Writing about what must have been a horrendous car trip for my mum, transporting two children and two car-sick animals on a three hour trip to Perth reminds me of a car trip my friend Anne took from Perth to Exmouth.
Exmouth would be, say, 10 hours drive from Perth. Anne's family had a penchant for Daihatsu Charades. Which was rather comical as her father resembled a white-haired, bespectactled Kong from Mario Brothers Mario Kart. He'd squeeze behind the wheel of that tiny Charade, knees up around his armpits and furrowed his brow, as his car, under extreme conditions, tried to work its way to top gear.
Anne's Aunty Carol had come to visit, all the way from Switzerland. I think the family had decided to take her to Exmouth and show her a bit of the "state" of WA.
Ma and Pa H., Anne and Aunty Carol set off in the Charade, which realistically was already full with just Father K in the front seat, let alone with all of their luggage stowed in the tiny space behind the two back seats, and wedged into any available crevice between the passengers.
Anne found herself cheek to jowl with a polystyrene esky. This wasn't so bad at first, as it was quite cooling against her hot and flushed cheek. Given that the airconditioning was not making it past the cramped shoulders of K and J in the two front seats, Anne was thankful for her cool travelling companion, even if it did preclude her from looking out the window.
Father K isn't a man who likes to do what he's told, or what he should. Father K decided, somewhere in the Murchison region, that he was going to divert from the main highway and take Swiss Carol through the heart and soul of the WA outback. Anne related to me that she remembered six hours of gravel road, animal carcasses and sweating so much she could feel the foam seat beneath her squelch with salty-water. What was worse, Father K being a huge fan of opera played Faust for the whole trip. Anne sat sweltering as they continued their hellish journey.
But the part that really made me cry with laughter about this journey was the esky perched next to Anne's head. On the 6 hours of rough road, the esky was bounced up and down against the rubber window framing. For six hours Anne had an unrelenting "squeak squeak" or "eee, iii, eee, iii" in her ear. The horrible sound of squealing polystyrene had her in such a state that when they reached Exmouth, her mother had to calm her down with gin and a promise of a plane ticket for the return trip. Anne was so distraught they gave her sleeping tablets and let her lay in total silence in their hotel room for the entire first day of their holiday in Exmouth.