After spending a couple of days in Fremantle, Western Australia, it was time for me to head north along the coast. I had my camping gear and got my car checked out before venturing into outback alone.
After a two and a half-hour drive, I stopped in Cervantes. It was in the evening around 6:00 pm, so it was dark outside. The hotel that I had booked was like a little apartment. The woman at the check-in office drove over so I could check-in. She was middle-aged and explained where my small building was located. There was a popular bar in the small town, and she encouraged me to go there that evening for dinner, saying, “All the guys will be at this bar. You never know what can happen. It might be one of the best nights of your life!”
While I usually enjoy a fun night where anything’s possible, I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept much in Fremantle because I was having such a fun time with my Airbnb host, Trish. I unloaded my car and walked inside the apartment/house. It had two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a strange set-up for a bathroom. I was just happy that I didn’t camp that night because it dropped to 34 °F (1 °C)!
I stayed up until 1:00 am to book the Around the World trip that was being offered by Airbnb but wasn’t successful. The next morning when I went to load my car with my bags, I realized that my water container had leaked all over the back floor! The nozzle twisted itself, and half of my five-gallon jug emptied into my car.
The floor in the back was a small pool. I removed the rug and started scooping with my hand and dumped it on the driveway, but it was a neverending pool. Thankfully, the cleaning ladies showed up and offered me a towel. That helped because I was able to absorb the water and then wring it out. They also let me back inside, so I could refill my water jug. This time, I ensured the water spout wouldn’t twist around.
I stopped at the grocery store in town because I wanted to camp as I got farther north, and it warmed up. The store was tiny and very expensive, so I just got a ham and cheese toastie and hit the road.
I stopped at the pinnacles and walked around. The spires are limestone formations that are scattered throughout an area near Cervantes. There are thousands of pillars surrounded by sand. Some are only a foot tall, while others can reach 11 feet tall.
The sand had a yellow tint to it and was compact. There were small parking areas in different sections, so I walked around a few different spots.
I wanted to get a full-sized photo with me and the pinnacles to show the scale of how big some of them were, but there weren’t any people near me. I decided to use the timer on my phone-camera, something that I’ve never done. Let’s just say it was comical as I attempted to get into place and into the frame before the timer went off.
There were a few paths that had wooden planks that disappeared through trees. I walked along, enjoying the desert. There were a couple of spots where people wrote things in the dense sand or drew pictures, like a smiley face.
I got back in my car and drove around the “road,” which was just a path in the sand. It was incredible how many pinnacles there were, and I wanted to know more about what they were and why they were there.
There was a museum, so I wandered inside. One sign read, “Scientists believe that the story of the pinnacles begins offshore, where shell fragments break down to form fine-grained sand rich in calcium (lime). At the water’s edge, beach sands accumulate as a mixture of shell-based sands from the ocean floor and quartz sands carried by the rivers from the hinterlands. Blown by strong winds, the beach sands form extensive dunes along much of the coastline.”
Another sign explained how they are turned into limestone: “As rainwater comes into contact with the dune sands, it dissolves the calcium carbonate grains. As the dunes dry out, the calcium carbonate recrystallizes and cements nearby sand grains together, forming limestone. This process underlies the formation of the pinnacles.”
A third sign (sort of) explained how they turned into pinnacles: “Just how limestone formed in the shape of pinnacles continues to puzzle scientists. Current research favors two explanations. In both, plants act as a critical catalyst. Both also remain controversial and may be challenged as new research takes place.”
The crazy thing about the pinnacles is that not many scientists study them because they think they’re too new when it comes to geology. They want to study very old things in geology. The scientific community believes that the pinnacles were formed 25,000-30,000 years ago.
I continued my drive north, with the plan to stop in Geraldton. The drive was pretty, with thick trees along the sides. Halfway into the journey, farms appeared. There were goats and cows grazing in the fields.
When I arrived in Geraldton, I went to the visitor center, but they closed early because it was a Saturday. I checked into my motel instead. It was a small place with a shared kitchen, living space, and bathrooms. The owner helped me with my bags and showed me to my room. Suddenly, I was missing my phone. My phone is my lifeline – it’s how I book things, store my photos, and talk to my family. I started to panic, thinking the man stole my phone, but thankfully, I found it buried in my seat (it had fallen out of my back pocket). Crisis averted.
I grabbed some take-out and brought it back to the motel. I was still trying to figure out my plans for the next several days, so I spent some time researching.
Facial Gone Wrong
That evening, I continued taking Benadryl for the hives on my face, neck, and shoulders, but they got worse. I sent some pictures to my doctor in Los Angeles, and she wrote back saying they weren’t hives, they were ringworm – a fungal infection!
I was panicked. Where did I get ringworm? I thought back to when the symptoms first appeared and realized it was the day after I pampered myself by getting a facial and then a massage. I figured it must have come from the massage because the spots were only on my face, neck, and shoulders – all of the places that the woman put that gross washcloth. I looked at the spots that continued to grow, and sure enough, they had a red ring around them.
I knew something was off because the woman only used a small bowl to rinse the washcloth, and I just knew it wasn’t clean. But I assumed it was just my OCD about cleanliness and shrugged it off.
I was upset – I’ve never had a fungal infection before, so I read about it online. It’s hard to get rid of and is contagious. Great.
The next morning, I went to the pharmacy to talk with a pharmacist. Maybe it wasn’t a fungal infection after all. I showed the woman my spots, and she immediately said, “That’s ringworm.” She gave me an antifungal cream and instructed me to use it for two weeks. She explained that it would look like the fungus was gone, but I needed to keep putting the cream on for another two weeks, or it would come back.
I sort of listened to her and used the cream for a few weeks. The fungus had disappeared, and it was getting harder and harder to remember exactly where the spots were. I continued to apply to the cream for a week after they were gone, but then the cream ran out. It was all gone for about ten days…then they started to reappear. Within a day or two, all of the spots returned.
This time, I went to a pharmacist, bought the cream, and a spray that freezes the fungus. I tended to the spots twice a day, and it took a month to get it to go away entirely.
It was only my third facial that I’ve gotten in my entire life. I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be getting another one anytime soon.
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