Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Alice

Day one of my trip to Alice Springs, the Red Centre of Australia.

Getting up at 4am is not my idea of fun, but it does mean cheaper airfares and more time on the ground exploring. There are no direct flights to Alice Springs so the first leg was Sydney to Melbourne. I flew with QANTAS which meant that breakfast was included. I like to eat regularly so breakfast part 2 was vital. They served Greek yoghurt with muesli. I had never eaten this before, but it was offered and I was hungry so I ate and enjoyed it, despite being slightly cramped by the large fellow sitting next to me. 

After a half hour wait, I boarded another plane bound for The Alice. The benefits of flying QANTAS, as opposed to the budget carriers who usually transport me around the country, were soon manifest. A nice exotic brunch and a movie, Eddie the Eagle. Both were great and when the movie finished, having been interrupted only once by the captain who directed our attention to the mighty Lake Eyre, we began our descent.

Both landings caused me intense pain in my sinuses; the descent to Alice Springs actually made my nose bleed. On the ground, I booked a bus to my hotel and smoked a cigarette while chatting to a local who had just returned from a trip to Hobart.

The sky was a cloudless azure, but it was surprisingly chilly: 14 degrees in the middle of the day with a fresh breeze. My beanie was on my head when outdoors for the rest of the day.

After checking in at Lasseter's hotel, I went to my room and attempted a nap, before heading into town to have a look around. I walked, and walked, and walked: a couple of hours, taking photos, checking out this famous small country town in the middle of Australia.

From Todd Mall I strolled to Billy Goat Hill which the guy at the information centre told me was a lookout. It's actually an Aboriginal sacred site so I just looked at it, rather than climbing it like I wanted to, before moving on to Royal Flying Doctor Service tourist facility and Alice Springs base. Started by the Reverend John Flynn, this remarkable organisation services some 280 000 patients annually and covers around 80% of Australia.

I walked back to the hotel with some help from a local who initially seemed so surprised that I talked to him, he forgot where he was. On my journey I crossed the famous Todd River which usually has no water in it, and where despite it being a dry bed, a annual regatta is held.

In the evening I watched a couple of rugby league games on Fox, ordered dinner which took an hour plus another five minutes after I called to see what was taking so long. When it arrived, it was cold and not even what I ordered. Forty five minutes later I finally received my order which unsurprisingly was gratis.

Some time around nine o'clock, I fell asleep on the bed watching TV, woke up at 9:20, brushed my teeth, and went to bed, for a very, very good night's sleep.

It's 9 degrees and sunny as I write. Ten minutes to ten and it's time to do some more exploring.

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