We’re refuelling – ourselves, not the car – at a gas station just out of Kalgoorlie. I’m having a doughnut for dessert. The truckies in the little cabin next door are having a very English dinner of four-finger fat sausages and ladles of mashed potato. There are two of them, each sporting black T-shirts that look a mile wide and white beards that seem a foot long. I could be exaggerating, of course.
I reckon I’ve got the best spot in the house, right opposite my friend, el geologo, with a view of the magazine rack behind. If my eyes are wide and my cheeks a bit warm, it’s not because of him (alright, I might be stretching the truth a bit here) or the hot summer night, but because of the array of men’s magazines I can see over his shoulder – and I don’t mean GQ. These are packaged to censor (the more interesting) sections of the covers and I’m a bit disappointed that there’s no one actually reading one – no, not even the truckies.
They’re not as racy as I imagine them to be, according to my companion. A bit deflating – I’m having very lurid thoughts at this point. Yes, I am from the land of the Kamasutra but India has rather strict views of adult products and censorship. Clearly, Kalgoorlie (with its adult shops and even more adult magazines at truck stops) does not.
In India, they’re still arguing about what women should wear. Men are writing letters to editors, complaining of women “showing skin.” While my (well covered) female compatriots are marching in Delhi to protest their right to dress as they please, in this remote corner of Western Australia women brave the summer in shorts and tank tops. In this country where so much skin is on display, magazine stands included, no one gives a second glance.
So did I sneak a peek into Playboy? No, but I’ve enjoyed my doughnut and the conversation and the view. It’s not a five-star restaurant, but so what? It’s the best seat in the house. Never say that a pit stop cannot be educational.