AUSTRALIA — Day 9

It’s amazing how much the scenery can change in two hours. This was my view as I flew out of Cairns . . .

737_flying_out_of_cairns

. . . and here’s what I saw before the plane landed in Alice Springs:

738_flying_into_alice_springs

That might not look like much, but I was excited because my opportunity to experience the outback had finally arrived.

While waiting for my luggage in the Alice Springs airport, I took a peek at this:

740_central_australia_brochure

Why? Because I’d just been informed that the bike tour I’d booked weeks in advance had been cancelled, and I needed to find something else to do. (The tour was supposed to be with a company called Experience Oz, so here’s some friendly advice: don’t book anything with them. They suck.)

As it turned out, there *was* nothing else to do that would fit into my limited time frame, but in a way that was good. It meant I could relax and check out the actual town of Alice Springs.

On the way to my hotel, I took a bunch of photos of the landscape, including this dried-up riverbed:

744_dried_up_river

In case you can’t tell, it was HOT. And I was glad. This winter in New York City had been brutal.

At the hotel, I got a map of Alice Springs and headed out on foot for the afternoon:

748_map_of_alice_springs

I had to walk about a mile to get into town. Here’s a residential side street I passed along the way:

751_side_street_in_alice_springs

Here’s what the town itself looked like . . .

756_downtown_in_alice_springs

. . . and OH, look — there was a mall:

765_target_in_alice_springs

I headed inside (because what else was there to do?) and bought a few snacks, including this:

771_lamington

That’s a dessert called a lamington. My friend Ray Burton had recommended that I try one, and I have to say it was disappointing, although I don’t blame him. Some lamingtons are filled with cream, but as you can see, the one I got had nothing but generic sponge cake in the middle.

Several people (and websites) had warned me about Alice Springs after sundown. They said it gets pretty sketchy and that the whole town basically shuts down, and I could see what they meant, even in the mid-afternoon. Some of the “main” streets were desolate . . .

772_desolate_street_in_alice_springs

. . . but whatever. It was only 4pm, and c’mon, if I can deal with 1,000 sketchy New Yorkers per day back at home, I could certainly handle whatever Alice Springs had to offer.

Right?

I kept wandering and eventually found myself standing here:

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I didn’t realize it until I walked closer, but that hill had a path toward the top. I headed up and took the following photo (of myself!) on the way:

778_zack_looking_out_at_alice_springs

Nothing sketchy about THAT.

At the top of the hill (which is called Anzac Hill), there was a memorial . . .

779_memorial_at_the_top_of_anzac_hill

. . . but I was more interested in the natural beauty.

In the late afternoon, I headed back into the middle of Alice Springs:

783_back_on_street_level

The shadows were getting long, and suddenly everywhere I went, the locals were glaring at me:

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Yup, it was definitely time to get moving.

I found a Thai restaurant, got some food to go, and took a taxi back to my hotel.

6 Comments

The locals look a little sketchy. . . .
-Demetrius
http://thatballhawk.mlblogs.com/

They *all* looked like that. It was odd and fascinating.

Its a real shame you missed out on seeing the red desert landscapes and Ayres Rock. They are truly spectacular. You saw a lot of dessert landscapes though. Lamingtons with cream are definitely tastier. The locals you saw are Kooris and , yes , you wont get a very friendly reception from them. Natives like us are much friendlier. You`ll just have to come back for another visit to see the real outback.

Yeah, well, I messed up when booking the outback portion of my trip, but I’m happy with how it all turned out. Wait ’til you see the glorious photos in my Day 10 entry. Interesting about the Kooris. I didn’t know anything about them and was certainly wondering.

Those are the ugliest women I have ever laid eyes on and judging by the baby carriages some guy “mated” with them. I consider myself a normal red blooded male but if it came down it I would join the priesthood before I ever contemplated stooping to such desperate levels.

Big Glove AKA “The snack portion” (after viewing those pics)

Oh, Bob . . .

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