Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Visitors, bucking bulls, and boxing.

We've been very lucky this year and we've (so far) had 4 parties of friends come and spend time with us. We really do like it when friends are wanting to, and do, come and visit, but the experience has taught us a lot too. 

This years experience has taught us that visitors should spend a maximum of 3 nights with us. We learnt this with our first visitors (who spent 12 days with us) but we failed to apply the lesson with our last visitors (14 days) so I'm writing it here in an attempt to apply it more successfully in the future. 

The stress that a longer stay causes us probably has many reasons: 
a) we're used to it just being the 2 of us. 
b) we're on an indefinite period of time for travel, so our speed of travel should probably be slower than persons on 2 weeks leave and flying in from the other side of the world. 
c) I feel responsible for making sure the guests have a great time in my home country, and this really stresses me. 

So, note to self: maximum 3 nights and we should tell the visitor-to-be this when they are planning their visit. I'm wondering how other overlanders feel about visitors?

With our most recent visitors we did do some great sightseeing. Here's what we did:

First we went spent 3 days at the Mount Isa Rodeo. The rodeo was Awesome! I'd been to rodeos before but this is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The big screen helped with explaining the rules, showing the chute action and showing replays. Events were varied: bullriding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, roping events, and buck jumping were just some of the events. And there was live music too. Everybody else in our group of 5 we're all novices to rodeo events and everybody enjoyed the action. 

In our little convoy (our visitors had hired a Campervans) we travelled up to Burketown. I hadn't wanted to go to Burketown in August as I'd wanted to visited there a month later for the Morning Glory cloud (it's a weather phenomenon), but I felt that we couldn't waste our visitors time and Burketown, with a festival on, might provide some entertainment.  When we got there I was excited and glad we'd come: Fred Brothy's Boxing Tent was at the festival! As the last remaining boxing tent in the world, it travels to outback towns and was something I'd heard about but never witnessed. 

As well as the boxing tent they had a rodeo (quite different to the Mount Isa one, with predominantly indigenous competitors) and some top country music acts performing (Katherine Britt and Troy Casser-Daley). The night's entertainment, first the musicians then the boxing tent, was very good and it made for a far later night than we are used too. 

When the 4th generation Fred Brophy banged his drum and told the rules we were surprised how many people threw up their hands to volunteer to fight (against one of Fred's men). Even some women fought. Neither H or I would normally choose to watch boxing but Fred Brothys boxing tent is more of an historical and cultural event. It's fun, and Fred made sure no-one got really hurt. 

Then we went to Lawn Hill National Park. It is one of Queensland's most spectacular parks but less visited because it's so far from where the bulk of the population live and tourists visit. It's a spectacular Gorge with waterfalls, great hikes, canoe hire, and boat tours available. We had found (on Cape York) an inflatable queen sized mattress so we floated that up and down the beautiful waters of the Gorge as well as enjoying the hikes and swimming. Each evening a massive colony of flying foxes flew over. 

Scenery wise it was a great couple of weeks. And with time maybe we'll all forget a little of how stressed and nasty I was to everyone. 

Next time, I hope we'll remember to only offer a short stay. If your reading this and you're a friend or family member that intends to visit: you're welcome! ... just briefly. 

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