Hasty Hitching and the Just Desserts
The red dusty outback of Western Australia suddenly felt even bigger and emptier than before. After all this is the state which is about 98% outback and could easily swallow up India within its borders. I had done well for good lifts all day although no particular lift had been able to take me very far. The further I went the dustier, quieter and more remote the landscape seemed to become
Dusk was falling all around the desolate junction and I felt like I had grown a beard whilst waiting there for a lift. I was just about to start surveying the surrounding bushes for a suitable spot to bivouac for the night. The prospect of sleeping rough on the ground in a country renowned for its deadly wildlife did not fill me with hopes of a comfortable night. Suddenly an ancient Peugeot (a very unusual car in these parts) lumbered round the distant bend and even better it seemed to be slowing down in response to my frantic thumbing. Overcome with relief and joy I hauled open the heavy rear door and hoisted my backpack onto the newspaper across the back seat while jabbering my thanks to the elderly couple in the front.
The old man sat silently in the driver’s seat but his wife was trying to say something to me. It was only when I jumped in myself that I realised she was saying ‘watch out for the birthday cake under the newspaper’. I still got the lift but the atmosphere was as flat as the cake.