There’s an Aboriginal bloke at the counter of the Tennant Creek Art Gallery. He’s looking at Mum and I a bit sideways as we explain that we’re trying to figure out whether to swag at the Pebbles or the Devil’s Marbles that night.
“You girls from a station or something?” He asks.
Mum and I look at each other and smirk. I think that means we’ve reached a filth threshold – my jeans are irreversibly stained with a mixture of red dirt, coffee and general camping ness. They also have a tear in them from my crotch right around the back of my leg. Lack of foresight probably, but I didn’t bring a pant alternative. We’re both wearing shirts, jeans and hats, and I think Mum may be chewing on the end of a spinifex frond.
Mum’s secretly stoked. No, say we, we’re from Bondi in Sydney… We’re just embracing the outback.
We decide on the Pebbles or Kunjarra. It is a sacred site for Warumungu women, which we figure is fitting for a mother daughter outfit. So we do a supermarket shop in Tennant Creek and buy Weis Bars at the servo. Here is a series of Weis Bar selfies, which show mum trying to hold the iPad and Weis Bar and smile at the same time:
We got to the Pebbles by mid afternoon, and found them deserted. They’re basically a large pile of red rocks sitting amongst big clumps of spiky spinifex grass. Doing a circuit of the site, I couldn’t help but wonder what made this pile of rocks sacred, when there were loads of larger, more impressive contenders all around us.
So, both Mum and I needed to wee. Problem was, there were signs all around the site that said ‘Please don’t climb the rocks. They are spiritually and culturally important for the Warumungu People.’ I presumed this extended to urinating. I walked away from the site towards the road on the hunt for an appropriate squat – spot. Unfortunately I stumbled across another sign: ‘This is the habitat of the threatened Pebble Mound mouse. Please stick to the gravel path.’
So you see our dilemma. We can either risk the wrath of the Dreaming spirits of Tennant Creek, or risk killing an endangered Pebble Mound mouse by peeing on it. Death by urine.
I went for the endangered species option, and no rodents came out of their spinifex homes to protest.
We were treated to another speccy sunset and Mum cooked a delicious beef stir fry, which I ate with the selfish satisfaction that it was definitely the tastiest dinner being consumed at the Pebbles that night.