Alice to Adelaide (2.2) — Coober Pedy

Chaos in the Can at Coober Pedy

[Mission to scatter Dad’s ashes in central Australia accomplished, the T-Team Next Generation commenced their journey back down south to Adelaide. Toilet stops were an essential part of the trip. A fact that these conveniences, even in this modern age, sometimes fail to appreciate…And the users too failed to appreciate, thus no mugshots of the “can” in question…

So, in lieu of that particular “robot” model, I have hunted down and flushed out (from my photo collection) an assortment of true blue Aussie dunnies from my travels…through life…]

We settled down at a picnic table near the automated toilets. Anthony prepared the sandwiches while I dashed into the “robot” dunny to do my deed.

Photo 1a: This is a distant cousin of the likely suspect (not at Coober Pedy, though).© L.M. Kling 2016
1b:View of Adelaide Beach coast from Marino rocks with the automated loo © L.M. Kling 2016

While I sat on the tin throne, county and western come Hawaiian music clanged away. Did I detect a banjo while the toilet roll unfurled itself for me? No button to flush. Oh, well. Once I washed my hands, the toilet duly flushed. Then, I placed my hands under the air-dryer. As usual, I am invisible to this universe, and the cohort of air-dryers that belong to it. Air-dryer refused to acknowledge me and blow air on my wet hands. Oh, well, I’ll dry my hands with my own towel from the car that exists quite happily in my universe.

Photo 2: More traditional pair, in the open air, now, in our back yard as planters © L.M. Kling 2016

I step to the sliding door and press the large blue button. The music volume increased. But the doors did not oblige. I pressed the blue button again. Nothing. Just the demented music. Becoming more demented.

Photo 3: Am beginning to prefer the long drop at Ocean Beach Tasmania (note the al fresco wash basin) © L.M. Kling 2016

I read the instructions. And pressed the blue button again.

Nothing

I hit the button.

Kicked the door.

I sat down by the stubborn non-sliding door.

Photo 4: Generational memories from Mum when she lived in Hermannsburg of waiting for her dad to finish and door to open…Meanwhile she danced around the little house…waiting…This photo, a T-Team, next Generation reenactment © L.M. Kling 2013

And waited.

Instructions said I must vacate this automated locked-down establishment in ten minutes. As if to press its point the “robot” toilet increased the annoyance level of the music.

What’s worse, I had entered this pongy prison without my mobile phone. Or jumper. It was cold in there.

Photo 5: That little house in the Hermannsburg Precinct is now itself imprisoned, although Anthony did wait…and reenact the T-Team Next Gen dance.© L.M. Kling 2021

Anthony called from the outside. ‘What’s going on?’

‘I’m trapped,’ I replied. ‘The toilet won’t open.’

‘Have you tried to push the button?’

‘Yes, a million times.’

‘Well, you must’ve done something wrong.’

I noted that the blue button had written on it “touch free” and then I figured, That’s why the toilet’s incarcerated me. Touching it must’ve broken its rules. ‘Has it been ten minutes yet?’

‘Not yet.’

Photo 6: Dreaming of the simple life when a bush will do. But be careful where you aim such camera shots. Apparently, I just missed Mrs T who had to find said “bush”. She appeared from behind a bush after I took this lovely photo of typical Central Australian bush land. She was not amused. © L.M. Kling 2013

Then, the blue button which I’m meant to push for my release from this demented can, the button that has “touch free” displayed on it, lit up and vibrated. But the door refused to budge.

I pushed the door. No joy. It stayed locked and the not-so-ambient music went on and on like some crazy organ-grinder.

I was starting to imagine some security guy in some dug-out office in the middle of Coober Pedy laughing at this old jailbird (me)…when…

Photo 7: Jail cell Port Arthur (equipped with the bucket for use in the corner) © L.M. Kling 2009

A voice from above warned, ‘You have exceeded your stay, you must exit immediately.’

‘Not that I haven’t wanted to,’ I snapped back. Pushed the vibrating bright button, yet again. Pulled the door. Still stubborn as.

‘You have exceeded your stay. You must exit immediately.’ Followed by the crazy music.

I rolled my eyes. ‘I wish.’

Photo 8: Dreaming of freedom. The painted facilities of Sellicks Beach © L.M. Kling 2013

Watched the door. Hoping. Praying it would open.

‘You have exceeded your stay. You must exit immediately.’

I waited and watched. ‘You might need to call the police or emergency services to release me,’ I told Anthony.

As if it heard my warning to call the authorities, the door slid open. I leapt out. ‘Yay! I’m free! I’m free!’ I jumped and danced in front of a rather unimpressed husband. ‘I’m never going to in one of those things again! I thought it was never going to open!’

Photo 9: Ah! Freedom at last! Loo with a view, Rawnsley Park, Flinders Ranges, South Australia There is an actual toilet block. This is the view that greets you upon your exit. © L.M. Kling 2007

‘Come on, let’s have lunch,’ Anthony snipped, ‘We’ve already wasted twenty-five minutes.’

‘Not before I get my jumper, I’m freezing. You don’t know how cold it was in there. I’m never going into a toilet without my mobile phone or a jumper. Ever.’

As we munched on our sandwiches, a brisk wind chilled us to the bone, even with an extra layer of clothing on. A little indigenous boy scampered into the evil “robot’ toilet. Less than a minute later, he exited. Anthony, then went into the same crazy “can” and was out in two minutes.

‘How did you do that?’ I asked.

Anthony replied smugly, ‘I pressed the blue button.’

‘So did I, a dozen times.’

‘You must’ve done something wrong.’

‘Just my luck I had to be incarcerated by the toilet.’

Photo 10:Have been sticking to more traditional, low tech loos ever since. Seacliff Loo with the view, Adelaide beachfront South Australia © L.M. Kling October 5, 2021

So, out on parole from the Cooper Pedy “can”, we escaped this town and headed for Woomera.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Let me out! Our History Teacher Jailed in Burra Mines © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1980

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

T-Team Next Gen–Alice to Adelaide (2)

[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the past year, I have taken you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, with the trip coming to a close, the T-K Team continue their return to Adelaide after camping at Marla for the night.]

The Trucks of Terror

Morning and the dawning realisation why this campsite may not have been popular. Anthony stomped around the tent grumbling.

‘I got no sleep last night,’ he snapped. ‘Kept getting woken up by those trucks rumbling all night. And their lights. Just as I drifted off to sleep. Those lights kept shining into our tent.’

‘Will you be alright to drive?’ I asked.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’ he sniffed. Anthony was a man after all and infallible.

We moved like snails packing up. I loaded the Ford’s rear with stuff. Next minute, Anthony was there unloading and repacking. Must do it right, even on the last leg of our journey.

[Photo 1: While I waited, morning view from Marla campsite © L.M. Kling 2013]

While he played his version of luggage-tetris, I wandered off to the BBQ hut to check for any forgotten items that might lurk there. And behold, sitting rather smugly in a rather obvious position on the bench next to the BBQ facilities, Anthony’s water bottle. You just have to wonder whether the water bottle had legs and hid when we were searching for it the previous night. Then, when it realised that it might be left behind, it positioned itself in the fail-safe position to be found. The water bottle is not the first item to “hide” from me and then “reappear” in a place where I have looked a dozen times before…

There was much rejoicing over the lost water bottle that was found.

Owing to Anthony’s meticulous care in packing, we were the last to leave the campsite.

As we travelled the long monotonous stretch, I slept a bit, wrote in my diary a bit, and then stared out the window at the red earth, gibber plains and twisted corkwood trees. I even filmed the landscape flitting past a bit.

[Photo 2: Trees twisted on the gibber plains © L.M. Kling 2013]

Anthony took my hand. ‘I’m sorry I was grumpy.’

‘That’s okay, blame it on the trucks that kept us awake all night.’

‘I swear that there was a truck that shone its lights straight into our tent.’

‘Yeah, it seemed that way,’ I replied. ‘Perhaps we can stay at Woomera in a cabin tonight and get a decent night’s sleep.’

‘Yeah, why not!’

Around two o’clock and the landscape evolved from flat, and stone scattered to low-lying hills pockmarked with what appeared to be giant rabbit holes. Signs warned visitors to beware of mine-shafts.

[Photo 3: Mine-shaft-pitted mountains © M.E. Trudinger (nee Gross) 1956]

‘Lunch at Coober Pedy?’ Anthony said.

‘Yes, but…first a toilet-stop.’

‘And where do you suggest?’ Anthony glanced at me and then gazed at the mineshaft littered hill face.

‘A service-station? Or a pub?’

‘And where’s the service-station?’

[Photo 4: View over Coober Pedy, but where are the service stations in Coober Pedy? © R.M. Trudinger 1977]

A tour of Coober Pedy yielded no service-stations that we could find. And He who wanted to save money and eat a picnic lunch was not willing to enter a pub for the loo in case it entrapped us into eating in there.

‘What about the playground and BBQ area where we had tea with the T-Team on the way up to Central Australia?’ Anthony suggested.

Bad suggestion…

But, at the time I agreed. Lunch and loo visit in one hit.

[to be continued…next time I contend with a psycho dunny…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature photo (below): Road Train at dawn near Marla ©L.M. Kling 2013

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]