Saturday, 15 April 2017

Coober Pedy


I have been saying for some long time now that I could quite possibly be just a tiny bit of an anarchist. I mean I don't like rules or rule makers or doing as I am told and every time the government makes up another bloody law telling me what I must or can't do I get a case of the screaming irrits, and if it wasn't against some more than likely small print law against hurting the feelings of machines, I might well chuck something heavy at the tellie when such news breaks.

But I reckon I have seen a bit of anarchy in action in Coober Pedy and so now I am not so sure.

As you drive in from the north, there are kilometres of conical slag heaps of different sizes and colours, just sitting there pert as a Madonna bra and twice as brazen. All this mining and never an attempt to 'make good'. I was surprised.

Except then it was explained that if anything is made good then the next fella or bird who pops in to try their luck, much like chucking rolls of cash at a roulette wheel it seems, well they might be digging a tunnel under the made good bit and the whole shooting match would collapse on their heads and clearly that would not be good. So all this random, perhaps not, but a number of miners told us that it was just  'crap shoot', digging and loads of secret tunnels going who knows where, we were pleased that the ground was rock cos otherwise if it was sand it could have collapsed beneath us as we yomped around. Yeh but for the rock, I reckon that the main street's footpath would have come with a weight warning cos it must be like honeycomb under there.

And the building is no different. There is a large Aboriginal settlement on the edge of town and these houses are your bog standard looking places, on stumps so I guess you can see the snakes coming, but most of the privately owned homes have been bored right into the rock. I am not sure if there is any control about the digging or the direction or the prerequisite number or height of power points, but like moles they go. The outside of the homes is mostly more than a little ordinary, cos of course in 65 degree heat in the summer, not much of a garden is possible, but inside anything is possible.

Stevie wanted to stay underground, so I dutifully found an apartment that fitted the bill and we went to check in. It was my first look see at undergroundness.

Stevie marched in along with the fella and they were chatting away and I got to the front door and my feet called a halt. It was tidy enough and didn't lack for space, but there was just no way I could get my feet to take my even close to the back of the place. It did go back a long long long fucking long way. In fact it went so far back that without lights on you couldn't see a marching band coming at ya. It was fucking DARK!

I could see from the outside that there were vent hole looking things that might have provided air, but what if  birds sat on all of 'em at the same time? NO AIR! What if a dust storm rolled in and covered 'em all up? NO AIR.  What if the owner turned out to be some crazy homicidal maniac who fancied the smell of rotting flesh so he covered all the vents with Gladwrap and locked us in there by bolting the front door closed. Yeh I was trying to calculate how long we'd last.

It's fair to say rationality flew right out of the nonexistent window and I freaked well and truly out and so we stayed at a very nice place called The Mud Hut - above ground with lots of windows and air - thank you very much - sorry Stevie.

We were there for 2 nights and had a good look around. I took my turn driving on the ruttity rut rut road and we looked at opal earrings.

I reckon the locals might have been very pleased to see that back of us cos for the first time in a long time, there was a blackout - town wide, and not just one night, but both nights we were there.

With luck like that it's a good thing we aren't miners.