Alice Springs 22 - 25 June 2006
Went over to the roadhouse in the morning to have a look at Dinky Dingo who sings and plays the piano - not very well, but better than either of us! Quite a bit of fun!
Set off for Alice Springs and camped at the local showground. Alice was different from what we had imagined – a lot greener and more interesting then the country towns we had visited. A surprise for us came when our friend Natalie returned a message to say that she had just arrived in Alice on Friday morning after finishing her volunteer work in an Aboriginal Community School at Yuendumu 300k from Alice. We went for coffee in Todd Mall and we suddenly thought we were back in Newtown - it was good to catch up and compare cold symptoms!
Saturday was still full on cold symptoms and birthday for Heather. Although not feeling well we had a quiet but enjoyable day. Visited the Arid Botanical Gardens in the morning and had lunch at the Royal Flying Doctor Service for lunch. Bought "The Saturday (Sydney) Morning Herald" and nearly died when we realised it cost $5.70. Last one until we get back to NSW. The Weekend Australian is $3.50 if available. We also read the local papers that have lots of articles on all the Aboriginal matters. The issues here are very complex and again alcohol seems to be at the root of many problems.
Road safety advice #4 – brought to you by our sponsors ‘Al’ Ca ‘Col’. When driving in the outback do not assume the bundle of clothes on the road is a bunch of rags and run over it. Seriously we were driving around Alice when Peter encountered what he first thought was a big bundle on our side of the road that looked like a carpet that had fallen off a truck. As we got close, to avoid running it over, we moved over and slowed, only to find it was a man lying flat on his back on the road. We stopped the car and helped him on to the side. Afterwards we asked some of the locals what they would have done and they all said that it is best to leave him there and drive around him. They said some have become aggressive when aroused or their mates have come along and harassed the driver. It is very sad to see but no one seems to have any answers.
The Aboriginal culture is very strong around here – as evidenced by the use of their own language, their strong attachment to their family and community and their desire to work out their own solutions to their problems.