Broome must be one of the most remote towns in the world and it has a reputation for being very relaxed hence the expression, slip into Broometime. It's tropical, so it's hot, and it's very beautiful, the sea is turquoise, the sand is white and the rock is bright orange. There is no sense of urgency apparent in the town and so you have no choice but to become laid back like everyone else - chilling out by the pool, throwing steaks on the barbie in the evenings and pottering around taking in the town and beaches.
The town centre is tiny and is based around Chinatown, all the buildings are quaint, old fashioned and there isn't a multi storey in sight. The town started up when pearls were discovered in big quantities and a lot of Japanese, Chinese, Malays and Filipinos came over and settled as pearl divers - a dangerous business in those days with only the very lucky few making their fortunes and many dying horrible deaths in the early days of diving. Apparently the Japanese cemetery alone has nine hundred headstones.
Sun Pictures in the middle of the town centre was built in 1916 and is the world's oldest operating outdoor picture gardens so we went along one night and sat in a deck chair. Very nice and when the movie got boring (it was Road to Perdition and not that great), we watched the gecko running around on the screen.
The other thing we did was to visit a crocodile park. The one we went to started as a research centre but they now breed huge amounts of crocodiles to sell, I think they had 1600 baby crocs when we were there. The owner won't get into the cage with his crocodiles like some Crocodile Park's do because he says it sets a bad example, implying that these aren't dangerous animals - coward! No, I wouldn't like to be anywhere near one of these and we've always been very careful in the northern parts of Australia, where saltwater crocodiles live, to obey any warning signs. Here's a picture of a crocodile showing it's fangs.
Cable Beach is a picture perfect expanse of sand which goes on for miles and a popular sunset activity is to ride along the beach on a camel
along with one of the camel trains. There are a number of companies running camel rides, some with ten or more camels but we went with
a company which only had three, meaning that there were six passengers, two on each camel and that we could hear what the camel owners
were telling us about the lives of their camels. Our camel was called Banjo, at 27 years old he
was the oldest of the three male camels but not the bossiest, Cal (21) behind kept trying to lead the train. Camels have a reputation
for being cantankerous and spitting but apparently this is just a vicious slur and our camel was very good natured.
Our camel was lovely and surprisingly
comfy, he didn't seem too bothered by our weight on him but them he can carry up to 8500kgs so he should have just about been able to
manage us! Camels were bought over to Australia in the 1840's and can now be found in the wild. Their ability to carry heavy loads over
long distances through desert conditions made them indispensible in the conquering of Australia's interior such as the laying of the
overland telegraph wire between Darwin and Adelaide.
It was time to slip out of Broometime and head down the west coast of Australia from Broome to Perth