The Dune


I’ve been reading a bit of Jack Kerouac (Big Sur) and before that Bukowski, and I’ve not read any of that sort of thing before – the beatniks – and while I’m normally a stickler for good punctuation etc I also quite like their laissez-faire stream-of-consciousness style which rather appeals to me cos sometimes i find writing blogs etc hard (like the Bleeding Cool one) which seem like a lot of effort – coming up with a grabbing start, then blah blah blah and wrapping it up nicely – it can be a bit of a drain. And people expect you to be oh-so-funny and write things elegantly because you’re a writer, so i’m going to defy them, yes, and do it Jack’s way, and tell you about something I did in Rainbow Beach.
That place – Rainbow beach – is so named because it has all different colours of sand, so i was told, and on my last day there – the day after some old tramp pissed the mattress above and i wanted to kill everyone in my room, except the for the 2 nice german girls, okay i wanted to kill 3 people in my room including the mancunian with a claw for a hand, i pity her but she woke up at 6am and turned the lights on, the bitch – on my last day, being a sunday which is a nice day for a walk (better than church) i strolled down this variegated beach (that’s a word i learnt in biology, meaning colourful, something i learnt when i wasn’t feeling up Jane’s thigh) – oh but just before that i saw some kids sliding down a wet plastic slope they’d constructed on an airbed, which i video’d cos there was bound to be hilarity or injury (sorta go hand in hand) and You’ve been framed apparently pay lots of money for clips, but nobody got injured in fact they flew over a bin which was pretty cool, and ten they all laid down after the jump and another guy cleared them, no broken limbs or anything. so after that i hit the beach and took my trainers off – trainers being preferable for long walks but i didn’t know most of it would be on this beach. So i’m walking along, the sea is swooosh sploshing on the sand, and the beach stretches for miles up ahead, bending round to the left (which would be east cos i’m walking south), bordered by big dunes of this rainbow sand, which start like 10 metres high and get cliff-like later on. I mosey along, carefree (i could’ve been in an advert rollerblading in my hot pants to advertise pantyliners) and these sand-cliffs are various colours and shades, but it’s not like Willy Wonka or somesuch, it’s not really rainbow at all, a lot of it’s black or grey or even shades of brown, like trendy browns you get in coffee shops, all ‘mocha’ and ‘espresso beige’ and such. Not the millions of colours i’d expected (no blue for starters. why does blue occur so much in nature but you don’t get many natural blue colours. blue chilis or blue rock), but it was weird that there were separate sections, like brown here, yellow there, brick-red next, then back to mocha. I carried on for a while, took some photos, like the ones with the speed sign (you can drive along the beach, and several wildlife safari buses and 4x4s pass me), and all the while i’m wondering if there are exits anywhere, like steps going to some road above? I’m also thinking it’s taken me a good half hour to get this far and they play football outside the hostel at half four, so i’m wondering if i can get back for that. I see a couple (it was quite funny, a big 4×4 bus thing zoomed past him without honking its horn or anything and he jumped like he’d been punched, and looked really upset, and the women then held his arm for a while as another one passed, i thought What a pansy), so i was gonna ask them if they knew of a way out but i thought i’d go a bit further. I did, and reckon i’d have to turn around soon if i wanted to play some footy. But why go back the same way? I wanted a way out, thinking maybe there’s a road at the top of these dunes (which like i said were more like cliffs of sand but less vertical) and started looking up to see if one section was scalable. But a lot seemed to have these sandy tree-y overhangs which would be hard to get over, but then i saw one which looked promising, so i started up. My shoes were in my bag cos i hate sandy shoes, and besides it feels so much better on your bare feet, and after about 10 metres, maybe 15, i was gasping. real heavy lung fillers, it’s proper hard work. i paused and then went a bit further, thinking ‘why did i begin this?’ but obviously not copping out now, cos i’m me, so i carry on. up ahead are some firmer looking bits of sand (this stuff i’m on now is deep stuff), so i push on up to that, with the odd pause for my lungs’ sake. I reach a spot maybe 30/40m up? and turn around, looking down as the couple from earlier pass (i overtook them) and she looks up, and she’s probably saying to the guy ‘ I wonder where he’s going’ and i’m thinking the same thing myself. I turn around and next there’s the firmer sand, but it’s not as great as it seems, it’s Too firm and i just slip on it, trails almost like little rivers of sand slithering down the cliff. I head kinda sideways and there are more overhangs here, well no like bits jutting out, some with small trees or bushes in holding them together. i find a stick and use that as a walking pole, planting it firmly and pushing on, i feel like Gandalf, purposefully plunging that silvery stick in the ground, i get round this protrusion and scramble up the slope, chucking the stick upwards and going on all 4s like a dog digging a hole, but just about moving forward with each dig, and eventually reach the next ledge, clutching onto roots etc. There are also formations of black sand, which look like rock, like monument valley in fact, little towers of sand, and i grab a couple and they tumble away like towers from a not very well built empire.


I look up and there’s a few more hunks of sand, then bush. I have my doubts, really don’t think i’ll get to the top, or if i even want to, except i Do need to cos this is now my goal. Football isn’t going to happen unless i managed to fly back to base (unlikely) and i can’t quit now, so this is my quest for the day. and it’s good exercise too since i’m sweating and gasping. i reach the end of a narrow tongue of sand flicking up into the bush, and then stop, well no i hesitated a bit before that cos there are holes in the sand, little holes and bigger holes, i don’t know if these are crabs (this high up?) or cute little bush-rodents, or deadly snakes. Or trapdoor spiders that will pounce on my ankle. I pause for about 10 minutes, wondering if there’s any point going further and thinking if i put my trainers on to get through the bush to another bit of sand i can see, will it be worth it (have to rub all the sand off my feet etc), and almost quit there, then i think well i’ve come all this way, and Bear Grylls would just stomp through that bush, it’s only a few metres. (Before Fraser Island i was wary of even walking across a grassy park barefoot, god knows what’s in the grass – giant ants with fangs that would strike bone!, but on fraser we had to shit in the bushes and we’d go traipsing off with a small shovel and wonder what was near our feet (and one time i walked straight into a giant spiderweb, urrrghing and rubbing my hair, seeing two big arachnids just inches away, but i’m later told the ones with big webs don’t have venom because they don’t need it, they have big webs), and on fraser i just didn’t care so much any more. Sure i wouldn’t lie down and roll around in the bush, but i didn’t worry nearly as much) So finally i got some balls and went through the bush, in trainers, and scrabbled across more death-slide-sand, at one point going one metre up and sliding about 5, thinking i’d just keep going and tumble to my death or something. god knows how but i clawed my way up that bit (threw the gandalf staff ahead again) and my fingers were sore from the champagne pools on fraser which cut them up real nice so i had to grin and bear that. I came to more bush, and again hesitated, thinking is it worth it? It looks like solid bush beyond, what’s the point? Go back down and go catch some footy. But i was all of 5 or so metres from the lip, and also i was curious. was there a road there? How much bush before a way back to camp? I wanted, need to know. So i went. Grabbed roots and branches and breached the summit and saw… more bush. What a pisser. It’s not so dense that i need a machete, but it is enough that i can’t see more than 50 m perhaps, so i’ve no idea if there’s a road further on, whether it goes for 100m or 100km. So since i’m not going to traipse thru 100km of rainforest (not actually rainforest, ok forest then) i think there’s nothing else for it but to turn around and go down. Which i do, and just over the top i catch my foot in between some roots and twist it a little, not badly or anything but for a moment i wonder What if? What if i’d broken my ankle there? I’d have to hop down on one foot and thumb a lift on the beach. Doesn’t happen though, and in about 5 minutes, no maybe not even that, 3 perhaps, i’ve shuffled over the sand, slid down on my bum a bit, then bounced like a wallaby down the final deep bit and onto the beach. Which was a lot of fun but not really worth the climb just for that.
I go back down the beach, it’s busier now that the tide’s gone out, and after a mile or two ascend the slope up to town, noticing that my calfs ache a bit. I pass the footballers, and count the numbers – it’s a nice even 6 a side, so i don’t bother them, and instead jump in the pool to wash off the sand and sweat.