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Minor complaints

Frenches-Camp — 2000-05-24

This day does not start so enthusiastically. We all suffer from our various ailments. Jo and Tanja have got some terrible blisters from walking. Our shins and nearly every muscle in our bodies ache. My shoulders are cramped from carrying the cameras all day, my lower back is sending unambiguous alarm signals and for some reason I have got the first intertrigo of my life. Nevertheless we want to go on.

After breakfast I treat Jo’s blisters on the balls of both her feet. They don’t look good. To alleviate her pain, I puncture the blisters with a sterile needle, disinfect them and protect them with a bandage. Tanja treats her own blisters, and after we’ve fixed up all our pains and aches, we set out at high noon. It takes us nearly forty minutes to find a suitable ford through the river. We are relieved to see the camels stride through the water without any trouble. On the other side, we now follow the railway line in the direction of Goomalling. It is a branch line, which makes us hope to have little encounter with trains. Indeed, we remain undisturbed for the next four and a half hours.

From 3 p.m. on I look out for a suitable site to camp, but there are fences on both sides of the trail. We pass gigantic sheep farms, and if it wasn’t for the pain in my back, it would be a fantastic day. I’m slowly beginning to worry where we are going to set up our overnight camp in this area. Next to the tracks, it is impossible. For one thing, there isn’t enough to eat for our camels and for another, there isn’t even enough room to set up our tents. Half an hour later we reach a place near the village of Frenches that looks like a car park. There is a single car parked on it, and a woman with children watches us with obvious curiosity. “Is this place also fenced in?” I ask her, exhausted. “Yes, it continues behind those trees.” she replies kindly. Then I find out that she’s been waiting for us here for some time. A friend of hers saw us marching along the railway line and informed her. She wanted to give her kids a chance to see our camels and they came out here by car. At the end of a nice little chat she offers us to go and set up our camp in the nearby enclosure. “The property belongs to our friends, and I’m sure they don’t mind. There’s a gate over there, and it’s not locked.” she says with a friendly smile. A short time later we are on a clearing beautiful as paradise. One side of it is bordered by a magnificent forest, with a lovely river meandering through it. With a deep sense of satisfaction I set up the tents while Jo and Tanja take the camels for their feeding as usual.

Day: 13






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