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Days on the farm continue to be varied

near Perth — 1999-12-05 - 1999-12-31

In the days before Christmas, the temperature rises to 46 degrees C in the shade. Even in the caravan, in spite of air-conditioning, we have between 32 and 37 degrees Celsius during the day, which means that beside the camel training, also the writing is getting to be quite a strain.
Verne comes to visit us. Verne is going to accompany us for the first 2000 km of our journey and wants to take us to some aborigine caves hardly anyone has seen before. Together we work out an itinerary that will take us, among other places, to some old, historical gold field and gem mines where we want to try our luck as gold hunters.

On one of these days in December I play Santa Claus for the children of the workers of one of the largest mining companies of West Australia. I ride on a camel and bring them presents calling “Hoou! Hoou! Hoou!”.

We are visited by two teams of photographers working for the German news magazine Der Spiegel who want to publish a report of our life.

Tanja and I attend an Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course that is particularly designed for the Australian outback and for group leaders.

We meet Mary Jane who undoubtedly is one of the leading authorities for kangaroos in West-Australia. From this time on we see her at least once a week in order to provide Shiron the necessary run in her huge enclosure and give him a chance to meet other kangaroos.

We have finally made up our minds not to take Shiron on the expedition since he is most likely not to survive. Shiron has meanwhile got accustomed to Mary Jane, and she is going to reintegrate him into nature at the age of two together with other kangaroos.

We spend Christmas Eve with Inspector Gadget and his wife on their farm. It is indeed a hot and not a white Christmas with the temperature at night still being around 30 degrees Celsius. Never before did we see how candles bend in their holders from the surrounding heat so that the wicker is turned down and it’s impossible to light them.

With Verne who has come to see us again, we spend the turn of the millennium in the tent attached to our caravan. It is a pleasant evening. We tell each other stories, watch the clear, starry sky and talk about our forthcoming departure. Verne dreams of the gold hunting and about us being the first gold hunters after the pioneers to be in transit on camels.

Shortly before the due date of my book, the hard disk of our Smiley computer fails. There is an unpleasant crash and all my data are lost beyond hope.

I begin to curse computers and mourn the loss of the good old times where we had to handwrite everything and send it by fax. I was lucky to have saved the book on floppy disk the night before my laptop’s total failure, so I’m still able to meet the contract with my publisher.

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