Friday, 11 January 2008

I survived cyclone Helen

Once I was positive that staying in Darwin any longer would not add much substance to my trip, I rented a car with the idea of attacking Kakadu & Litchfield National Parks. I learned about incoming cyclone Helen just as I was leaving.

An overheard conversation:
A guy: "Helen? Why do they always give them girls' names?"
A girl: "Because we're bitches!"

I had good provisions of food and water for 4 days, so I said "no worries" to all those who were worried, and set off. Drove to Litchfield through the thick rain, saw as much of the park as I could, stopped at Florence Falls at nightfall. All the while I had the radio on, and in between songs, all they talked about was the cyclone. Warning, warning, a cyclone is approaching, blablabla, stay indoors, blablabla.

Then Helen came. Nothing much, I guess. The gale blowing, hectolitres in freefall, uprooted trees, branches flying about, gusts shaking the car. This is all a reconstruction of events, for at the time I couldn't see a thing. The sounds filtering through my earplugs hinted at what was going on around, though. I slept like a baby all through it.



At the break of dawn, I awoke, stretched and yawned, and found myself in the middle of the crime scene. I also found that the battery was drained, so the car wouldn't start. Good on me to have foreseen this event and parked just by the "Emergency Call Device". I struggled with the walkie and managed to call the rangers. They took their time to get where I was. This very nice guy gave me a hand with the car and informed me that, just as it appeared, I was the only guy in the park at that time. He also hinted that they were not exactly happy about me being there.

Follow me, he said. I followed him. He certainly floored the gas. It was a fun drive, zigzagging between the fallen trees blocking the road, crushing branches and raising clouds of green leaves. It was, however, somewhat short. We soon arrived at "Aida creek", a place where the road was flooded to a depth of 60cm. My ute wouldn't pass over water higher than 40 cm, Nathan explained. I didn't know that, of course. That's when two heavy coins fell into my pay phone. The first one said clink, if I hadn't run out of battery I would have probably also been stuck, but in the middle of the river in water up to my waist. The second one said clink, now I understand why the snorkel. Lucky of me, I could say.

But that still left me stranded in Litchfield for an indeterminate and unforeseeable amount of time, with some 30 km of road to move in, cut off at both sides. So I idled, and went to the one attraction that was open, the Magnetic Termite Mounds.

I was mostly "Alone in the Park" the whole day, except for a very few lucky owners of big 4WDs with snorkels. Two guys passing by in a monster-truck ute gave me a deja-vu. They seemed jolly good chaps, but I couldn't help thinking of the passenger as Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yonkel from The Simpsons, and the driver as Butthead, both on a night out. I instantly knew that if this was USA, a confederate flag would have decorated the back of the truck. They stopped and we sort of chatted a brief while. It looked so much like a scene from one of so many identical Hollywood movies that a big smile came to my lips while I was unsuccessfully trying to decipher their impossible Territorian dialect. Eventually Cletus and Butthead drove off, which left me in my own good company for the rest of the day.

Everybody opens big eyes when they learn I was alone in Litchfield when Helen said hello. I suppose that in times of danger, the usual, and thus supposedly sensible, thing to do is to seek the company of your fellow hominids. I say that's cattle instinct. In this situation I was much safer and happier away from hanging power lines, wobbly buildings and opportunistic thieves.

So, to sum up, I survived cyclone Helen. Admittedly, so did everyone else, but I had more fun.

10 comments:

maw said...

He who seeks excitement will always find it wherever he goes (mind you, I used the everlasting masculine). Your paw will all the more recognize you as his son, longing to be in the middle of events, living it through your comments and feeling stranded.

Yiyi said...

Ya sabía yo que que no volvías sano y salvo, te lo dije!!
Weno, parece que te has librado por esta vez, y en fin, deberé de reconocer que si sobrevives a esto sobrevivirás a todo para poder volver finalmente a Safganistán de los Reyes, mmm!! Qué bueno!

Un abrazo enorme, ya sabía yo que no te librabas del sombrero
;-P

Elena said...

Hola Daniel, soy Elena (Olono), ktal? Espero q lo estes pasando muy bien x alli, q fuerte lo del ciclón ese... yo m hubiera cagao xo bien jajaja, y encima tenia mi nombre y todo xD Pues nada, q eso q lo sigas pasando muy bien y k te CUIDES mas y k la proxima vez k venga un ciclón o un huracán o un tornado o algo, escondete eeee no te estes x ahi danzando. Un beso xao

Elena said...

Se me olvidaba x cierto, las fotos SUPER bonitas, son una pasada, k envidia... bss

Nachenko said...

¡Hay que joderse, joven padawan!

En qué líos te metes.

MakurA said...

Cuanta gente posteando! Este ha sido tu post estrella sin duda alguna! xDDD

Pos muy bien que te lo moentaras a tu bola en el Huracán, espero que llevaras palomitas y pinchitos morunos y montaras una barbacoa en el coche =P

Que cachondo el Yiyi: Safganistán de los Reyes xDDD

"Leo caras conocidas" por aquí, que seguro que no leerán a su vez mis saludos, así que ni me molesto.

Un abrazote enorme y a pasarlo bien.

Nos seguimos leyendo!

PS. "ddxkqrrv" Tú te crees que es posible? Que mala hostia!

paumickey said...

It's true, a cyclon calls the attention of the posters...y yo no voy a ser menos. You were sleepig while Helen came? I?d have liked to see it, although I prefer the TWISTERS!!! Are there twisters there?
Well enjoy but be carefull alsooooooo!!
P.D. I can´t stop saying it, the pictures are just...great
BIG HUG

Yiyi said...

Eheh,

Yo sé de más de uno que vive en Safganistán de los Reyes, pero que conste que el denominativo no es mío, que es del Truman... Yo puse el de Ascobendas...

Por cier, que me acabo de poner al día después de unas semanas, como se nota que ahora no curro, y que ni siquiera cobro el paro, que es otro trabajo, a decir verdá.

Ah! Para que me haga yo a la idea, dormías en el coche, no? Y si llega a volar el carro??
Joder Truman! Qué el parque de atracciones no tiene por qué ser Live Rol!!

Dacoga said...

saludines gente , joder esto cada vez esta mas concurrido, y si que esta bien esto para saludar a "truman" ahora en semidirecto desde su propio show , y de paso saludar a gente que se le tenia perdida la pista ,saludines yiyi , je porcierto me tendrias k decir komo poner fotos makura k tengo una muy buena , bueno puede k no sea tan buena en el uso de la luz y las formas pero tiene una cosa k le da muxos puntos , si correcto , me tiene a mi ;P chao tios y cuidate daniiii
Pd1 : no te hacia la pelota con lo del gorro , tu sabes k yo suelo yebar gorra durante la mayor parte del dia y no tengo k pelotearte , ya no te necesito de servicio tecnico
Pd2 : muy bueno lo de AscoVendas Safganistan , otro puede ser AlcoholVendas y Sanset bulebar
Pd3 : porcierto k pestuzo de himno el de las gaes y de los deportistas ,chao

maw said...

WHILE YOU WERE REEF-SNORKELING
OR SOMETHING

might be a nice heading for a sort of poem or short prose in which your family and friends, the stalwarts of your Spanish reality, end up by arranging to meet, have a beer or a cup of coffee waiting for you to post again.