Sunday, January 23, 2011

Drunk in Robe

I met Chris today when we arrived in Robe and I was struggling to get the van unhitched from the car. The hitch pin just wouldn't budge. Damn! I thought we were over all that stuff and it would all be smooth sailing now. But it seems not. I tried lowering and raising the mangled jockey wheel, but it didn't seem to make a difference. Until Chris suggested that perhaps raising the jockey wheel might do the trick. I'm sure I'd tried that only minutes before he arrived but it didn't work. Don't you hate that. But I felt mostly relief because he was actually right and the problem was resolved.  And then he took no credit for it whatsoever and was completely gracious. What a true gentleman. I've managed to achieve a very good level of relaxation when we've been already setup in camp grounds. But the hitching/unhitching part still seems quite stressful.
Once we'd eventually unhitched, Tori and the kids went to the beach. I needed solitude and went into town. The sound of live music was enough to lure me into the Caledonian pub. Well that and the thought of a nice cold beer. In the beer garden, a dreadlocked guitar player was doing decent cover versions from Cyndi Lauper to U2. There's something about live music. Even songs that you don't necessarily like can sound amazing when performed live. And better still with a cold beer in hand on a warm sunny day. So I stayed for the end of his set and drank my beer.
On getting back to the campsite, it seemed only reasonable to wander over to Chris's campsite and have a beer with him. Chris, his wife Bernadette and their 5 kids, live in St. Arnaud, which is about 100km west of Bendigo in Victoria. They raise turkeys, in fact providing one day old turkey chicks to 50% of the turkey producers in Australia. That's a lot of turkeys. Half of all the turkeys eaten in Australia are born on their farm. They breed turkeys to go off and be slaughtered for us to eat. That seems a really harsh profession to me, the urban city slicker. I like to eat turkey. But doesn't it just come in sandwiches? Or from a deli or supermarket freezer? The thought of somebody nurturing cute little turkey chicks and then sending them off at only one day old to be raised to be eaten seems a tad harsh. I have friends who are vegans for godsake! There's a real disconnect between city folk and country farm type folk. Most of us city folk eat meat, but the thought of how it gets to our table is not as palatable as that nice juicy turkey breast or porterhouse steak. The belief that this was once actually a living being is removed from us, usually thanks to styrofoam packaging and cling film. It's very difficult to imagine that neat little package contains a body part of a living thing that somebody has had to kill and chop up for us. I barbecued up some minced cow parts for our family to eat tonight and they were particularly good. Flavoursome and juicy, served up on a bun with some cheese, tomato, cucumber and ketchup. We called them burgers. Anyway, I've gone off on a bit of a tangent. Chris, the breeder of turkeys to be sent off to slaughter, is a really fine fellow. With a very nice family. We consumed a good number of beers together and had a really great time in conversation about all manner of topics. I expect I'll meet many people on this trip that do all sorts of different things to make their living. Ultimately, that's all everybody is doing really. Making a living to feed their family and lead a satisfactory lifestyle.  I asked Chris how he got into the turkey raising game. He said that his father just sort of "fell into it". An opportunity presented itself and his father recognised the need. Pretty much the way I got into the whole computer thing. Just sort of fell into it. Chris helps to feed the nation. I help large corporations keep their computer systems running so that they can continue to profit off the people, often by ripping them off. I'm not sure that I'm really in any position to judge anybody. I also just do what I do. But I'm happy to not have to worry about doing that for a little while longer. I'm still on holiday, so I think I'll just have another beer.


Vonskii said...

Love reading your tidbits of travelling Utopian philosophy! Sounds like when one endeavours to take on any Utopian journey, some dystopian moments are mandatory - I am certain this adds more glory to the Utopian experience! Better to get a feel for all the anxiety-producing bits now while you are still in civilization!

Keep the posts coming! :-)

Lisa Gibbs said...

The carancle is the brightly colored growth on the head and upper neck of a turkey. The snood is the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey's beak. The wattle is the flap of skin under the turkey's chin.

Turkeys have great hearing , but no external ears. They have a field of vision of about 270 degrees and are able to see in color. They can see movement almost a hundred yards away. They don't see well at night. They have a poor sense of smell, but a good sense of taste.

Love your friend who is vegan X