'Slip into Broome time,' they say, and figured I might as well do just that. I liked Broome so much that I stayed an extra day, which gave me two days of lazing around doing very little except soaking up the rays and lounging on the beach. Actually I got a bit of sunburn on my upper right thigh on the first day – I'd been writing a letter lying on my side, and of course you can't just swap hands and turn over, so without realising it I'd burned my rump – so I spent the second day sitting in the shade of a palm tree, looking out over Cable Beach and wondering where all the promised bathing beauties had got to. I suppose with it not being the holidays the beauties were somewhere else, but there were plenty of wrinklies around, so at least it wasn't dead (though it was a pretty close thing, looking at some of them).
Despite this lethargic vibe, I did manage to visit all the sights of Broome (well, the free ones anyway). Gantheaume Point, at the southern end of the 22km Cable Beach, was home to some weird and wonderful red rock formations carved over time by the coastal winds, but Broome Harbour was covered in fog when I visited it very early in the morning, though I was lucky enough to see it slowly roll back, revealing fishermen, a BP depot and deep, blue ocean. In fact, the only real event I missed out on in Broome was the fabled Roebuck Hotel (the 'Roey'), the only place to be if you're a backpacker or a bottle of beer. Actually, I missed it out intentionally, though large numbers of hostellers round Australia will tell you that the Roey is where they had their most unforgettable experiences in Oz. Then again, if you push those hostellers about what was so unforgettable about the Roey, it seems they've forgotten...
Talking of spending your time at the bottom of a beer glass, Broome must have the highest concentration of British this side of the Costa del Sol, and that comparison isn't coincidental. Yes, there's a lot of the Brits Abroad crowd here – either from the far north of England or the ubiquitous Landan Tahn – and it reminded me of something Robin had mentioned in Millstream-Chichester. He asked if I knew why the Aussies called the English 'Poms', and blow me, I had no idea why. He said there were two popular theories, both of which could be rubbish, but nobody I've asked seems to know which one's right. Take your pick from the following:
Pom comes from POME (pronounced 'Pommy'), an acronym for Prisoner Of Mother England.
Pomegranates have pale flesh with rosy-coloured skin, and this reminded the bronzed Aussies of pale Victorian English skin with rosy cheeks; hence, Pom is short for pomegranate.
I don't know which one is right, if either, but I tend to favour the first one. Whatever, Broome was chocka with Pommies, so after a couple of days I decided not to add to the problem, and hit the road for the heart of the Kimberley.