in which she finds herself.  But what more can I do?  A microscopic virus  is dictating the terms here.

What, then, have I discovered on our road trip round our brand new Country? Well, the dinosaur sites at and near Winton and Richmond have the capacity to astound all who venture there bar the totally brain-dead. Who would not be moved by the visual evidence of a dinosaur stampede, involving three different species of dinosaur, at Lark’s Quarry outside of Winton? My message to all citizens of Queensland is: get out there and see it. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. We’ll be back.

Another remarkable phenomenon we encountered out there in regional Queensland was the sheer volume of traffic. People who would normally be holidaying in Bali, Fiji, and the like, were hitting the road in outback Queensland. Businesses – hotels, restaurants, tour outfits, and so forth – that imagined they were cactus just two months ago, were now finding themselves snowed under. It’s a brave traveller out there who fails to book things in advance. Don’t expect to just rock up any more. That may have worked prior to 2020. Different rules now apply.

So 2020 has been a year of total surprises. But not all of them have been unpleasant. Our road trip has been a wonder. If you’ll permit me a cliche, often used these days, one should never waste a good crisis.