The village consisted of a wide spot in the road. It was a cross-road, or, at least, a ‘T’. It actually warranted a mention in a travel brochure – even though there was only a few homes, a general store, pub, and a funny little out-of-place restaurant. Hebel was the place where we were going to sample lunch in an outback pub, but there was this funny little out-of-place restaurant with gingerbread decorations and concrete lawn art luring us through its turnstile gate. “Chicken schnitzel w/chips,” or, “Lasagna w/chips” said the chalkboard out front. It also bragged of various pastries that were sure to satisfy any traveler’s sweet tooth. We had to stop.
I bet you thought this was about food… It’s not. In reality, it’s about taking the risk of asking a person that you have never met why they live in Hebel. You see, inside the little out-of-place restaurant was an Australian couple that have been married for 36 years. The husband is German and spoke with a German/Australian accent, so we didn’t understand but half of what he said. The wife didn’t say much at all. When you take the risk of asking a German/Australian why he lives in Hebel, a place where there is little conversation be prepared for a long explanation. In addition, we had to be entertained while the fryer was warmed up for cooking the chips (french fries).
Our proprietor, the German/Australian, was also a chef. They moved to Hebel because it was a way to get away from the rush and crush of the fast life in the city. The chef had been very successful and had invented a pizza crust that no one could refuse. It was even going to be mass produced and exported to America. Then he had a heart attack. Everything came to a screeching halt. He wanted to turn the business over to his 20 and 15 year old sons, but they just didn’t want it. He said “they would be multi-millionaires now.” So it was off to the outback and a cross-road with a slower life.
An hour later, the fryer came to temperature and our chicken schnitzel with chips was delivered. The story was over and we had a nice meal. His slower life forced us to slow down too, and we took a piece of apple crumble to go as we left.