Sunday, January 17, 2010

Show us yer map of Tassie

I'm baaack but still suffering a slight speech impediment due to my lips, tongue, throat and palate being continually burned, blistered and shredded into unflattering flaps of peeling skin giving the inside of my mouth a slightly moist and creepy diorama featuring stalactites of weeping flesh fringes due to the molten temperatures of the coffee served in Tasmania.

After a week with the family in South Australia, we three Locketts drove the bum-numbingly boring trip back to Melbourne ("Oh look, it's the Big Koala! And yes, it still looks like a pile of koala droppings and isn't it disturbing that the entrance to the gift shop is via its crotch?") and hopped on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry the following day, thus ensuring another bum-numbingly boring trip to another state.

In fact, despite the 'entertainment' on offer during our 'cruise', Mr Migraine decided to pay me his first visit of 2010 and because we ferry virgins didn't push pensioners down the stairs in the rush to snaggle some decent seats and were left to while away nine hours sitting beside the squeaking door that desperate smokers forgot to close; treating us to passing farts, stray fumes, lashing winds and new hairstyles. If the door did close - again to an agonisingly loud shriek - the wind continued to blast in via the gap in the window that thoughtfully included sea spray spat via the drooping pollyfilla directly into my eyes.

Add the 'Best of Stevie Wonder' being inexplicably and evilly piped through some tinny mono speakers in every part of the boat, toilet doors that would shake into the locked position due to the lurching of the seas thus fooling me into waiting and hopping fifteen minutes longer before I twigged that no-one was in there and the joys of an machine-excreted nescafe with added cardboard flavour and it was a long trip indeed.

I did, however, have the foresight the night before to predict (accurately, as it turned out) that the food available to purchase might not be particularly appealing - especially when wedged in between decades-old lavender fudge, devil tea-towels and the worst example of photoshopping I'd ever seen, featuring two headed people and animals on postcards optimistically and greedily priced at $2.50 apiece.

Love Chunks surveyed the snacks - dried fruit, meusli bars, chocolate and pretzels and then said, "I've got myself some Lucky Nuts." Bless him; he's not usually one to brag about such things but it gave us several minutes of double entendres and some sober explanations afterwards to Sapphire which at least got my mind off Mr Wonder wailing, "....and it's much toooo late to cry...." That's his opinion.

Then, after the nine hours had finally ended and we were yawning in our cars, another hour was wasted: "Would the owner of the Nissan Microbe on level 3 please come and collect their vehicle to enable the rest of the garage to leave," said the loud speaker, mercifully quelling Stevie Wonder for a wee moment.

Another four cars were called in the following hour. To this day I have no idea what would cause anyone to want to dawdle getting into their car after nine hours on a ferry....

As for our fortnight in Tasmania, I learned a few things.

Firstly, their love of quirky signs:

Secondly, that Love Chunks is irrepressibly perky on holidays and had us up at 6.30am most days in order to catch a ferry, do a river cruise, get on the road to the next location, see some animals before they became road kill and generally wanting to fully carpe his diem.

Thirdly, Tasmanians, as mentioned first up, love their coffees searingly, hellishly HOT. Love Chunks and I actually developed some empathy for the US woman who infamously sued Maccas a decade ago for being burned by their coffee. Tasmanian stuff needed to be purchased, bleary-eyed soon after LC's 6.30am start, and carefully left alone until it was ready to be drunk at morning tea time.

At Deloraine we stopped off for a wee (I estimate that fifty percent of my time is spent on holidays looking for toilets), some bakery goodies and a coffee. Sapph and I wandered off to the ablutions block which was made out of convict-hewn bricks from a demolished building, had a chat and a pleasant amble through the gardens before dawdling into the bakery. Love Chunks greeted me more effusively than normal.

Turns out he didn't have his wallet on him, so he was waiting there with two coffees, two sausage rolls (his and Sapph's) and a custard tart (mine) and chatting up Maureen behind the counter ("Hey Kath, I showed her my Lucky Nuts") until I coughed up the readies.

By this stage we knew that the coffee - already causing our palms to throb with rapidly painful heat despite the insulated cups - wasn't ready to drink and thus busied ourselves sitting outside in the sunshine eating our selected versions of naughty pastries. Dusting the crumbs off, we three headed towards our car, parked right in front of the bakery.

Poor Sapphire had a coughing fit and promptly vomited up her entire sausage roll. After checking that she was OK (she always is - she's been a 'better out than in' girl her entire life), we clambered in. My coffee sat between my legs as I plugged in my seatbelt and somehow, as I turned around to hand some water to Sapphire, it tipped........ straight into my map of Tassie.

AAAAARGH I shrieked, causing more coffee to scald that most delicate of regions as I frantically wriggled about (hindsight reveals that this merely created more coverage for burning rather than a quick escape), grabbed Sapph's water and doused myself before leaping out of the car, still screaming. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Maureen's worried face, deciding to stay inside and perhaps stick a 'back in ten minutes' sign on the locked door in case we decided to bother her again.

It hurt. No blisters thank God, but a hot throbbing that - usually welcome in that area on other more erotic and private occasions - wasn't pleasant. I wet myself with more water, unzipped my fly, took off my belt and slid my jeans down to Plumber's Crack level and said, "Keep driving, LC." He did, eventually, after his hooting, mocking laughter subsided. He, at least, got to enjoy drinking his coffee (an hour later) whilst mine had soaked into my knickers, under-butt beach towel and - most irritatingly - up my bike rack, causing the 'ol seat cheeks to have to be unsealed via steam, baby wipes and a fair bit of swearing later on.

My Fourth observation is that road kill rules. We'd barely got off the ferry before several beautiful, fluttering butterflies had smooshed themselves on our windscreen and a galah flew straight into our front grille before being flattened into a feathery pancake by the car behind us. The road itself resembled the underside of a block of almond chocolate with lumps of Tasmanian devils, pademelon wallabies, rats, blackbirds, rabbits and possums. For every animal we saw alive, there were 50 spread like pate on the bitumen.

The fifth observation was a pleasant surprise. It is South Australia's own Farmers Union Iced Coffee that rules the corner shops here, not Melbourne's mediocre Big M. It'd be easier and cheaper to ship Big M over, but Tasmanians clearly know quality (at least in flavoured milk drinks) when they see it.

Finally, it was clear that after a week inhaling every fattening, sugary, cholesterolly and bad for me food in Victor Harbor followed by a fortnight of fudge, chips-with-everything, cheap chocolate, roadhouse pasties and no running whatsoever that photos do NOT lie. Elmo, when worn by me, has a set of cheeks that only a squirrel storing nuts for the winter possesses. Back to the treadmill.


Catastrophe Waitress said...

Welcome back!
I hope your buttocks are fully recovered and you get the odd lie-in before the torture of school lunch preparation begins again.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Projectivist. All my buttockular region has healed and I'm now hopeful of a bigger sleep in seeing as Love Chunks starts work tomorrow and I'm merely the entertainment coordinator for Sapphire and her 'bed jumping' buddy Juliet, who is staying over tonight.

Cat J B said...

Oh my, love the elmo t-shirt on you, haha! Glad to see you back, and that you survived the bum-numbing portions of your trip, and geez, that the coffee didn't do any permanent damage. Ouchee!

lc said...

Always liked Elmo - especially his cheeks!

River said...

Back to the treadmill? Wear a binding, too tight type of bra, to stop Elmo's cheeks from bouncing too much causing chafing....
I notice we now have the exact same haircut.
So Tassie coffee is searingly, hellishly hot? That's the best kind. Anything cooler than that means I can taste the milk which means I can't drink it. (Oddly enough, can't drink black coffee either.)
The roadkill is just diner that the locals haven't scraped up yet. Hi Tasmanians!! Just kidding here.
It's nice to be home isn't it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I've always hates lava coffee too. I once picked up a scalding hot cup from a coffee shop in America and was so shocked by the heat of the cup that I dropped it on the floor, flooding the shop.

To drop it on my crotch would have been extremely unpleasant.




Baino said...

Last time I was in Deloraine they had aggressive ducks!j
Interesting observation on the road kill too. I remember loads of it but never saw a 'live' Tassie Devil once despite camping in quite remote campsites. Heard them but never saw one. Ouchies re the coffee although my complaint is that it's never hot enough! Actually Elmo never looked happier!

deepkickgirl said...

Oh Kath, you look gorgeous and you all look very happy and healthy.

Glad you're back, I was starting to get a little worried.

Tassie sounds like fun (not the ferry trip, I had heard that it sucks majorly - Lucky Nuts or not). We enjoyed our time there 12 years ago and would love to take the kids one day.

We actually loved Deloraine particularly and even looked in the real estate windows. We could have bought a beautiful renovated 4 bedroom church house on 1 acre for $50,000 at the time.

drb said...

YOu have convinced me:
1) Always buy car with a cup holder!

2)Never to drink hot drink, ever. ;-)

3) Not to go to the garage to collect my car until I was paged for if I were on the Spirit of Tasmania!

drb said...

It is unfortunate that Mr Migraine visited on the ferry.
My trip in the ferry years ago were quite enjoyable, just as depicted on the website, maybe the cruise was new then.

Kath Lockett said...

Cat and River - Elmo's too good a t-shirt to use for running. Besides, I'm afraid that any excess bouncing will stretch out his cheeks permanently.

PlasMan, if you dropped my coffee on your crotch you'd only have your cats (and no kids) to complain about...!

The ducks were still seagull-aggressive there, Baino. As were the currawongs with their pointy long beaks and beady yellow eyes set in their evil black bodies....*shudder*

Thanks DeepKickGirl. We too looked in some real estate windows, thinking wild and crazy thoughts about selling up and moving down there. That is until the realities of isolation, tiny infrastructure, few jobs etc started to emerge on our 'we could run a BnB' fantasies.

You could be right, DrB - those slack car owners were the clever ones, taking their time to wander down to the garages.

Ann ODyne said...

YES! The road-kill was a feature of my trip to Tassie.
and 'baked goods' - oh yes indeed those BANJO's franchises with their custard and blueberry filled muffins.

I went there on the old PoT and so did the entire Black Ulins bikie gang ... the sound of 150 Harleys simultaneously igniting the moment the garage doors were open will remain with me long after the death I pray for daily

Ann ODyne said...

Just as the ferry docked at Queenscliffe and I was getting in the car on the lower level, I saw you steaming through The Heads and took a photo. added now at my place.

Much sympathy re headache - there's only one thing worse than a migraine, and that's a migraine in a boat on rocky waters.
I used to get them fortnightly and was addicted to the resulting pethidine, then I moved from Brighton to Woollahra and have never had one again, and never even regular headaches. go figure. hopefully this will happen for you (no not Woollyahra, but some weird change that works).

River said...

Your "get shucked" picture intirgues me. Someone from Oyster Bay perhaps?

Rowe said...

Hey, she is back!! Hi Kath ... sounds like you had a fun time, I had quite a few laughs reading this post. Yikes, that coffee burn was nasty for you. NIne hours on a ferry, wow, now you'd know how those poor illegal boaties must feel when they spot a shore line and are told, go back the other way. Who wouldn't be desperate to get off the boat. Some photos do lie if you are thinking you look anything but fabulous.

Rowe said...

And custard tart, a bakery favourite for me, but has to be baked, not the faux variety. No bake, no buy!

drb said...

Finally!!! A new photo on your blog!! Me LIKE!

Helen said...

You're back! Now I have something to read during my lunch-break :)

Sorry about the coffee, it sounds painful!

Lidian said...

Goodness, what a 'vacation'! That ferry trip sounds like something out of Dante. Hope you are having what I always enjoy, the vacation-from-the-vacation (I always need a long one myself).

That coffee incident sounds dreadful. If you ever come to Canada, and you get Tim Hortons coffee (which is pretty well a must) - it is really good but the takeout cup lids are NOT secure. I know this, because I had a minor incident with a coffee and beige capri pants on holiday in Nova Scotia. Nothing at all like yours, though.

ashleigh said...

That ferry trip sounds even worse than the Dover to Calais trip done by me and Mrs Dump about 600 years ago - the one where Mort made his appearance.

In our 2 weeks driving like fury around tassie a couple of years ago, I had no recollection of road kill at all.

One of the things we did notice driving across the top bit from Stanleys Nut (and if you think Lucky Nuts are good, you want to see Stanleys Nut. Now that's an impressive sight.)... andyow as we drive from Stanleys Nut toward Devonport, we found that all roads do not in fact lead to Rome. They lead to Wynyard. There were 17 signposted turnoffs to Wynyard. I've no idea what's there, but it must be terribly important.

(Appropriate to a story about travel, todays word verification is "hooffimm")