On Monday and Tuesday we got the paperwork through customs but unsurprisingly quarantine section reckoned the car was too dirty (despite us spending 4 days cleaning it in KL before it got on the boat) and had to be cleaned by them. Us having to pay them for the privledge obviously had no weight in the decision. Not only that but they stated we’d have to put it on a flatbed truck to take it to their cleaning facilities a whole 1/2 mile away in case any mud dropped of it. The flaws in this theory are obvious. A) There was no mud on it, B) How is mud dropping onto a flatbed any better than it dropping onto the road? and C) even then they weren’t going to bother looking at it until next week. Another bonus was that the car wouldn’t start. We went down and had a look and it was clear the ignition module had burned out. I got another one and installed it on Thursday. In the mean time we had a look at the ANZAC day parade on the 25th. There was a big turn out and lots of flag waving and memorial banners. (even including Vietnam which was surprising given that the other countries that supported that war are fairly shy about advertising the fact.)
On Friday we went to Caversham wildlife park and surveyed the strange and varied creatures of australia - wombats, wallabys, roos, tasmanian devils, emus etc. These beasties are one of the main reason that quarantine is such a hassle. Because Australia has been isolated from the other continents for at least 45 million years and has poor soil quality due to the lack of glacial movement and volcanic activity, life here has evolved in a manner suited to this dry and arid environment and therefore, vastly different from life elsewhere in the world. This leaves it very susceptible to ecological damage from introduced species which native species have never evolved any defence against. European settlers from 1788 onwards have introduced many species of animals and plants which have devastated large areas and populations of native wildlife (e.g. goats, camels, foxes, rabbits, cane toads, cats, rubber vine & mimosa). To try to avoid further problems, everything that enters Australia has to be checked for contamination by foreign species. This is a worthy cause. Doing it by washing it into the nearest drain is probably not the best way of doing it though and delaying items for weeks because you don’t have enough staff is no doubt costing Australian business a large amount of money and problems.
During the days, we lolled around the hostel and in the evenings we altered between Perth and Fremantle but we were becoming increasingly anxious to get moving. Unfortunately we were at the whim of quarantine.