Saturday, November 28, 2009

Big Night Outback

We made a second visit to our favorite outback pub for the authentic country atmosphere, and most importantly, the special (and strong) brew on tap. It was a 60 km round trip detour, but well worth it. While we drank our first beer, I commented on how one thing I liked about the place was that we seemed to be invisible. We certainly were the only non-locals, and yet, during our first visit, no one seemed to even notice that we existed. In retrospect, maybe we were just too looped on the brew to realize that everyone was staring at us. About 5 minutes after my comment, one of the locals came over to chat with us. This fella was originally from Sydney and he decided to move out to the sticks (did I mention there are 20 houses in the town?) to take over the family property. He left the pub around 6pm. We didn't remember his name, but when we reminisced about the night we called him "Bald Guy". Bald Guy must have opened up the flood gates because we quickly met Brad Pitt, Eyebrows, Town Drunk, and 34-year-old Grandma among others. While Bald Guy told us a story he referred to the local pub goers as "publicans". "Publicans" seems to refer to the more raucous pub goers -- the ones who stay out past 6pm.

Eyebrows made some eyeglasses out of straws and rested them on the bushes above his eyes. This was his "trick for the tourists". His comment to Scott was, "See, you're not the only one that can wear glasses". Eyebrows lives alone, got his buffet dinner to go because he doesn't like eating in public, and though we never confirmed it, he suggested that he lives in one of those ubiquitous rain water storage tanks. Eyebrows is Brad Pitt's dad. Brad came into the pub with a big hole ripped across his nipple on his flannel shirt. He was smart, witty, and told us lots of crazy stories about being a butcher. Also, he was really gorgeous (ala Brad Pitt), even though he was very rough around the edges -- kinda like Tyler Durden meets Crocodile Dundee.

During our first visit, I had noticed one of the publicans who had a deep, gnarly cut across his nose. I didn't need to bust out my nurses training to tell that this guy had all the signs of a classic drunk. Town Drunk (TD) was touched to learn that we had visited the pub before, and that I had noticed his injury. He was also very touched that I cared to ask him how he healed up. Bald Guy was TD's boss. Turns out, TD has a heart of gold and couldn't have been more kind to us. He asked us multiple times if we "got a proper feed" and if we wanted to stay at his place for the evening. We couldn't quite convince him that we'd already eaten, and that the van was probably more comfortable (most certainly cleaner). Unsatisfied with our brush-off of his invitation, he suggested we come by in the morning to see the wild Kookaburras that he had befriended. Turns out, he feeds them with his left over butcher meat, and in return, he can pet them. Everyone we met had some sort of a part in raising and/or butchering meat.

Later in the night, 34-year-old Grandma chatted with us a bit. During the conversation, it came out that her 19 year old daughter was "on her second child". Sitting next to her were her other two boys -- one was 15 and the other was 8.

Most of the folks we met were shocked to learn that we had visited the pub before and yet came back. Apparently they don't get many repeat, non-local customers. When we left the pub, we just couldn't stop smiling. The night had been even more fun than the first time. The locals were genuine, kind, and hilarious. The stories they told us kept us laughing for weeks. They truly live in a different world, not one we'd want to live in, but a great place to visit.

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