Friday, November 21, 2008

Monkey Miarea

You just know you're off the beaten path in Australia when fruit grown in the very same country costs more in the shops than they do in shops in Norway.

And as if I needed further clues, when I was at the local pub the other night, people introduced themselves to me as Rex, Shelz, Jimboy, Mugsy, Pep, Skeg and Wookie. And those were not even made-up names, they had the driver licenses to prove that these were their actual names!

I temporarily settled in Denham, the "capital" of the Shark Bay shire. People there seemed to lead nice lives, although there weren't that many of them. Some of them mainly drink beer, others have several other jobs as well. When I wanted to rent a car, I was told to go talk to the hairdresser, as he also was the local rental company. Oh, and I should go to him outside school hours, as he was also the principal of the school there. When I finally got hold of him, it was of little use to me. The rental car (he only has one) would not be available until sometime next month. Oh well...

Denham has existed for quite a while. I found a tombstone from 1905 at the local cemetary. It may be difficult to live in Denham, but it must be even harder to die there. During the 103 years that have passed since the first grave was dug, only 65 people or so have succeeded in ending their lives in or near the town. At least that's my conclusion after having counted the tombstones. I had to ask someone whether this low number was just because they didn't usually put up a tombstone when someone was eaten whole by one of the many sharks in the area. But no. The only thing coming even close to a shark attack that anyone had heard about, was when a large, old, stuffed fish in the "restaurant" fell down during a particularly lively evening there, and hit someone in the head, causing a concussion.

I spent a day exploring the area on foot. Many a time my heart stopped as something completely unexpected jumped out of a bush just a few meters away and ran off into the distance. My best shock of the day was when the escapist turned out to be some kind of strange lizard that ran using only its hind legs, much like a person. I wish all animals would do that!

I also discovered a strange spider, Golden or Yellow Orb Something. It's venomous, but not really dangerous. Much like this blog. When you carelessly walk straight into its web, it's like walking into a rope or a hard-strung wire, and you do that a lot. Someone else have of course discovered it before me, and not only have they done so, they even have taken some of the spider DNA and merged it with goat DNA. So now there are goats walking around that instead of producing milk can be "milked" for really sturdy rope. This material is used to make bulletproof vests, even more robust than Kevlar. Scientists ARE mad!

Near Denham is Monkey Mia, a world heritage area. It's well-known for being home to large herds of seacows and dolphins. So I have spent the last couple of days feeding dolphins by hand and tipping sleeping seacows. At least I've done some of that, you guess which.

My next stop is Coral Bay. Good luck in finding that on the map!
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