Page 154: Even more Fun In Emu Park
     
   
  80 kilometres per hour. Flat out.  
     
  Two days with Miss Amy  
 

Amy Rodgers is the daughter of Pam's sister, Sandie. In other words, she's our niece. Amy is backpacking around Australia for twelve months. For the two days that she was in Emu Park the wind howled, the sky was grey and frequently the rain lashed down. What shall we do with her? we asked ourselves. She's the sort of girl that goes scuba diving, bungee jumping and crewing on a racing yacht. She loves motor sport. She's adventurous, she's plucky, she's independent. All we had to offer was the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens, the Steam Tram Museum, Mount Archer Lookout and the Crocodile Farm. Rather tame, apart from the Crocodile Farm that is. (Actually I'm not sure about the bungee jumping but I wouldn't be surprised.)

The first day we got away with taking her to Mount Archer as Miss Amy was very tired, having been on a bus all night. It wasn't a great day for for visiting a lookout.

 
     
   
 

This picture was entitled Windswept Miss Amy on Top of Mount Archer on a Miserable Day. Such was the protest
I received over printing that picture that I had to promise to replace it. So here we have Miss Amy and Pam, totally
out of context, standing outside Sydney Opera House. Happy now, Missy?

 
     
 

The next day we took Amy to the Crocodile Farm. She learned about crocs, she looked at crocs, she held a croc then she ate croc pie for lunch.

 
     
   
  "Welcome Miss Amy. How nice to see you. Come just a little closer, will you? Tickle my chin."  
     
   
  Amy holding a croc.  
     
   
  Amy eating a croc.  
     
   
  Pam doesn't like croc meat but she did hold one. Her main concern: Where does its poop come out?  
     
 

The two days passed very quickly and then we were at the Endeavour Hotel at 5:30 in the morning saying goodbye. I haven't heard of any bullion robberies lately but if Amy's backpack wasn't filled with gold bars it must have been something very similar. That'll teach me to pretend to be a gentleman and carry her pack to the bus.

So off she went to Agnes Waters for a day or two, then on to Sydney, while we settled back into our leisurely lifestyle.

 
     
   
 

In the Crocodile Farm café area there was a wooden crocodile and a stained glass window.
If you stood in exactly the right spot, they produced this effect . . .

 
     
 

Well, Amy my girl, I hope we didn't bore you too much. It was really lovely to see you but quite nice to see your backpack disappear towards Rockhampton on the bus. Two weeks on and I can almost stand upright again.

 
     
  The Oktoberfest  
 

As Pam has mentioned in her journal, we volunteered to help the Lion's Club with this year's Oktoberfest. Though, thinking about it, I'm sure Pam actually volunteered my services along with her own but what can a bloke do, eh?

Walking down to the site on the day before the festival I could see a gang erecting high steel mesh fencing around the perimeter of the park. It looked heavy, hot work so I walked on to the main entrance and found Pam. She was putting cloths on tables. I reckoned I could manage that all right.

Well, since you've already guessed the next bit, yes, I was commandeered for the fencing gang. In two hours - or was it three? - I was totally stuffed.

On the following day, Oktoberfest day, we were working on the raffle. We rocked up in the morning to see if our shift was still 4 pm - 6 pm. Mistake! Margaret, the lady in charge of the raffle, was desperately short handed so we spelled her. In 'Oz speak' that means we took over to give her a break. There was nothing happening so Pam decided to do some spruiking.

Spruik: Verb. Australian colloquial. To harangue prospective customers to entice them into a show, strip joint, etc. Or raffle? Origin uncertain, possibly derived from the German spreken, speak.

 
     
   
  In the morning it was so quiet that Pam left me in charge and ventured forth to accost young men.  
     
  Grabbing a handful of ticket books she set off to accost young males, some already quite 'squiffy' at 11 a.m. Soon she was back with a handful of money and wanting more books. She did a magnificent job in relieving men of their money and while she was away I had the opportunity to gaze upon the wonderful young women in their 'traditional German' costumes. Or rather, what they imagined traditional German costumes might look like. Do Germans wear hats shaped like sharks or hot dogs?  
     
   
  Isn't she lovely? These pictures will give you an idea of how many of the people dressed.
 
     
   
     
 

As the day wore on the crowd became denser and rowdier, the music louder and there was a mood of expectation. At least there were two ambulances and a police car on standby outside the entrance, so somebody was expecting something.

The funniest incident of the day was when Jim Waterman, good friend and manager from the caravan park, came across to the raffle table. He was dressed in black slacks and a black shirt. Dear old Margaret thought he was a priest, bless her. Hell, Jim a priest??? Bless me, Jim, for I have sinned . . . by reading all those rude emails you send me.

We were relieved at five o'clock and, having stood at a food counter for twenty minutes and been ignored, we were told that the apple strudel had run out. (Perhaps a little sign would have been nice, Lions Club.) We ordered some sort of pancake instead then waited another fifteen minutes before struggling to find a table. Bear in mind that this is just the opinion of a grumpy old man; everybody else was having a great time. The Lions Club did a magnificent job, the members worked very hard and if previous years are any guide, they will have raised many thousands of dollars for the community.

Pam and I decided enough was enough and wandered off homeward to where the red wine was waiting. And it came to pass that the grumpiness vanished.

 
     
  Goodbye Emu Park  
 

The Oktoberfest was on the Saturday and we were due to leave Emu Park early on Monday morning. Thus Sunday was spent frantically doing all those little jobs that had been on the back burner for two months, then washing down the awning, checking tyre pressures, refuelling the car, packing up, filling the water tanks, emptying the toilet waste tank and topping up the flush tank, hitching up to the car and preparing to travel. And much more.

Just for fun, water from the awning leaked into the outside 240 volt socket and tripped the RCD switch. As the air conditioner faded into silence, loud squawks of protest could be heard inside the caravan. Sorry, Dear. Out with tools and off with the socket. Well, actually, both sockets as there are two and there was no way of knowing which was the culprit.

All finished by half way through happy hour. Just time for a quick drink and to say farewell to everyone. Next morning saw us on the road just after eight o'clock with 456 kilometres ahead of us.