As we meandered our way through Western Australia, we took a taxi from the rather mediocre accommodation provided by ‘Ocean Lodge’ to Broome airport to fly back home via Darwin.
As we turned a corner on a deserted road, an Aboriginal woman and her daughter crossed the road in front of us. They looked up before crossing and walked quickly across the road towards a school. It would have been courteous for the taxi driver to have slowed down but he maintained his speed and turned to me in the passenger seat:
‘Damn - missed ’em. Maybe next time, eh ?’
I simply couldn’t believe my ears. I looked at the driver’s smiling face and replied:
‘Still - they were here first, weren’t they ?’
An awkward silence followed. I could feel my wife’s eyes drilling into the back of my head and even the children looked a little uncomfortable at the chilly atmosphere.
Cogs slowly turned. The driver paused and then retorted:
‘Yeah - they were here first alright but that doesn’t mean they should get an allowance to keep four dogs though.’
I’d dearly love to end the story with how I pointedly waited for the racist, ignorant taxi driver to slowly and laboriously count out every last 10 cents of my change for a $12.20 fare.
But I didn’t - I gave him $15, grabbed our four heavy bags from the boot and got out of that cab as fast as I possibly could.