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"It's a shame it's raining," laments Jan as we drive home through the Blue Mountains. "There are some gorgeous views through here."
But there's something about driving through the mountains in the rain.
The mist hangs about the mountains, draping everything with mystery. There's the shadowy suggestion of a mountain shoulder around every corner.
You drive through the mist, hoping that the road continues on the other side, but half convinced that you could drive off the edge into a white shroud of empty space.
The wall of white drops down 100 metres in every direction. Every once in a while, a dark shape coalesces behind it, forming a tree top, a cliff or a wooded peak. A promise that there is life beyond the mist.
It is almost magical, the way the road continually, faithfully unfolds before us in curls and switchbacks.
"Australia," says Brian with a wink as we pull over at a roadside fruitstand, "is a hot, dry, flat country."
As if on cue, the clouds begin to break up.
As I note this, Tanya scoffs. "It's a trick," she warns with a smile.
Five minutes down the road the sun shines down hotly and, aside from the dark stain on the road, there's no sign of the rain.
Half an hour later, the clouds are suddenly dark and thick and the rain pelts down once again.
my lack of digital camera
Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country