Last weekend consisted of another epic country trip of Matt and I:
– Two hours of driving on Friday night to get to Katoomba
– Five hours of driving on Saturday to Forbes via Bathurst
– One hour of driving on Saturday night to West Wyalong
– Six hours of driving on Sunday morning to Sydney via Yass.
It was great fun. We caught up with Matt’s parents on Friday and our friends Fiona and Susie who teach in Forbes and West Wyalong high schools respectively. Apart from the immense joy it was to see people who we don’t often see, there were a few special highlights.
Again I found myself out of area for an election because Matt and I weren’t organised enough to do a postal vote or an early vote. We decided to pick a voting location that was quiet but still central enough to know what to do with absentee voters. We wanted to vote efficently so so didn’t waste too much time in transit. We decided on Bathurst Public School. The walkway to the grounds was lined with campaigners and I picked up my first ever how-to-vote card for the National Party. It’s not every day that I get to vote in the country!!
Well, Bathurst turned out to be an epic mistake. We got into the hall and joined a big queue. An electoral official came up to us to direct us to the right place. Yes! I thought. She will take us to get our special absentee voting forms and we can skip the line.
“Are you local or absentee voters?” she asked.
“Absentee” we replied smiling broadly.
“OK, you stay here in this line.”
What!? We looked up ahead and realised we were lined up behind about twenty young people – obviously all students from Charles Sturt University who weren’t going to go back home just to vote. Crap! It took us half an hour to get out of there. Oh, democracy. Oh, compulsary voting. How I love you and hate you simultaneously!
Last time we went out West it was spring and I saw the country lush and green for the first time ever. This time it was my first time seeing the harvested landscape. It looked pretty similar to the drought-y landscapes of my childhood holidays, brown and dry, except that some of the fields were burnt to get rid off the chaff. Occasionally we would pass bright green fields that sheep were grazing on.
It was also my first time seeing locusts, who were busy flying around to eat the tail end of the crop. They were pretty gross, especially when they splattered over our car.
The Newell Highway
We drove to West Wyalong late at night and the road was partially flooded in places. But we followed Susie the whole way so it didn’t feel too dangerous. Matt took slow shutter pictures of all the trucks that went past us. They were beautiful!