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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Derek Gonna Die. Derek Gonna Die Soon.

Updated: May 30, 2022

July 31st-August 2

Bus trip to Darwin


"This trip has all the ingredients that a bag of steaming excrement contains. I’m on the verge of killing some fuck faced fidgety fucker sitting in front of me. I wish a had short legs similar to that of a dwarf. Matt said “go with greyhound, the videos are better.” Yeah, right. I really dig the Jewel of the Nile and The Gods Must Be Crazy II. I’m fucking crazy sitting in this piss hole station until 3:30- it’s just turned 8. Ha aha. Kill Kill kill. Until I get to Darwin…"

My journal:

"34 hours on a bus from hell. Cramped seating. Sore ass. Stupid drivers that babble on and on and on.

And if you look to your right as we pull into… Shut up!!! Fuzzy radio station BLASTED. Turn it off. Movies crap. Kindergarten Cop and Little Buddha. Stops at Cloncurry. Mt. Isa. Camooweal. Barkly. Roadhouse. Tennant Creak. Katherine. Finally Darwin.

If I never see another bus again, it will be too soon.

Just try to sleep… I dare you.

I have now entered "the Northern Territory". Captain Joanna’s log - Stargate… Sarah’s birthday. Nathan message : I want to leave Tennant creek Now. I don’t want to stay another seven hours in a bus terminal. I don’t want to spend an eternity sit-in on a cramped clapped out shitty bus."

"God - fuckin' tired. Get me off the bus! Sarah, Ang, Dara and Neil met me at the bus stop. Book me into a backpackers- nice bitches behind the counter!

"Can I get a room for the night?"

"No. We're full."


"Where did you just come from?"

"The Bus Station."

"Oh... ok... we'll give you a room."

Go to Dara's aunts and eat eggs & toast & donuts. Yum. Shopping hell. Me and Ang bought Australian Hats - funky. Tried to talk Sarah into getting one but she wouldn't.

"Oh! I'll buy you one for your birthday."

Please don't.

We almost went nuts in town, as Dara's uncle tried to get Sarah to go with him to the bank to sort out her shit. ARG! They were gonna get her something for her birthday, but she couldn't chose anything cuz she felt bad about the price. I got fed up and went back to the hostel to sleep. Nathn and I talked for awhile. Fell asleep till about 10 and Neil woke me up, so we went across the street to get dinner. Cool Mexican restaurant. Caroline from S&P works there. Sarah and Dara came out. Ang was sick. Sarah drank almost a whole bottle of tequila. Disgusting. Bottle shop closed. I got nothing. Oh well. Drank in the park for awhile, then went to some classy little pub. Bought Sarah China Whites and Dr. Peppers. Had to teach the bartender how to make them. Sarah got shitfaced. Puked and passed out in the bushes. Had to find her and make her shove her fingers down her throat. Exciting!"

Yes... that was my first "less than 24 hours" in Darwin.

There was more.

Let's start with Dara's aunt, Evelyn.

She was a younger lady from the Philippines and married to Dara's uncle, who was a very decrepit, older man. It was, quite obviously, a marriage of convenience.

Reading earlier about how we had eggs & toast & donuts?

Ya... not just a donut each... an entire TRAY of donuts. She claimed she made them for Sarah's birthday but it was odd and as soon as the tray arrived in front of us... we were more than uncomfortable.

"Eat!! Eat donuts!" she continued to yell at us, smiling profusely... and attempting to physically shove them into our mouths.

At one point, she pulled us girls together to explain how she was hoarding her own money from a secret job because Derek was going to die soon and she wasn't going to let his kids get their hands on HER money.

"Derek gonna die. Derek gonna die soon."

She repeated this a lot.

It became our Northern Territory theme.

We even wrote it on the roof of our car.

"Derek gonna die. Derek gonna die soon."

Our journey in Marge... as recorded by myself...

August 3rd, 1995:

Long drive. Flat, dry scenery. Angie is sick and grumpy. Took photos of huge plastic crocodile with boxing gloves. Drove over muddy rivers - CROCODILES!

"Hey... let's get a really expensive fishing rod and a sirloin steak, hang it over the bridge and make them jump ourselves!"

Sarah is super hung over and puking all day. $15 entry into the park. Camped at ? Malabanjbanjdju - FREE! Tons of mozzies. We got bitten to death. We didn't really know how to set up the stupid $25 tent we bought, so I just stuck the poles through the canvas. Really thrilling night. Very hot. Like a sauna."

I failed to mention the actual truth about the mosquito infestation we endured. The real story is that there were millions of these annoying little pests. It was unbelievable and unbearable. I'm not sure if it was the location, the heat, us, the time of year- or a combination of all the above, but we had found a swarm and they were not letting us leave alive.

It came down to having to completely cover our bodies with layers of clothes to avoid being eaten alive. Trying to set the tent up was more like a race against time, rather than a careful, well thought out puzzle to be solved. We needed to take refuge.. NOW. By the time we got the tent up, it was all we could do not to just dive inside, zip up and stay put.

The next day... Ang had approximately 160 bites. Sarah had around 140.

I had 2.

They were not impressed.

And they didn't care how much they itched.

August 4th, 1995:

2nd Day...

Up early - drove to Border Store for popsicles and then to Ubirr Rock. It was pretty. Saw Aboriginal rock art and climbed the rock. Cool marsh lands beside it. Drove down to Nourlangie Rock and the Anbangbang rock shelter. Nice walk and more rock art. Took a walk to Anbangbang billa-bong.


None sighted. Couldn't really go anywhere cuz Marge isn't 4WD. Shitty.

Left Kakadu and drove to Edith Falls. Oh - stopped at Mary River Roadhouse.

"You can use the toilet if you're a customer."

"I HAVE TO GO! I'll get something after!"

"NO! Buy something first."

I didn't have any money.

I tried to use the caravan bathroom and the man ran out and screamed "GET OUT OF HERE!"


Pays to be friendly.

Edith Falls - FREE camping... or so we thought. The Lonely Planet is wrong. $5 per person. We had no money so we slept in the car on the side of the road.

August 5th, 1995:

3rd Day...

Up early again - it was ok cuz we're always ready for bed by 7:30pm. Did the circuit walk around Edith Falls. Of first, we snuck into campground bathrooms and got clean and filled up our water bottles. The falls were really gorgeous. 3 fresh water pools. Only fresh water crocs, so it was ok to swim.


What kind of fucked up advice is that?

Was getting worried about my camera cuz it seemed I'd taken more than 36 photos. Opened camera and exposed the film. Cool me. Pissed off. Left Falls after a swim. Well.. Sarah and I both tried to push each other in and we both fell in.

Drove to Katherine. Ran into Kodak store to see if they could fix my camera. Hey! Film wasn't even rolled on. Sucks to be me. Man- felt so dumb. We left Katherine and drove to Katherine Gorge. Rented a 3-man canoe for a trip down the Katherine River. Saw the gorge, small caves.

"Let's put the tip of the canoe into that cave!"

Got to the spot on the river where we were allowed to swim and hit a bunch of rocks. Paddled back and got stuck on a rock. Japanese guys helped us off. It was $9 each for the canoe. Pretty cool.

Then we drove to near Mataranka Thermal pools and slept in the car on the side of the road again.

I never want to be this poor ever again! Two night of sleeping on the side of the road? No, thank you.

August 6th, 1995:

4th Day...

Up early! Went to the Thermal pools and again, used the campground bathrooms. Lost Sarah for awhile - me and Ang were 20 feet away and she couldn't see us. The pools were cool. You could see the bottom! Did a half hour walk to Stevie's Hole pool and saw tons of catfish. Ugly fuckers.

Left there and headed towards Tennant Creek. Stopped at Larrimah for a photo of a huge, fake crocodile. Then onto Daly Waters, a small town that has the oldest pub in the Northern Territory. Had a beer. Bra's hanging in the pub and a sign that said, "We don't serve women here. You have to bring your own."

I like how we have money for canoes and beer... but not accommodation!

Major army people. On the 'lookout' for Orangeland soldiers. Exercise Kangaroo '95. Funky! Gave some guy a ride to the highway who was hitching to Katherine. Car broke down - shitty.

Onto Tennant Creek. Didn't think Marge would make it.


Scary town... "We're NOT staying here!"

Kept driving to near Devil's Marbles. Slept in the car on the side of the road, AGAIN.

Some tour bus there. "We're blowing out of here! You wanna use our fire?" YA

There were some Japanese people there talking about me.

"What are they saying?"

... last time I checked my Japanese dictionary...

Another not so comfy night. Freezing!

August 7th, 1995:

5th Day...

"Oooh! They look like a rainbow laid them!"

Onto Alice Springs... finally got there! Booked in at Mekarnaka Lodge backpackers. Big, no atmosphere, dirty kitchen... etc. First warm dinner - mashed potatoes, mixed with onions, carrots, tomatoes, cheese and spaghetti. Tasty. Knife was chained to the counter.

"How do we wash it?"

Finally got to sleep IN BEDS!!!

August 8th, 1995:

6th Day...

Left Alice Springs to Ayer's Rock. Long drive - no exciting scenery. Major dead animals on the road. Marge has now passed 28 cars and 2 buses.

We kept track.

Finally got there. Thought we saw the rock, but it was a fake. NO CAMPING!

"Where do we sleep?"

Sat near the park entrance and ate and wrote. Watch the sunset.

Lost everything in the car. "Where's my bun?" "If I was a bun, where would I be?"

Slept in the car again on some dirt road off the main road. Car drove by and we pretended we were changing the oil. Weird noises in the bushes. Angie is a snore machine. It was freezing cold.

August 9th, 1995:

7th Day...

Up early - before sunrise and drove to the rock to watch it. Not too sensational. Hoards of Japanese people in tour buses. It was hysterical. I've never seen so many Japanese people with nice clothes on - as opposed to us slobs!

Started at 8:15am

Reached the top at 9:34am

Finished at 10:50am.

Really steep. Me and Ang had to stop about 100 times to catch our breath. Angie felt really sick too. Finally made I though. Got to the top, sat around and came down. Laughed at the people going up when we were coming down.

Drove from here to the Olgas but just had a look around. Didn't do a walk because we were tired and I had blisters. Stupid shoes.

Went for a drink and did some shopping at Yulura Resort. Picnic on the nice golf course. Brilliant green grass.


Continued on to near King's Canyon so we could park for the night. Ranger asked us to leave where we were parked, as it was a National Park. So drove out of the park to a side road. Were about to stop when we saw a dead cow lying on the road. I swear it was headless.

Kept driving on, to another turn off and stayed there for the night. Big, black sheep, resembling something evil, starred at us all night. Eerie.

August 10th, 1995:

8th Day...

Got up and drove to King's Canyon. I have another pinched nerve in my shoulder. Nice. Stopped at KC resort campground and showered. Good, considering my greasy hair was sticking to my greasy face. Pleasant. Did a 2 hour canyon walk and it was really cool.

Saw the Garden of Eden and all. Pretty steep climb too! Left there and drove to the King's Creek Station for a camel ride. $3 for 5 minutes. They looked so sad. All tied up. Shitty.

Hit the road to get back to Alice Springs. Stopped along the Stuart Highway to write and park for the night. I have a major sore throat , painful shoulder and I'm not feeling too well.

Maybe get a bed????

August 11th, 1995:

9th Day...

Got up today and drove all the way back to Alice. My money came in! $400!!! Stayed at the Melanka backpackers again. Booked the wayward bus to Adelaide with a stop in Cooper Pedy for $80. Accommodation included!

Did laundry and some loser accused me of stealing his friend's ti-died shirt!

And that was the end of our Northern Territory Marge Adventure...

Ange and Sarah went back North and then East. I went South.

Bus to Cooper Pedy

Got on then bus from hell to go to Adelaide. Not too bad actually. The speedometer was broken and the driver tightens the bolts that keep the tires on at every stop. It's the bounciest bus I've ever been on, but it's cheap.

Don't know anyone and I'm shy.

Maybe more insecure?

Old fart behind me is annoying. Breaths loud, chews loud, talks loud and too much. Can't hear. Coughs constantly.

Met a girl from Ontario, who is cool.

Bus driver thinks I'm an alcoholic cuz I told him I picked fruit for 9 months. He said, "What did you spend all your money on? Alcohol??" Yep...

So he has a big laugh making booze jokes.

The hostel you're going to be in Adelaide is licensed... will that be a problem for you?

While you're in Adelaide, will you be visiting the Barossa Valley wineries? They have free samples!

He was actually ok though.

The tape deck kept fucking up and so he'd play 3 lines of a song and change it. Drove me nuts.

Scenery from Alice to around near Port Augusta was horrible - flat and dry. After that, it was so beautiful. Really green creeks and huge, weeping trees. Nice countryside. Too bad I'm so broke or I could spend time around there. Free night in Cooper Pedy on the way! In a cave! Exciting

Small, duty little town in the middle of NOWHERE. Flat, ugly... etc etc.

It's an opal mining town, so a lot of it is underground. We stayed at the Umoona underground mine in a cave. Well, it was more on the side of small hill.

Cool though. Me and this girl from Ontario went into town to look around. Opals everywhere! Tons of souvenir shops - too bad I'm flat broke! Went into one place and the guy who owned it had a bunch of his poems photocopied and there to take. I asked if they were free. Yep. It was the only thing I could afford.

He said, "Do you write?"

Me, "What? Poems? No. I'm not too good at that."

He replies, "I am."

He then continued to tell me how much experience he's had.

The poems were horrible and filled with spelling mistakes.

Got here at about 6:30pm and booked in to Backpack Australia. Pretty cool place. Broke - so was interested in this job that was advertised packing showbags for $9 per hour. BUT! I called John and Sonya and they offered to give me money to bus down there and change my ticket again. Cathay Pacific will hate me. So that's ok. I'm in a girls' dorm room and everyone seems cool. Two girls from the bus trip.

Got up early and went into town to change my ticket. They say they can't change it without Vancouver's permission. WHY??? So I gotta go back tomorrow. Shitty. Wandered around the city. Souvenir shopped. Cheap, of course. Sat down by the river for a bit and then went to the library. Interesting day. Lazed around the rest of the afternoon, writing and doing nothing.

Walked to the bus station cafe to get something to eat and on my way back, I was having a smoke and going through the little alley that leads to the road to get to the backpackers. Suddenly these 2 guys were there. One yells out at me, "Hey can I have one of those?" Ok. I get out a smoke and go to give it to him, but he grabs my packet and says, "Can I have 2?" and takes 2. Then his pal comes over and asks for 1 and 1 for later. Ok - bye.

They're standing right in front of me, blocking my way and asking me a bunch of questions.

Where are you from?

What's your name?

I try to walk away, but they're right there, in my face, talking to me. So I walk a bit faster, getting away, but they still follow me - right at my face, still talking to me. Then one guy goes, "I'm from New York. I come to see my brother. He's looking good, eh? Don't you think he's looking good?"

Rape and murder are going through my mind.

I agree - Ya... he's looking good.


Then I walk ahead again and the one guy yells at me, "HEY CAROL! Come here, it's ok."

I yelled back that my brother was waiting for me around the corner and I had to go. Then he runs up to me, grabs my arm and says, "I know where you're going. The backpackers. I got there sometimes to get water."



Then he lets go and says, "Take care of yourself, Carol. Bye!"

I almost shit my pants.

Time to go home...

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