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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm A Country Member. Remember? Part Two.

Despite the Ghosts Of A Surprisingly Moderate Number Of Beers, I woke up at the Knickerbocker on Saturday bursting with the joy of living and all but surrounded by animated woodland creatures. Pesky little bastards.

Showered and ready for our first full day of regional ramblin', Milly and I made our way downstairs to the bistro, where both Jude (our generic name for ladies who serve bacon) and the Bitch Toaster From Hell were discovered to have had miraculous makeovers since our last visit. One smiled and served perfectly poached eggs, the other made things brown and crispy. Buoyed by our mutual love of condiments, Milly and I declared Saturday 'International Pepper Day'. Mark it in your diaries.

Without further ado, adieu, or Aga-Doo, we jumped in the car and continued our journey westward, driving through the gorgeous town of Blayney and noting the majestic fa├žade of its Chinese restaurant, the Hang Sing, or as Milly dubbed it, "a zinger of a chinger". Chinese restaurants in country towns absolutely rock, and Milly formed a plan to document them photographically as a special side-project.

On this trip, we decided we should stop off for more sight-seeing, and started as soon as we spotted the turn-off to Blayney Wind Farm. For the uninitiated, wind farms are energy-generating "farms" consisting of gigantic white windmill-like structures. Some think them noble and picturesque. Milly thinks they're spooky as all get-out. The viewing area, whilst affording a distant view and some informative placards, didn't freak Milly out anywhere near enough, so we drove up the hill on a dirt road to get a closer, eerier look, also enabling us to hear their chilling whoooOOMP whoooOOMP noise. Milly was on edge, evinced by the fact that she kept calling the windmills "freaky alien motherfuckers". I, being a supportive and comforting kind of friend, laughed and laughed and laughed.

Whilst planning this particular road trip, our initial goal was to stay our first night in either the town of Barry or the town of Neville, mostly due to the fact that, once we had discovered they existed, the urge to visit them became irresistible. Coming soon: Road Trip Visiting Only Towns Named After Blokes. Unfortunately we hadn't been able to book any rooms in either town, so we abandoned the idea. Just as we were leaving the Wind Farm, however, we happened upon a road sign pointing to Barry. Our pupils fully dilated, we wordlessly turned the car in Barry's direction, using fate as our navigator and kismet as our co-pilot.

Barry is a tiny town (population 80), primarily consisting of grass, houses and a sign.

During our two-minute stopover, fate and kismet (doing their assigned jobs most bodaciously) caused us to discover another road sign pointing towards Neville. Needless to say, we followed it.

Neville (population 100) is slightly more spunky than Barry, and in addition to having its own sign, it also plays host to an instantly endearing style of accommodation in the form of Neville Siding. At Neville Siding, you can sleep in a converted train carriage on a hill, and their website lists "fossicking" as one of its available activities. There is nothing I don't love about Neville Siding.

Back on the road, Milly and I entertained ourselves by looking at cows. Despite being one of the most rock n' roll chicks in like, the known cosmos, Milly used to work for a rural newspaper, making her the resident expert on bovines. Strange, then, that:
a) after a long time of being ignored by the cows no matter how often we yelled "MOO!" at them, a small herd by a fence looked up at us when shouted at, and watched us drive by. Milly got very excited and squealed "Oh my god! They totally looked at us! They totally did!"; and
b) Milly was also heard (herd?) to say "They're tops, aren't they, cows? They're like giant Rotweiller/Staffie crosses".
Okay, so I saw where she was coming from, but I reckon they're less like dogs than - oh, I don't know. Cows?

Observational Aside: Mark Rothko may have got all his artistic inspiration from observing great big fields of Canola blooming in country New South Wales. Either that, or he got it from the perceived erosion of mythological boundaries as a result of imperialism and scientific discovery. I always get those two mixed up.

Our next stop was Cowra, where we discovered to our dismay that the Cowra Smokehouse, home of tanks of frenzied trout, big men with small heads, and various different-shaped globs of deliciousness, had closed. The only thing that could possibly cheer us up was the sight of another chinese restaurant and some morning tea.

The morning tea part would be efficiently taken care of, we thought we could safely assume, at the Rose Garden Coffee Shop, so we entered, queued up, and ordered a cup of coffee and a cup of tea. Note: we did not order golden chalices filled with the breast-milk of rare lemurs. The Rose Garden Coffee Shop has eight staff members who seem to all use the one brain on some kind of time-share plan, provided the clock dictating the "time" part is about three days too slow. Half an hour later, we were finally handed a cup of magma-hot coffee, and another cup of dark liquid with a teabag hanging out. This is what Milly looks like when she's been in a room with slow stupid people for a long time, and has scalded the length of her digestive tract from mouth to anus:

The only thing you should ever say to a woman with this facial expression is "Have you lost weight?" Otherwise, just shut up.

Another hour of driving, and we finally arrived at Cuzza's place in Quandialla, where we were greeted by eighteen kinds of excellence known as Cuzza, and twenty-three kinds of cute known as Reuben, her one-year-old son. After hugging and telling each other how gorgeous we all still are, we headed off for the Bribbaree Show. For those of you who don't know, Country Shows give locals the chance to:
a) showcase the fruits of their labour;
b) catch up with other locals;
c) drink beer whilst admiring tractors; and
d) eat all kinds of god-awful shit.

In other words, Country Shows are awesome. Right girls?


To be continued…


shellity said...

I loved this. I love moo-ing at cows on a road-trip (and consider it mandatory). I love the idea of a Rural Chinese Restaurant Photo Essay, particulary the inclusion of the 'Hong Restaurant Kong'. I also love the descrepancy between big-city-gimme-now-or-I'll-sue customer service and small-town-yeah-yeah-when-I've-finished-my-knitting cups of tea.

davey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
davey said...

'Zinger of a Chinger' - I am completely stealing that. It might even be the best thing I've ever heard.

In other news, you made me *really* homesick Jo. Interesting that I can talk to my parents and friends, watch the Australian news, and even stumble across vegemite at times, without that longing of home... however an ill-equipped chinese dive out in the sticks that has been trussed up like a painted harlot makes me go: "Awww.."

I miss road trips.

davey said...

I just had two word verifications that went:


and then


If I get one more thinly veiled reference to my stupidity, I'm like, gonna headbutt a wall.

Jo said...

Shellity: Milly went inside the 'Hong Restaurant Kong' to get a menu. You'd be surprised how many of their meals include bacon.

Davey: You think you're homesick now - wait until Part Three, in which I eat a Dagwood Dog.

gigglewick said...

my friend has a perverse inclination to enter country show cooking competitions, just to mess with the heads of hyper-competitive 70 year olds.

Now that I'm living in the country, that has a whole lot less appeal than once it did.

Our local chinese restaurant is run by people who actually migrated (first generation) from Beijing. But it still has bacon on the menu.

LW said...

oooh my old home towns. I used to live half way between the Blayney Chinese and the Cowra Chinese. And for the record.........I cant find a sweet and sour pork to match the cowra mobs!

(i was up past the windmills and the cows on the right lol)

Milly said...

I'm salivating for Part 3. And Part 4, in which we are The Awesomes.