Going from a town where there’s just over a million people to one where there’s just over 23,000 is great in some ways, and in others it is the strangest thing.
For one thing, anywhere you go, it seems there’s a face that you know. When we first got here, there was this guy from the local fish shop who returned a griller to our store, and one of our staff members completely insulted him – well the thing was filthy. I ran into that guy everywhere we went for the next 3 weeks. Walking down the main street, shopping in the supermarket, they were at the next table to us at the local Chinese retaurant, and there was a local airshow, they were sitting within 50 metres of us.
The local paper only talks about local stuff that happens. So generally, when something happens, you know you’re going to find out about it. For weeks there was these loud explosions happening at night time. One day we were driving to work, and there was this kangaroo tail by the side of the road. It looked very odd, not like someone hit a roo and kept going and bits of the roo were left behind, but like it was cut off deliberately.
Two weeks later, both mysteries were solved when the local paper reported that a man had been pulled over by the police for a breath test. He blew over the limit, so the police searched the car, and they found –
– a loaded 22 rifle on the back seat
– a machete
– kangaroo body parts in the boot of the car!
So this guy was going roo shooting – in a populated area, at night time. Thankfully they did not give his name, if they did and then he came into work as a customer, I might have freaked out totally. He doesn’t sound like a nice guy.
We went to the supermarket one day and the woman (clearly not a local, more explanation on that next) in front of us was called out to the carpark because her car had been run into. I said to my other half “well, whatever happened it’ll be in the paper” It turned out her kids had been left in the car and one had released the handbrake, the car was on a hill, and rolled down a slope.
How can you tell if someone is a local, or not? This is absolutely impossible to explain, but you just *know*. It might be what they are wearing, it might be that you’ve never seen their face before, or it might be a Friday afternoon at the shopping centre, and this is where people go to their summer houses for the weekend. They all have city stress on their face – that’s the best way of explaining it. They also usually have expensive sunglasses, and are dressed for travelling.
Fridays, let us get into that for a minute. This town is cut in half by the highway. You don’t want to have to go anywhere on a Friday afternoon, because you will get stuck in traffic. Traffic = people driving down from Sydney for the weekend. For a people who are used to driving from one side of town to the other in less than 10 minutes, to have that same trip take 30 can certainly bring on road rage. You want to get any shopping done well before 3pm – preferably on a different day entirely. Sundays they all go back, so it isn’t a good day to go anywhere either.
Driving – most of the major streets around here are 70kms an hour. The highway drops back to 70kms an hour until it gets out of town then it goes back to 110kms an hour. A lot of the roads that take you places you want to go which are say, 10-20kms away, they will be 110kms. You get used to going faster, and when you can’t go as fast as usual, you get annoyed.
Where would people want to go? I’ll dig out some pics of our beaches for you and post them soon. There’s this stunning beach less than 10kms away from here, and it is the most incredible, unspoiled beach you’ll see. We have a local river, I stood in it fishing last summer, and it was so much fun. Fish nibbling at your toes, but not your bait.
However, me, I long for shops. I never did before when I could go to them anytime – and I rarely did go to them, but now I have to drive some distance for decent shopping, I miss them.