I thank him and continue my wanderings. At the far end of the pool I find the Koala Lodge booth manned
by Paul McFarlane and Dave Bowden. I say to Dave, "How do you like your chances of winning today?"
"Are you serious?" he says.
He laughs. "You hear that?" he says to Paul.
Paul pulls the cap off a bottle of San Mig beer. "He's gotta be jokin' right?" he says. Dave
"No," I say. "After all, you are contestants and you might win."
"Look mate," says Paul. "We're here to have a good time and a few beers.. The cookin' comes a
"I see. Have you cooked chili before?"
"Never heard of it until last week," Paul says. "What about you Dave?"
"Ditto," says Dave. "Didn't even have a cook-pot until this morning. Had to borrow one."
"Well, do you have any secret ingredients?"
"Sure do. Cop this lot." Paul reaches under the shelf, pulls out a can of tomatoes, and plunks in on
the counter. He follows this with a can of kidney beans, a packet of tomato sauce, a tin of tomato paste, a jar of
salsa, a jar of chili sauce, and some beef stock cubes. "Got these yesterday at Mommy Tats."
"I mean fresh ingredients," I say.
"Dunno mate," Paul says. He turns to Dave. "Hey Dave, we got any fresh stuff?"
Dave scratches his head. "I think so but I'd have to check the recipe." He takes a grubby piece of
paper out of his shirt pocket and hands it to me. "That's our recipe," he says. "You can keep it, we’ve got another
copy. Got it from Peter, Paul's brother."
I carefully put the recipe in my pocket, thank them, and head back to the bar.
Loudspeakers among the palm trees churn out a Johnny Cash song, Folsom Prison Blues.