Readers, do you remember the original black and white film of King Kong? You know that ridiculous scene where the love smitten King Kong is hanging to the side of the Empire State Building, swatting aeroplanes and helicopters like flies, whilst gazing adoringly at Fay Wray whom he loved because she was, well, a platinum blonde. I doubt that Gorilla’s really do prefer blondes. I’ll let you decide.
My story begins in Australia. I was travelling round the big island after a long sojourn in Tasmania visiting a half brother I barely knew and a half sister I had never met until I set down on Tasmanian soil. But that’s a story for a later telling.
Australia was big and to travel was to spend either many days with your own company or in the company of strangers, some that would and did become friends. I had decided to take up the Oz Experience bus for part of my journey. Travelling down from Darwin right through the middle to Alice Springs. At one stage traversing the infamous Stoney – Simpson Desert, miles of bleak, barren, hot and dusty soil but at least I was with fellow backpackers tired of their own company and happy for the friendship of strangers for a while.
I can’t remember all the people in the bus on that trip, some were so innocuous that they have over the years bleached into the sun dried landscape of my memories. Like the dried bones of red kangaroos. But two girls I do remember and this is their story really, with perhaps a brief mention to a chap I called Mr Testicle Man.
On part of the bumpy journey to Alice, I fell asleep opposite a young guy who was wearing a grubby T shirt and a pair of shorts. He did not have underpants, that became quite obvious when he sat opposite to me. His testicles plopped out either side of the rim of the shorts and remained like that for a good few hours. I can only assume that he had balls of steel literally for they must have fried on the seat that they had been so unceremoniously plonked down on.
I slowly fell asleep at the sight of these manly jewels on display and I awoke several hours later still with the sight of them. In fact for a moment I was convinced we hadn’t travelled very far at all. That I had only been asleep for a few seconds. But no, we had been travelling for at least a few hours.
I slowly attuned my eyes back to where I was and tried not to look at the two balls that had been dancing a few seconds sooner in front of my sleep hazed eyes.
A blonde girl started laughing at me, as if she knew what was going through my head.
The blonde girl was petite and tomboyish, not particularly pretty, very pale skinned with freckles across her nose which I guess many people would consider rather cute.
As the journey unfolded it became apparent she was sleeping her way round Australia. And had already shared her sleeping bag with a few of the Oz experience drivers on past journeys.
As she relayed a few of her meetings with the local Australian males, Mr Testicle’s eyes lit up, which I am afraid could not be said of any of the female occupants of the car about his balls on display.
But he obviously thought he was in with a chance with the blonde. She obviously didn’t.
One of our night time stop offs was a place called Cooder Peedy. We were to stay in a troglodyte dwelling. Caves refurbished into a hostel. It made perfect sense. We were in one of the hottest parts of the island and it would be a nice cooling place to rest. Oh and also it was the home of Mel Gibson at one stage, Cooder Peedy I mean, not the caves.
The locals were heartily fed up with Mel’s name even being mentioned. One telling me, “We don’t have fond memories of Mel round here.”
That evening after a group of us had all used the only public telephone box in town to ring home, we descended on a local bar for some cool beers.
The conversation as usual went along the lines of how and why we were all in this place, why we were all travelling, most of the time on our own. I was tempted to ask Mr Testicle Man why he wasn’t wearing any underwear but I refrained from it. I hadn’t drunk anywhere near enough beer to hear the answer to that one!
The little blonde was flirting with the Oz experience bus man and I had started to flirt with a tall blonde Danish man. Everything seemed to be going as one would expect.
And then a young beautiful Indian girl strolled into the bar. The bus driver called her over to join the group. She was visiting from Sydney she informed us and was second generation Australian. She had the accent and the relaxed demeanour that confirmed this.
There was an immediate cooling of the air as she sat opposite the blonde. The girl was sexy and confident and it was apparent that our driver was smitten. It also became apparent that perhaps Blondie would be sleeping alone tonight, unless she submitted to the charms of Mr Testicle Man.
As the talk travelled through the collective countries we had all visited, the name “Rwanda”, came up several times.
“I want to go to visit the mountain gorillas there.” I enthused.
“Well I am afraid you may never have the chance now.” The blonde girl said sadly. “They are soon to all disappear. But I was so lucky; one of the big males came over and touched my hair, because he was fascinated at my blonde colour.”
A snort from the other side of the table caused the entire group into silence. “I had one who touched my hair.” The Indian girl sniggered. “And look. It’s definitely not because he was fascinated by me being blonde. Don’t be so bloody stupid.” As she spoke her hand flowed through her jet black hair. No I mused she definitely wasn’t blonde.
The rest of us watched and listened fascinated by the turn of events. The blonde continued with her affirmation that it was her blonde hair that the male gorillas had been attracted to.
Even I was slightly stunned at her simply vanity. “Aren’t gorilla’s colour blind?” I asked. To which I received a pout and a “You know nothing about them. I was there!” Which was true sadly I wasn’t there but it was obvious she didn’t know anything about them either if she really thought they made choices to interact with humans based on the colour of their hair? Why would a colour blind animal prefer her hair to another woman’s? It was just plain daft.
Finally Mr Testicle Man interjected and said, “So are you trying to tell us that Gorillas really do prefer blondes? I thought that was just a myth like King Kong.”
“No.” I replied “I think you mean, Gentlemen really do prefer blondes.”
“That’s just bloody silly.” the bus driver said. “Gorilla’s aren’t gentlemen.”
“Neither are Australian men.” I replied. “The ones I’ve met so far act worse then gorillas. And I have to confess the colour of our hair really isn’t what they are interested in. And actually a gorilla probably has better manners than any of you Aussies’
The jibe was taken with good humour by the driver. It turned out his mother was English and his father Pakistani.
Mr Testicles was now on a roll and asked. “So lets get this right. Fay Wray was a peroxide blonde. That’s basically bleach right? Like toilet cleaner. Why would a wild animal be attracted to the smell of bleach?”
“I’m not a peroxide blonde. I’m natural.” Our very own Fay Wray began to wail.
“Where you down wind or up wind? I mean could he have got the smell of you?”
“You know like the scent of something sexy.”
“The smell of sex.” The driver grinned.
We all fell about laughing. By now the beers where working quite nicely.
“You lot are just jealous”, she fumed.
“Yeah of course we are. I’ve always wanted to be jumped by a Gorilla.” The girl from Sydney quipped.
“Well now’s your chance.” The driver said in a true Aussie drawl.
The blonde got up in a huff and stormed out. I don’t know if she succeeded in sleeping with the driver of the Oz bus. I was too busy being rescued from a white stripped deadly poisonous spider that had decided to hunker down in my sleeping bag. It was the blonde Danish man (definitely not a gorilla) who tried to kill it with one of his flip flops. Eventually conceding defeat and offering me space in his sleeping bag. Safety in numbers, it made perfect sense. But not before I insisted he turn the sleeping bag inside out several times to ensure no arachnids were hunkering down with me.
I leave the decision of whether Gorilla’s really do prefer blondes to the legend that is David Attenborough. Rwanda 1978, that film footage of his encounters with the mountain gorilla’s. A female had found David and inspected him with a certain amount of interest and sensitivity.
Years later I had the privilege of meeting Sir David Attenborough. I think his reply to my question would really have disappointed the blonde traveller in Australia.
“In all probability he was merely inspecting her for lice or fleas!”
What ever your thoughts on the colour choices made by animals. We all have to bow to the far superior knowledge of Sir David don’t we?
So there you have it Nitty Nora in fancy dress!