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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Desert rains!

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 18 January 2007 | Views [959]

A gloomy evening in the Alice

A gloomy evening in the Alice

My 10th day in warm, sunny Australia was another exciting one. I was looking forward to my flight to the Red Centre, which is almost in the dead center of Australia. I managed to wake myself up at 4:45 AM. I woke up fearing that I missed my flight because I saw light in the sky. I ran downstairs and checked out and forgot my bed sheets, so I had to run back. I then got an airport train ticket with my $10 key deposit. I realized that the sun is up so early because there is no daylight savings time in Queensland. I began walking toward the train station with my large backpack. I got there early enough and stopped at the ATM for a small amount of cash, then got a Red Bull, croissant, and a pack of gum. My train came at 5:30 and I jumped on. The airport is so far away from central Brisbane that it takes a half hour to get there by train. I got there at 6 AM and I checked in electronically and got my boarding pass. I didn’t even need my ID or anything like that; that’s quite a surprise. I went through security and then just strolled around. I was talking to this girl who had just missed her flight. That really sucks! I got a lamington (which is that chocolate and coconut covered sponge cake) and I met one of the pilots. I was thinking that with today’s technology that pilots don’t have to work much. But, I heard there is a lot of work involved. I got to board the plane at 6:40. I was on my way back to Cairns and I ate cereal and a roll for breakfast. I then had a cup of tea and I just looked out the window at the Reef that I snorkeled in not too long ago. It’s a beautiful sight. I just relaxed and enjoyed the flight. I’m racking up a lot of Qantas Frequent Flyer Miles on this trip because of all the flights I’m taking. I will have taken 10 flights by the time I get home! We arrived back in Cairns at about 9 AM. I got off and almost forgot how bloody hot it is here. I went through security and had almost three hours to burn. I got food at Hungry Jack’s (Burger King back home). I then emailed everyone telling them I was on my way to the Outback. Afterward, I picked up some Daintree tea to share with everyone back home. That is great stuff I reckon. I waited for my flight and just played Pokemon on my Nintendo DS. When I boarded the plane, I didn’t go through a hallway like the other flights, and it’s operated by QantasLink instead of Qantas. I’m not sure what the difference is; just as long as I get there in one piece. The plane took off at 11:55 AM and I was off to Alice Springs. It was so cloud out and I couldn’t see much. I was so depressed. The flight attendants passed out snacks and drinks. Another cool thing about flying is that everything is free. Lunch was passed out and I had a ham sandwich, even though I’m not a big fan of lunch meats. Afterward, I had two cups of tea. I then sat with this girl who was on her way to Alice Springs to teach music for a year. She lives in Brisbane. As we flew closer to Alice Springs, I could see the red landscape. It’s really beautiful! The Northern Territory is a half hour behind Queensland, so I’m gaining a half hour. We landed in Alice Springs at 1:40, and it was raining. I was surprised because I always thought of this place as a waterless, sun-parched desert. I hope it’s not raining when I go camping in a few nights, because I’ll be in what’s said to be the best stargazing spot in the entire world! I would be really sad after coming all this way and not seeing the stars. I went through the airport, which is very small compared to many others I’ve been. I was told at the travel place that I would have a transfer to my hostel, and I found the lady who would be taking me. Her name was Geri and she was kind of cute, even though she was a little older. I realized I made a great choice after seeing the landscape. I’ve now been to New South Wales, Queensland, and Northern Territory. It was a 15 minute drive into Alice Springs, and on the way I saw the railroad track and the Old Ghan train. The town is bigger than I thought it was. I was supposed to stay at the Alice Lodge, but the travel place forgot to make a booking for me. I have to admit I’m kind of annoyed with them now after this and all the computer problems I was having the other day. So, Geri told me I could stay at Toddy’s for the night. Toddy’s is another backpacker hostel. On the way there I saw Aborigines swimming in the flooded Todd River as we were driving and I really wanted to go for a swim. Geri said she’d be going down there later on. We got to Toddy’s and I put all my stuff in the backroom and walked up to the Shell station for a Red Bull. It started to pour rain down super hard and I even had to get a couple of plastic bags to cover my camera. I then made a B-line back to Toddy’s to put away my camera and hat. I really wanted to walk in the rain, so I went back out and just sang and danced without regard to the fact that I was soaked. All I cared about was enjoying myself in these usually sun-baked desert lands. This reminded me of the monsoons in Arizona, because it also smells good after the rains. I walked into town and checked my email. Nora wrote to me, but she only wrote one sentence. I wish she’d write with more enthusiasm like she used to. It really makes me sad because she’s the person who lit the fire in me to travel. Mr. Hanley also emailed me. I then looked around the opal shop for while and then I stopped at a didgeridoo shop, and I spoke to the Aborigine that owned the shop. The rain had slowed a bit, but I was all soaked and I felt a bit bad because rainwater was dripping on the floor everywhere. After that, I walked up to McDonald’s for dinner. I’m surprised that there’s one out here. Anyway I’ve visited Macca’s in Alice Springs, Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns, in Australia. Afterward, I decided to go for a walk in the Todd River. There were some Aborigines on the other side and I wanted to go talk to them. My challenge was to cross the river without falling. After about 10 minutes, I made it about ¾ of the way across, and then one of the Aborigines showed me a safe way. I made it and I hung out with them. The Aborigines are very dark-skinned and I feel like I’m in the middle of Africa. They are naturalists. The children were swimming naked in the river and the mothers were breastfeeding the kids. I shook hands with all of them and they welcomed me to the “real Australia.” It’s sad that the Aborigines have been mistreated the way they have, because they’ve been here for 50,000 plus years and are the oldest civilization in the world, and white men have been here only 200 years or so. They were all drinking beer. Alcoholism is a huge problem among the Aborigines of today. I also explained that I wasn’t going to climb Uluru out of respect for the Aborigines. After about 15 minutes, I said goodbye and walked down the Todd River. I saw these guys riding in tubes down the river. I wish I had a tube! They told me that I could go to this auto place several kilometers away, but I wasn’t willing to walk all the way back. I nearly wrecked my thongs a few times walking in the river. I got out and then started walking back toward Toddy’s I stopped for a Diet Coke and then found out where my room was. They tried to charge me $20 for the key deposit, but I only had $10, so I gave them that. I met this pretty girl from Switzerland in the lobby, and I walked with her to her room. I decided that I wanted to go take pictures. I asked about a good spot for photos of “the Alice” and I was told about ANZAC Hill. So, I wanted to go up there before it got dark. I walked up there hurriedly, even though it took a half hour. The Hill has the flags of both the Northern Territory and Australia, and was named to commemorate the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) for their efforts in the these various wars. I walked up the Hill and I could see all of Alice Springs. The Aborigines call Alice Springs “Mparntwe.” While on the Hill, I took a picture of the monument and one of myself with Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges in the background. I was talking to this couple who live in Alice Springs and I told them I felt really sad because of how gloomy it is, but they said that weather like this is very rare for them, and that they love it. I sure hope they sky clears by tomorrow night. I sat up there for well over an hour watching the lights of Alice Springs come on. I’m so thankful to be here, and I didn’t even plan on visiting the Outback. I was talking to this mother and kids who live out and also met a couple of cute Aussie girls. At about 8:30, I started walking down. Alice Springs is very quiet at night, unlike Brisbane or Cairns, which are cities that never sleep. On the way back, I stopped and got a sausage dog and a blueberry muffin. I had to use my ATM card because I was 15 cents short and the guy wouldn’t let it go. I walked back to Toddy’s and they had already closed the reception desk, and my stuff was in there. I guess I’ll have to get it tomorrow. I went to the TV room and watched part of The Lion King 2. I then went to my room. I’ve been up like 20 hours today and I need some sleep because I have a long drive tomorrow to Kings Canyon. See you then.

Tags: relaxation

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