Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Arrival in Alice

I flew into Alice Springs this morning, with the clock jumping back an hour and a half (it's like an alternative universe between two realities). I wasn't sure what to expect. Old Spaghetti Western film set? Two shacks in a deserted valley? Bustling town with no hints that it's hidden away in the outback? 

It's actually just a normal village. Traversable in 20 minutes, it's made up of just a few main roads, but with supermarkets, KFC, McDonald's, Subway... Everything you need to survive in Australia. 

But boy is it hot. Like, seriously. The mercury hit 40C today, and is meant to stay this way for the whole time I'm here. The water in the bottom of the toilets is hot. Everything is hot! 

The sun is intense, but I love the dry heat. There's not a lick of humidity in the hot desert wind. My lips may not thank me, but I'm enjoying it. Which is not to say I went out in it for very long. I don't hate my skin. 

I'm booked onto The Rock Tour on Thursday-Friday where I'll take in Ayres Rock, Kata Tjuta and the surroundings, but Kings Canyon's main walk is closed because temperatures are above 36C. 

I had a bit of an issue with The Rock Tour, because originally I booked a three-day tour leaving tomorrow. Two days ago they rang me and said that nobody else was doing that itinerary so they'd have to move things around. So I'm doing a day trip to the Ranges tomorrow, instead of doing day one of three, and then leaving for a two-day tour the following day. But they gave me good customer service throughout trying to sort everything out, and I still get to see the main events - sunset and sunrise over Uluru. 

It better be worth it! All told, I've spent over £500 on coming out here, as it's not really on my way to anywhere. But it was on my list of Oz highlights, and camping in a swag under the stars will be an experience too. 

Being in the desert again reminds me of northern Chile, but Alice feels more civilised, and surprisingly less touristy. And speaking of touristy, the sun is going down and I want to walk up the one and only hill to catch sunset. Will update on my outback adventures soon! 

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