Last weekend it was the turn of Murray falls to provide the necessary distraction from life in Tully. We set off early Saturday morning and I don't think I'd slept much the night before because when I look at some of the photos from Murray falls my face looks like a shit wax model approximation of my face that had melted in the sun.
Murray falls is about a half hour drive from Tully and is set in a beautiful surrounding forest area. What actually is Murray falls? Well it's basically a big arse waterfall with a few smaller waterfalls nearby and then some lakes and other water shit nearby. While not as breathtaking as when you first see Mission beach, it still provides a bit of wow factor when you arrive.
Sunday night came along and I'd still not made up my mind so I decided to do... nothing. I would just wake up in the morning and feel which way the wind was blowing. So Monday morning came and went and I still did nothing. Effectively I'd resigned my position as farm whipping boy. But what now?
Christian was fed up with Tully and was due to go back to Melbourne on the Tuesday, I considered going with him. We´d been traveling together for the last 7 months so it was sad to see him go but as always with traveling these things work themselves out and I know we'll catch up later down the road. Still, who was I going to make stupid noises with now? I try and make one of our jokes with someone else and they look at me like a dog that's just been shown a card trick.
By the middle of the week I was feeling the pressure of having walked away from a job. The caravan park I was staying at wouldn't get me anymore work and my opportunities to find something were shrinking. There's a hostel that gets people work but you have to schmooze the lady behind reception. Me and Zena (not the persons real name, obviously) had visited this lady several times over the past few weeks trying different ways to chat her up. We'd heard she liked couples at one point so we walked in draped over each other but it didn't get us anywhere. We seemed to be getting close at one point but then this past week she rebutted us and made it sound like we wouldn't get work in Tully if we stayed there for 5 billion years. I couldn't mentally face jumping again. Imagine, 8 weeks of standing on a street corner at 6am waiting for a job everyday. Nah. 5 weeks was enough.
So yea, it was getting a bit precarious. I was sat in the canteen at one point just staring. Staring at nothing. It's interesting to watch the unemployed fill their day in the canteen. The early optimism of finding work replaced by anguish and regret. All you can do is stare.
Then suddenly... bang! Something happens that puts the wheel of change in motion. The charisma laden Swede Jonna came home from work on the Wednesday and immediately declared "we need a car so we can get the fuck out of here". Yes! And before we knew it, we were walking a few miles to a garage to ask an old fella Sid about a car. I could feel the blood pumping around my body again, the tingling of excitement that traveling is supposed to stir up inside of you. After that all I could focus on was...getting...a....car. Zena had piss poor luck in getting a job, sometimes it seemed the universe was intent on keeping her unemployed by coming up with preposterous coincidences that would prevent her from earning money. So me, Zena, Jonna, and Jonna's brother were all in.
Buying a car is never straight forward and being a backpacker you have the added pressure of limited funds and people trying to scam you. We searched Gumtree for cars but one major stumbling block was the fact that registration and to get the car declared road worthy could be very pricey so you had to figure that into any cost of a car. You could think you've found a smashing deal but when you calculate all added costs it's not so smashing anymore. One problem is that with Tully being the size of a postage stamp, there aren't many people selling cars their. Cairns was the obvious place to look to for a car. Me and Jonna arranged to meet one guy selling a car in Cairns on Saturday morning which meant us catching the 3:35am bus. They only have 5 buses a day to and from Tully which is so Tully. I was bloody knackered on this bus and the guy next to me was Mr Hyperactive. He kept jigging his leg which meant it occasionally brushed mine, which was annoying. Just chill out mate it's 4am. I considered asking the driver if we could sedate him for the rest of the journey.
When we arrived in Cairns we staggered to McDonalds and stuffed our faces amongst all the piss heads and crazy's. One crazy got chatting to me and Jonna and the conversation started out normal before it plunged into talk of telepathy and extreme weight loss techniques.
Still, we were enthusiastic and motivated. But then we got a text stating the guy we'd arranged to meet wouldn't be able to make it. This was at 6:30am. Cheers mate. What to do now?
The backpacker haven known as Peter Pans, with its free internet and giddy employees wasn't open yet so we just had to wander about for a bit. It also started to piss it down and Jonna nearly broke her foot. She smashed it into the ground on account of her crap flip flops and then bizarrely questioned whether her toes had swapped feet. It gave us a laugh for a few minutes as we paraded up and down the streets of Cairns. We thought we got very lucky when we stumbled across an abandoned car. It was the perfect size, had all the necessary paperwork, and looked drivable. There was a sign on the car stating the police would seize the car if it remained left standing. I thought I would be able to ring the council up and arrange to take the keys and drive off with a car for free. Nah. I rang 'em up and this hag on the other end of the line flushed my dreams of a free car down the toilet and before I could ask any follow up questions she hung up the phone. And I thought I was bad at providing customer service!
After that dream was dashed we tried to ring a few more people about cars but we didn't really get anywhere. No-one would answer their phone. No-one. Do these people want to sell their cars or what? Answer the bleedin' phone!
It got to the middle of the afternoon and we were both starting to worry if we would ever find a car. We started to consider the possibility of not getting one but then, another check on gumtree solved our problems. A German lad was selling a pre-historic Ford and needed a quick sale. All the registration and road worthy bollocks was already taken care of. Boom! Me and Jonna called him 3 minutes after the advert had been placed. Luckily he was right around the corner from us. We met him and had a look at the car. It was in a really good condition considering its age and it came with a ridiculous amount of camping equipment. Me and Jonna tried to act cool whilst we sealed the deal but we both had that look in our eyes "oh my God".
When all the paperwork was signed and the cash exchanged we drove out of Cairns with our new car. Zena rang us to check on our progress and we decided to tell her that we were still searching so we could go back and surprise everyone. I may have overstated it though when she rang. I told her we hadn't found a car and that we may have to stay in Cairns overnight and try again on Sunday which would mean "sleeping on a bench for the night". It was the worst bit of acting since all of Keanu Reeves.
Back in Tully we rolled up and showed people our new wheels. So what now? We thought that we should try for another week to get work in Tully before setting off. If we could just get work for a couple more weeks then we'd have more cash for the road. Tully, as usual, didn't provide however. We then set about contacting farms in Queensland to try and arrange work which we could then drive to. Again this was unsuccessful with most responses varying from "the number you have dialed has not been recognised" to "Sorry mate this used to be a farm but I've retired now".
The best response we got was from the West Coast. And that's where we are heading, tomorrow in fact. It has a different feel about it going west. Entering a vast desert that will no doubt be spectacular. I've been in Tully 2 months and when I reflect on the experience I feel as though it just wasn't meant to be. For some people Tully was an amazing experience but to me it feels slightly like a waste of Visa time. I think I will look back on it more favourably when I've gotten the hell out of it. At the very least I've had some interesting experiences here that most likely won't happen again. So in that respect it hasn't been a waste of Visa time.