We hit the road this morning and drove west, bound for a mountain range famed for its haze of blue and rocky siblings. On the way there, SG said, ‘there is a funny car I keep seeing on the roads, this thing with a normal front and then a flat pick-up on the back.’ Utes. Isn’t it funny what people notice? We stopped for a burger in Katoomba’s old town centre and as we doused our chips with tomato sauce, he said – after marvelling at the presence of beetroot on a burger – ‘that is a funny thing about you Australians – you are so proud of what you do.’ Emblazoned across the sauce bottle was something about being Australian made and grown and all of that we love to read on our food packaging. I guess we are proud, but we have a tricky relationship with pride. It’ll just take a few more trips out here to get it, but he will, just like he did with Vegemite toast.
The mountains were as big and dense and endless as ever, with the usual tourist buses and children trying to climb the barrier fences with just a little too much zeal. At some point a rather bizarre tourist centre has popped up with shops that don’t seem to sell much at all, except awful picture frames and bottle openers. But you don’t go up for the $10 boomerangs and bags of ‘British sweets’, you go up to look out over something vast and old and impenetrably distant.
For more on the Month of Australia, click here.