The woman on the desk was a bit cranky and easily confused. I’ll admit that we did have a big booking of multiple campsites and cabins but it really wasn’t too hard to work out. When we told her that most of the group would not be arriving until after six we sent her into a tailspin. She tried to charge us for the sites despite the fact that we had paid about 2 months in advance. We thought that she had just chosen the wrong profession; she really wasn’t suited to a service role.
But the following morning we discovered that there might be have been another reason for her muddled and unhelpful demeanour; sleep deprivation.
Our campsites were along the Murray River, under the gum trees that line the river’s banks. At dusk a few large white birds flew in and took up their place in the trees. They looked like cockatoos but without the yellow crest and with a smattering of pink feathers around their eyes. The first few were joined by a few more and then began a screeching chorus that attracted even more of the birds. This went on until the sun finally set. It was difficult to have a conversation over the ear blistering squawk. Every so often now the birds would be startled, sending them flying into the air and upping the octave on the screech.
However this was nothing compared with the sound made at dawn. If you have ever wanted to know what it would be like to try to sleep at the MCG during the 4th quarter of the Grand Final book a campsite here. Personally this really wasn’t an experience that I wanted to have. But there was no choice. After a relatively late evening we were all wide-awake well before 6am.
We asked what sort of birds they were at reception.
“They are Corellas and you can take them with you if you want!”
At least now I understood why the woman on reception wanted all the campers in before 6pm. She just wanted to get an early night.