During our long and arduous 2400 mile round trip up and down the North
West Coastal Highway, we had to consume such vast amounts of fluid to keep ourselves
hydrated through the scorching and debilitating heat of the midday sun that
frequent breaks for calls of nature became necessary. It's ruddy typical that
we wouldn't see another soul for 50 miles of desert road, only to be swamped
with cars the moment we stopped for a leak. The only way to guarantee any modicum
of privacy was to venture off the beaten track into the bush to relieve ourselves.
My friend reminded me loudly in no uncertain terms, when you venture out into
the Australian bush it is imperative to ensure you don't so much look forward
as downward. There are a prolific number of highly venomous snakes sunning themselves
during the day, and although they will tend to slither away if disturbed they
do not take kindly to being stepped upon, or even worse...pee'd on.
She said to me "I don't know what you're worried about, at least you can stand up and look around while you do it, you don't have to squat down!"
I took her point; I wouldn't fancy being sneaked up upon from behind and savaged on the bum.
I became quite paranoid of the lurking Ozzy wildlife after a while; growing eyes in the back of my head the further North we went. This reached its pinnacle when we came across the Bungarra sunning itself on the road. That is a beast I most definitely wouldn't take liberties with. When people tell you to mind the lizard it does not conjure up in your mind something that can be up to 9 feet long, built like Mike Tyson, and can outrun you.
She told me a story about an incident she had whilst working at one of the mines in the outback, which could have cost her dearly. It was mandatory to wear thick 'Dr Marten' type boots when walking around outside to protect against snakes, spiders and scorpions. One day, after a particularly long working shift she was about to crash out and get some much needed beauty sleep. She had already kicked her boots off, and was about to visit the bathroom with just her customary two pairs of thick socks on her feet. As she stepped out she felt a violent impact on her ankle that made her instinctively leap back. It was one of the poisonous snakes that had just happened to be lying under her porch. Immediately one of her fellow workmates jumped up and stamped on it. When she looked later there were two deep punctures in her socks, but thankfully they never managed to penetrate all the way through. If so, she could have been in serious trouble. The mines are situated deep into the Australian desert, and the only way in and out is by aeroplane. They do not exactly run like buses, and in an emergency the only option is the flying doctor.
Suffice to say, she became more mindful of foot protection after that little adventure. She also actively encouraged Bungarras to sleep under her donga, since they eat snakes.