Wed, 15 Sep 2021 06:00:39 GMT
I had gone to stay in a camp in the Australian wilderness. One minute, my host was pouring drinks – the next he was on the floor, 90 minutes from the nearest medic
I was in the back of the back of beyond: a wilderness camp in a lonely north-eastern corner of the Australian continent known by the acronym FNQ: far north Queensland. To reach it, you had to leave a paved road, drive on to a barge, cross a river along which alligators loitered with malevolent intent, and then head north into the density of the rainforest foliage.
The camp was six huts on stilts with a general dining and bar area. Its owner was named Mal: an amiable, “good on you, mate” fellow in his late 50s. His wife, Alison, immediately struck me as shy and hyperstressed. Mal had been a builder in Brisbane. The camp was his retirement project. I was one of only three guests there. I sensed: trouble in paradise.