During our long and tortuous drive North I found it very difficult to keep myself awake for the many hours it took to get between road stations. Vast areas of the Australian outback are pretty much featureless and devoid of anything that for me could hold interest. Being so used to driving along English country roads where at every twist and turn of the highway there is always something new to discover, it's a bit disconcerting to note that for as far as the eye can see both in front and behind the terrain is exactly the same. When the scenery did change it happened suddenly, with no discernible reason for the transition. (though I'm sure it has something to do with the extreme weather patterns out in the desert) It was very unfair to leave My friend being the only one conscious for so long, so I devised a form of 'eye-spy' to keep my senses functioning. 'S' and 'B' very soon became exhausted, since there is only so many times you can say 'sand' and 'bush'. Thus we started to concentrate on the limited variety of wildlife visible along the highway. As I've already mentioned in a previous tale, dead animals trashed by the numerous road-trains litter the roadside. This attracts a variety of creatures that thrive on carrion. I tried, unsuccessfully, for hundreds of miles to get a decent close up photo of one of the huge eagles I saw gorging themselves on this bountiful supply of food. It was so frustrating, as they are a creature you would normally only see in a zoo. Every time we arrived even remotely within camera range, to my bitter disappointment they would stretch their massive wings and soar away. The only reasonable record I have on film of an eagle is when, in desperation, I aired my video camera with a 12 times zoom lens. That nailed the bugger. Whilst concentrating on the horizon of the road for wildlife, we saw a strange shadow stretched out across the tarmac. As we got closer, I was racking my brains to marry up a word to rationalise what I was seeing. Slamming on her brakes, My friend blurted out "It's a Bungarra. Quick, get your camera out!" To all you out there who don't know what a bungarra is, you're in very good company, cos neither did I. All I did know was the biggest lizard I've ever seen in my life was stretched out in front of me, and I was going to get a piccy of it. Diving out of the car door with my camera in hand, I fearlessly and in complete ignorance approached the beast. Far from it fleeing the scene it reared up, hissed loudly, and started to advance menacingly towards me. She screamed out "Drop to the ground you stupid sod and freeze!" One look at the talons on this monstrosity convinced me of my stupidity. Totally ignoring her advice, I remained motionless just long enough to snap off one photo then made a dive back to the car, only just winning the race. She told me afterwards that these creatures grow up to a length of 3 metres long. Although they are not vicious by nature, if they are disturbed they tend to frenziedly run up the nearest tall object. If that happens to be you, there is a very good chance of your body being ripped to pieces by their huge claws. Astonishingly when she worked for the mines in the Australian desert she encouraged bungarra's to reside under her Donga (mobile home) as their principle diet was snakes, of which there is an abundance of the more poisonous variety. On a scale of one to ten, snakes most definitely come 11 on my friends fear factor scale. Considering her first 32 years of life were spent in the snake infested depths of Africa, that came as a bit of a surprise. Oz isn't exactly short of them either...

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