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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rest or R.I.P.!!

Riding my bike up from New South Wales to Queensland recently, I was fascinated by the road signs.

All through NSW there are community advisory signs that say things like, “Take a Break” or “Revive and Survive”, but as I crossed the border into Queensland I noticed a much more morbid side to the transport department signs. They carried messages like “Rest or R.I.P.” and “Every K over is a killer” or the cheery “Tired drivers die”. I was already feeling bombarded with the tragic possibilities of not getting enough rest when I came across an electronic sign that spoke to me personally. “Your speed is 97km’s. Take a break now.” Grrrrr

And there are warning signs on every little hill. Many of the Aussie mountains wouldn't even rate a mention in a younger and more rugged country like NZ. If New Zealand used signs the way the Aussies do, there would have signs every few minutes.  The Aussies seem to love signs and use them extensively. I counted 15 arrows on a longish corner and this wonderful group on Cunningham highway.

The corner is not that bad…… honest. I have seen much worse in the New Zealand outback with just two yellow signs and a stripe of white paint on the road.

Then there are the commercial signs. You know you are coming up to a town when you see the fast food signs spring up out of the ground like tall, flat, colourful mushrooms. Usually there are Red Rooster, KFC, Subway and McDonalds signs, possibly all in a line making it convenient to decide whether you "deserve a break today" or you can avoid making a home cooked meal by buying a trillion pieces of chicken with a bucket of sauce and "would you like fries with that?". These signs are typically about ten minutes from town and flanked by the more subdued signs of local cafes, motels and other local businesses.

What I find most bizarre are the signs out in the middle of nowhere. McDonalds is especially good for this. In a remote location after driving for some time without seeing any signs of life, a sign with the big yellow “M” appeared and said something like “Your next McDonalds is only 75 minutes away”. I didn’t get a photo of that sign but 20kms later I got this one. It is still 55 minutes away........

Are there really people who plan their travel around the next McDonalds? Is there a group of travellers who spend their time wondering where their next all meat patty, special sauce, pickles and cheese on a sesame seed bun is going to come from?

I quite like McDonalds. …..Occasionally. But is it really that important?

I much prefer to try new things.

There was the strange grey seafood soup, with the odd name I can’t recall, that I had in a small country village in Tasmania. It was delicious. And then there was the chicken Laksa I ordered in Narrabri from the Asian noodle house. Along with the chicken and veges, it had some interesting cubes of rubbery stuff that may have been dried tofu. … Or possibly not. Now that’s not just dinner. That is an adventure.

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