And, so here goes our first night along the GOR...
As I was just falling asleep in our Toyota Yaris, meters from the Youth Hostel just off of the main road, I hear a soft call.
More urgently, "Mamta. I gotta go."
"Uh huh. Okay. You can't wait until the morning?"
"Mamta? I gotta GO."
Now wide awake, "Okay. What? Huh? Okay. Let's go. We can find that gas station, right? Was there a gas station?"
"I gotta GO!"
A kilometer later, we find ourselves along the GOR again. It is now 12:37AM and the bar on the corner has closed down.
"Aha. Is THAT bar open, Mamta? Is it? Is it!!?!"
"Umm..yes, yes it is. Go! Pull over and go!"
About 30 seconds after the door shut, I look in the side mirror. Hmmm...Why is Srin stopping? Who is he talking to? Is that a cop??!? Oh gosh. What did we do? Maybe it was the U-turn? What is taking him soooo long?"
About five minutes elapsed and images of an Australian jail (or worse, a huge fine) faded as Srin walked (ran) into the bar. Staring intently at the two (yes, now there are two) officers, I tidy up my hair so as not to look like I had been using my rented Toyota Yaris as my Hilton. (You see, it's illegal to sleep in your car here.)
I roll down my window and flash my straight American pearly whites, "Hi sir".
"He's just gonna use the facilities, ma'am."
"Great. Thank you."
"He's not doing too well."
A sympathetic head nod later, I say "I know." in a way only a wife understands.
A smile spreads across my accented Aussie cop's face.
"I am sorry to tell you that the city is booked solid, ma'am."
Fearing being hunted down in my Yaris and fined in AUD (well, it's getting worse to be an American in Australia as the days pass. C'mon Barack.), I reply: "I know. We tried really hard sir. And I just didn't want to drive on the GOR at night. I am a bit of a safety freak. A grandma of sorts."
All the while, hoping to convey a goody-two-shoe persona, as if that probably wasn't already brewing from my pores.
He says "That's mighty smart of you. It's dark out there and the only lights come from the animals." as he claws his hands and scrapes the air in front of me. Funny guy.
He continues, "I think you may be sitting in your hotel for the night. I would just park in a car park. It's not legal but I won't bust your chops for it."
"Well, thank you sir."
An excruciating three minutes later, Srin returns to a hopeful, now wide-awake, and anticipating wife. "Well, what did he want!??!?!"
And so it goes...
"How many drinks have you had?"
"I just had a glass of wine at dinner, officer."
As Srin handed over his license, he asks "Did I do something wrong?"
"No. I just noticed you pulled over."
"I stopped just to use the restroom."
"Blow into this sir." And Srin did just that-a breathalyzer.
The result came as "He's golden." which, of course, was expected.
As if that wasn't enough, the ol' cop'rs asked if he had any drugs in the car. To which Srin replied "No. You can check the car." in hopes that his excruciating wait for the restroom would be soon cut short. (Of course, as I write this, Srin's main contribution to the blog is that he wants you to know what he was really thinking: 'I don't but you may want to check the wife.' Sure Srin. Crack a joke-it only keeps YOUR wait longer. (Pun not intended.))
The cop continued, "Well, where are you staying?"
"Well we wanted to stay at the hostel but everything is booked."
Amidst thoughts of the awaiting relief, he debates if these cops get the dire situation at hand.
"Look sir. I really need to GO." Images of Austin Powers and Number 2 danced in Srin's head as the cop, in true Aussie laidback nature, contemplated the honesty of this Indian-American-Non-Australian tourist.
This picture is a re-enactment and should only be attempted by professional, law-defying car sleepers. Do not try this at home.
And so went our first night along the GOR. It may sound awful (and for a while it was), but it was our favorite night so far. In all its ridiculous nature, we bonded to be quite honest. All we had was each other to focus on the funny parts and not the lack of facilities, comfort, or warmth. And for the record, summer nights along the GOR are cold.
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Location:Great Ocean Road