Craked engine head, that was the autopsy. WZL 755 had served me well, but paying another 2000 $ to get it up and running again was as appealing as getting circumsized on the spot. No way I could afford that, especially in Alice Springs where all of the prices are just doubled, if not tripled, under the excuse that the city lies in the middle of the desert. A fucking oasis unless you need to shop for anything. So, that gut feeling started to come, clogging my soul and lungs as a toilet full of shit. It was bad.
I had 5 more people with me, every one of them unable to make a decision, every one of them had been relying on my wits for too long. But now, my brain just stopped clicking. I couldn’t think anymore facing the loss and taking any decision was the biggest toll I’ve ever felt since I got in Australia. I just sat at the side of the road and started to think about my chances; there was no way I could afford to replace the engine and wait in Alice for at least 3 weeks for the job to be done.
My time was almost up, with a flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur booked for the 1st of july, and I was at the half of my trip. I dont know if it was my lack of mechanical knowledge, the driving stunts of my friends or whatever, but I was there, in the centre of the Red Centre, without a car and totally pissed. We slept at the side of the road in front of a wrecker that refused to buy my van for two nights before anything really happened, but I decided to get myself out of the puddle of shit (at least get myself out up to the chin, and breathe) and I rented a Wicked Camper Van for 4 days to make sure I could see Uluru, at least. I managed to sell the van to the Wicked Camper guy in Alice, a nice Irish fellow that gave me 200 $ for it, allowing me to take off plates and registration.
A serious tip for all the Working Holiday Visa makers: if you happen to buy a car and register it in your name, remember that you are entitled to a refund if you decide to cancel the registration, or if you abandon your car. Just call the authority, do what they say, mail them the plates and the sticker, and very soon you’ll get your money back. So, at the end of the day, I managed to sell WXL 755 for around 700$, a dead shell of the glorious motherfucker he’d been, so I already covered almost half of my loss. A little smile started cracking on my sorry face, waiting for the next solution. I remebered a friend of mine, Lorenzo, who I met in Airlie Beach first and then randomly in Cairns, who told me he was headed to Darwin where apparently work was not the same mirage, but a real option. I called him up and he confirmed that, he was working already after three days. The problem was how to cover up the 1600 kms distance separating me from the “Paradise of the Top End”. My brain started spinning, again, but this time I didn’t find the solution.
We nailed hit when Giacomo and Matt started trying to call rental companies to get a relocation. This seemed to be the most appealing idea, but we tried that once already, with no luck. Those vehicles disappear very fast… but on that day, they made it. They booked a sweet ass deal, relocating a fully functioning 4wd camper van from Alice to Darwin in four days. Plenty of time to make it, seeing some of the sights. Everything seemed like starting to pick up again after a bad nightmare. The Thing Up There, being it Buddha or Lao Tzi or Jesus Crust or Henry Chtulhu, screwed up all of my plans… or just tried to give me the signal that after travelling non stop for 11 months straight, it was about time to get back to normal again? This is an important question I still have today, almost a month after my last post, when I look back at waht happened and finally start feeling the comfort of a more stable situation. Jumping out of a sea of shit is tough at times, it leaves you all sticky and wet… and stinky too, of course. But the feeling of freedom and the chance you get to look back at it and have a laugh or tell it as a great travel story as I’m doing now, it’s like what they claim you can do with a bloody Master Card: priceless.