My daughter updated me about her Australian coach trip over the Lassetter Highway to Coober Pedy, the opal capital of the world. A distance of over 150 miles.
“Is not there anything at all?” I asked her. She shook her head: “No, not really. No city, no small village, not even a hamlet! An occasional gas station is all I can think of. There is just nothing but one endless straight road. Well, that is why they call it “the outback” over there.” She shrugged her shoulders: “You just look out of the window. At first still as a tourist, but rather soon with just a glance and than not really noticing the dull landscape. You listen to the sound of the engine of the bus and to the buzzing sound of the wheels on the asphalt. Because of the monotonousness your concentration level reduces. You read a bit, sleep a bit (if you can) or you start thinking. Plenty of time. In general: That is how boredom feels. It is very quiet in the bus”.
I said: “So nothing at all happened on the way?” “Oh yes”, she nodded and told me: “At a given time the bus driver calls through the microphone: “How is everybody doing?” A mumbling arose as a kind of general answer, so the driver concluded: “All right!” and added: “In a while I will have a surprise for all of you!” Vague and corney responses to which he retorts: “No, I am not going to tell you about it yet. It’s got to be a surprise!” The bus drove straigt forward, on and on”.
“After another 45 minutes the voice of the bus driver sounds over the roar of the engine: “By now you all must be anxious to know more about the surprise I have, don’t you?” Again response with a lack of enthousiasm. “The surprise is…” he said in a loud voice,” that within a minute we are going to make a left hand turn!”
“A bit later, when the bus turned into the left hander indeed, everybody was awake, looking more or less curious outside. Most people rose their arms above their head, loud cheering, as if being in a roller-coaster in an amusement park”.