The next morning her luggage still hadn't arrived. She washed out her travelling clothes and hung them in the bathroom, putting on the outfit she had bought at the mall.
Cath rang Bill from the Reservation. He had set aside a couple of hours next Saturday for the trip. Tourists and school trips were mostly who they had visiting. He had a bus to pick everyone up and she decided to see if they could meet in the hotel lobby. She went off to find the helpful guy from yesterday who had organised her room.
Fortunately he was on again today and he agreed to let her use the lobby as a meeting place for the bus pick up. She was feeling more her usual self - organised and expecting success. She used the business centre to print up the fliers she had been working on when she was back home. When Jack arrived to pick her up for dinner, she was in control with a neat stack of flyers in her arms. Still no luggage but surely it would turn up tomorrow.
Jack had a rental car and they drove into the town centre. It was empty. The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? They stood in the middle of the main street looking around them. Lights were on in restaurants but no one was walking the streets. Cath shook her head, she still wasn't used to this country. They decided to grab a bite and then head back to the mall to find the people.
They went into a bar looking place. Cath scanned the menu. "A bloomin' onion? What is that?" She asked the waitress.
"It's an Australian classic."
"It is?" Cath tried not to smile.
"You take an onion, slice it so that when it is battered and deep fried, it opens like a flower and it is served with a dipping sauce.
Cath tried to keep her face looking normal. It was all she could do to just nod. That was not like any Australian dish she knew. She ordered some waffle nachos. She took the wine list and ordered a glass by how much the name appealed - none were familiar. Jack ordered a steak. The waitress came back, apparently that particular wine was not available. Cath chose another at random. The waitress went away and then came back again. That wine wasn't available either.
"Why do you have a wine list if you have no wine?" Jack asked. The waitress didn't answer.
Cath ordered a Coke.
Their gargantuan meals arrived- after Jack's salad, of course. Cath ate as many as she could of the nachos but the plate looked no different. She wondered if anyone ever ate the full plate.
They drove to the mall and finally found some people. Cath put on her best smile and went up to the first person she saw offering a flyer. "We are planning a trip for locals to the Indian Reservation. It is free do you want to come?"
"Excuse me what did you say?" The lady bent her head closer to Cath.
Cath repeated herself again. Then she slowed down and repeated it again.
"Oh I get you. I've never been there except when I got lost once trying to go somewhere else."
"Are you new to the area?" Cath asked
"Oh no, lived here 25 years."
"Well maybe you should come then."
"I might just do that."
Cath felt good. Then the next few people she tried just ignored her, avoiding eye contact. Her confidence started to slip.
Jack was doing quite well she noticed and she tried to get her confident approach back. Then mall security turned up.
Paper clips and string
5 hours ago