Inside a Swag aka Canvass Body Bag

May 4th 2012

3.14 PM – Finished Hiking at Kings Canyon

We continued our journey that evening. Along the way, I noticed that Wookie made a salute to every passing car we met on the road. Was that a rule or he’s just being nice and glad to see other drivers on that almost deserted road? 😀

At one point, he stooped the bus and told us to get out and collect fire woods. He told us that the wood must be at least the size of our wrist in thickness and about 2 m long. So we went into a bush, filled with needle grass…ouch…ouch.

On the way to the camp site – which was in the bush – in the middle of the desert with no living things except for us and other night creatures – Wookie pointed out a big rock similar to Uluru but not it. He said the rock was man-made. The owner of the land tried to match the height of Uluru by piling up rocks. I forgot what they called this rock:

It was dark when we arrived at the camp site. Wookie lost his mind there, he drove the bus around and around the area while the song “Halfway to Hell” was blasting loudly. When he finally came to his senses, we got out of the bus and lighting our torches. Luckily I brought one. Then we started taking down the fire woods from on top of the cart.

Wookie started the fire and the preparation for our dinner. He asked 4 people to help with cutting the potatoes, garlics, carrots. Namjin, Diane, Jamie and me volunteered for the task. While we were cutting, the other helped Wookie to unload the swags from inside the cart and putting them around the fire.

After we finished cutting the ingredients, Wookie asked 1 person to time the pot that he filled with the veggies. Paul volunteered and Wookie gave him a laddle and he told Paul that the laddle must be held with right hand for xx minutes and xx seconds…..so precise.

Next, Wookie asked a person to time another pot that he placed near the fire. He used the coal from the fire wood to cook the pots. He scooped the coals and poured them on top of the pot lid and around the pot.

Then, he made another makeshift coal stove and put a frying pan on top of it. He asked another volunteer to stir fry the garlics. Then he oppened a bag of something and poured the content into the pan. He asked us if we like chilly and I said not really, then, he poured chilly powder into the pan (ckckckc….). Next he poured a lot of salt into the pan. It’s kind of fun watching his antics cooking while sitting around the camp fire.

I sat next to Morgane and she asked me questions about my country. We talked about Bali and other stuffs. She said that she liked Bali but not the satay, she couldn’t stand the spicy taste.

Before we arrived at the camp site, we made a stop at another gas station at a large ranch. It has a shop and we could buy food and drinks but the price was more expensive. Wookie told us that if we want a AUD 3 beer instead of the AUD 10 per can, we had to buy a box of 30 cans. Then he passed around the beer list and we put our names and the total quantity of beer that we wanted to drink for 2 nights. Then he passed around a cowboy hat for us to put our money to buy the beer. We bought a box of beer and put them inside the ice box container. At the campsite, while waiting for the food, we drank the beer. I took 1 can but didn’t drink it because I didn’t want to drink on empty stomach.

After almost 1 hour, the food was ready. The ones that volunteered to prepare the food could take their fill first…yippie…..The dinner menu was rice with vegetable stew and meat in chilly sauce. It tasted bland…hahaha….but we ate the meal gladly, it kept our body warm.

We washed the dishes by ourselves, some of us volunteer to hold the torch so we could see what we washed.

Next, Wookie taught us about the swag, how to roll it properly. He insisted that we must roll it perfectly so it wouldn’t take too much space inside the cart.

The swag (I didn’t took picture of it, but you can see it here: Colder Than You Expect: Sleeping in a Swag in the Australian Outback Desert ) was a canvass body bag. It has a flap to protect our head from the wind, but if we closed it completely, we might suffocate ourselves….hehehe…

Wookie told us to sleep with our head at the opening of the swag. If we had sleeping bag, we could put it inside the swag. It was reported that the temperature would reach 4 degree Celcius that night. Brrrrr.

We then prepare ourselves to get to sleep. There was a tin cabin that we could use as the toilet. Thanks God that I didn’t have to go inside the bush to finish the business.

I wore 4 layers of clothes: a tank top, a long sleeves shirt, a sweater and thick jacket. I put on my beanie and went inside the sleeping bag (I rent one from the tour). I put my shoes inside a plastic bag and then put them inside the swag. I didn’t want any unwanted guest spent a night inside my sneakers.

There was a 2 cm thick mattress inside the swag, so we didn’t have to sleep on the hard ground. It was roomy inside the swag. The last thought that I had was: so this was how it feels to sleep inside a coffin…..kekekeke…

Good Night!

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