Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten very stupid things

What would a travel blog be without a list of the ten most stupid things I have seen people do in these last four months? Well, here she is, in no particular order.

  1. Two lovely, albeit stupid, Canadians cooking sausages over the fire, one sausage at once, neatly skewed on a 25cm wooden skewer - too short to be able to hold close to the fire. Result: burnt outside of snag, uncooked inside, hot fingers. They were lovely people but.

  2. A backpacker provoking a snake with a stick. "It's safe," he tells me, "the stick is longer than the snake." It was, or so he thought, a rare yellow taipan snake, very poisonous, prior to the introduction of anitvenom in 1984 there were no known bite survivors.

  3. Driving a 2WD car - not the stupid bit - wait for it, on the wrong side of a dirt road - the driver had found the so-called Sweet Spot on the road. Problem? Two relatively fast travelling 4WD's approach each other, the 2WD is lost in a cloud of road dust, head on collision between the oncoming 4WD and the 2WD. Bloody dangerous, bloody stupid.

  4. Driving a 4WD vehicle on a 4WD track, 4WD mode not engaged - to save fuel - tyres at full bitumen pressure - too lazy to deflate - and with a very inexperienced dirt road driver - second time on a dirt road. Result? Vehicle roll-over, a 3,000km emergency medical airlift for a fractured vertebrae victim, uninsured car a write off, a true holiday-ruiner (I didn't see this, a friend of a friend.)

  5. The Top End. Asking at a roadhouse for the weather report. Reply? "Look outside, same tomorrow as today. Same next day too." To be honest, I almost fell for this one too, but I goofed out on asking, I had an instinct if I might be ridiculed.

  6. Hiking 12km in thongs along a rocky path in Katherine Gorge. Maybe this one is undeserved, I've spent the last three days walking in sandals due to my injured feet. Maybe he was just a very tough guy, or just stupid, dunno.

  7. Driving with a broken windscreen. Not a problem if you do it right, I saw a few cases. This one though, exceptionally stupid. Shattered but intact windscreen, 20cm hole punched through driver's main field of view, covered in a clear - well, clear-ish - plastic bag. Vehicle seen driving out of a major town in the NT, one where I know there was a windscreen replacement workshop.

  8. Driving a 4WD with over-inflated tyres on a sandy track. Common advice, let the tyres down to 20psi. They were very clearly struggling to drive the vehicle, I followed them for many kilometres. They had reduced their tyre pressure by 10psi, to 35psi, the recommended tyre pressure for the rear wheels on a bitumen road. Same car model as mine, so I was quite familiar with the recommended tyre pressures. Even when they asked me, they decided to disregard the manufacturer's label on the car concerning tyre pressure, and 20psi, that's absurd, or so they thought. Keep battling mate, and damaging every track you drive on.

  9. Dropping stones off a cliff into the Katherine River, to test the water depth - as if they could even hear the rock in the water - so they could jump the eight or so metres. Incidentally, a saltie was found in the river a few weeks later.

  10. Free camping in Kakadu National Park, on Aboriginal land. Stupid, but it gets better. Lighting a campfire, which was easily seen from the nearby official campsite with the ranger in attendance. There is a $5,500 fine per person for leaving the road and being in an unauthorised area, including free camping. And this before we even mention the respect thing, it is, after all, the local indig folk's land they are letting us cross.

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