Saturday, July 16, 2011

The road to New Norcia

It was the kind of road trip that begins with a prayer and a scenic detour to show off the river, in all its glimmering splendour, to the visitor from Singapore.

The kind with a food stop just shy of an hour in, because hunger comes at least every two waking hours for some of us. (Namely me.)

The kind where an observant eye allows you to spot a billboard advertising what looks like a promising purveyor of baked goods, and you pull into a service road a few kms down the pike when all you're thinking of is your hunger and you never even realise that you've managed to pull right in front of said bakery.

The kind where you order a pizza each from behind the glass and the lady asks if you'd like them heated up, you say yes, and later in the car you open the paper bag to see darkened grill marks. The disfigurement proves worth the taste: crunchy savour rather than chewy, soggy microwave stodge. The moist sweetness of fresh tomato and the taste of soft, yeasty white bread -- a rarity in a wholegrain life -- gives the carb boost needed to get to our destination, the monastery town a whole thirty minutes away.

The kind where we overshoot the destination but don't mind a whit, because the country is so pretty and there are horses -- no, wait, those are cows, she corrects herself time and again -- to look at along the way.

The kind where you begin with no expectations, and find yourself most richly rewarded because every moment is gold and you know we humans always sell ourselves short, so there's no way you could have expected highly enough.

The kind where laughter is free-flowing and conversation unreserved and silences, when they come, are not awkward.

The kind where you arrive at the monastery town and know it's not a place for the average point-and-gawk tourist; somehow that makes you feel more welcome.

The kind where you linger and gaze while, for a change, using your camera sparingly. There are other ways to take pictures.

The kind where you wish you could stay a little longer, but you don't regret having to leave because your life away from here is just as peaceful, just as rich, just as spiritual. Or it can be.

The kind where you agree on the return journey to go back to the same bakery for a "real" lunch, because the pizzas were that tasty. One of you grabs the rare opportunity to sit outdoors and not perspire while the other stays on the warm side of the glass, reading old newspapers and colouring word art in her journal, and there's contentment all around.

Altogether a nice kind of road trip.


thelittlesparrow said...

I agree ;)

Dudley Redhead said...

Thanks Ren!that's super - i've swatted up and what to do with them.. better go and try it now..

Ren said...

Sparrow: I know :D

Redhead: I hope you enjoy them!

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