So one of these places, suffering under the unusual name of Quorn, about 400k from Adelaide out towards the Simpson Desert, was our place du jour. We drove along the typically deserted back streets until we came to the central business district, which consisted, as far as I could make out, of four pubs within about fifty yards of each other. (It's a notable fact of Australian country life that the smaller the population, the more pubs per town. We were in a place called Eden, which, by the way, thoroughly lived up to its nomination, and I remember reading a sign as we drove in that said: "Eden - a drinking town with a fishing problem.") Anyway, in the main street of Quorn there was not the slightest shred of evidence to convince us out of the eerie belief that a flock of UFOs had recently landed and extracted the entire population, plus their automobiles, to the Andromeda Galaxy or thereabouts.
We chose one of the pubs, a grand old edifice called the "Austral" (I know, pathetic, isn't it?) I pulled up in parallel-park position right outside the front door, which happened to be open. We got out, stretched, and walked on in.
Inside was a barmaid, a woman in her mid-forties or so, and an old guy slowly enjoying a small beer. I gave the barmaid a "G'day", and we ordered a couple of beers and enquired about the food situation.
"No problems, fellers, I'll fix somethin' up for yerz." (That's how they talk out there.)
She came around from behind the bar, walked out the door, then immediately returned, giving us a quizzical shake of the head.
"That'd be right - bloody Volvo drivers!"
"What?", I said, "What have we done?"
"It's angle parkin' in this street, ya galah! Yer fuckin' parallel-parked!"
"Well, how was I to know?" I replied. "There aren't any signs."
"Ah, everyone knows it's angle parkin', boofhead."
"Well, what does it matter?", I rather defensively responded - "there's no-one here anyway."
"Well that's why, ya drongo - nobody can get a park!"
Postscript: About a week later, after we'd been up to the desert, we arrived back in Quorn, ravenous, on a Saturday night. The place was jumpin'. Cars everywhere, lights, people all over town. What a change from the week before. As it happened, there was just enough room, amongst all of the properly angle-parked cars, for me to get a spot parallel-parked in exactly the same place as I'd parked the week before.
"Watch this," I said to Leigh. We pulled up outside the pub, got out and walked in. The same barmaid was there (the place was packed), looked beyond us out the door, and gave us just the slightest dismissive shake of her head, and I swear I saw her eyes roll around. Later, as we sat down to eat in the pub's restaurant, a waitress came up to take our orders.
"You'd be the bloody Volvo drivers, then," she said.