Saturday, June 30, 2007

Alice Springs

Made it to Alice .... just!!!!!!!! Flippin heck, what an embarrassment I did myself...

I blame the lack of sleep. I was in a 6 bed room in the hostel. Someone started making noise about 3am and the noise continued until 4.30am. I thought that half the room had early departures. Turned out when it got lighter it was only one, who needed to learn some basic hostel courtesy, like pack most of your bag the night before, and the rest outside the room if you want to get up that early! As quiet decended at 4.30am I was wide awake with my two hour dose of jet lag.

I only say all that to explain what happened at the airport. I was there in oodles of time. Found the departure lounge in ample time and was sitting there relaxing. Time for our flight call came and went and I was wondering why they hadn't started boarding us, or explaining the delay. Next, my name booms over the public address, to go to the counter..... noone was attending the counter...... uhhhhohhhhhhh. I am in the wrong lounge!!! Ran to the adjoining one. Ran onto the plane, very last one on, plus had to walk all the way to nearly the very back!!!!!Must have looked a bit frazzled and the hostess gave me a bottle of water.

Anyhow, settled into my window seat. Sunny in Sydney but cloud as we left it behind. Caught just the merest glimpse of the Blue Mountains. (Hi Simon!) But as we hit more of the outback, we emerged into brilliant sunshine. What a treat the journey turned into. The patterns of grey, red, riverbeds etc was truly amazing. Plus you could tell there had been a lot of rain. Puddles and lakes and rivers with water in them abounded. I was truly amazed!

Everyone seemed excited to be landing in Alice... the landscapes are a different world. I look forward to exploring them over the coming days.
Just had one sour note in Alice. Was assigned a YHA hostel bed on top... tall bunk... no ladder. I asked for a change... was told it was not possible... had to get shirty and say I could not climb into assigned bunk. Am now on the bottom. And there is an early start tomorrow!!!
However, the rest of Alice has been wonderful. Sunshine. Went walking along beside the dry Todd River. Took a photo of some galahs on the ground for maalie. (Not very good photo though.) Lots of other birds but I don't know what they are. Am surprised to see birds in the desert.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Arrived in Sydney

Have arrived safely in Sydney and am now coping with japanese or something in the blogger headings.... of course can't read it to work out where to change the language!

Was afraid I wasn't going to get here. We were late leaving Palmie, then it took 20 minutes at the domestic terminal in Auckland for them to move the luggage 100m from our plane to the luggage carousel... by the time I checked in in Auckland they had to ring to get me a standy by seat number, and maybe I only got that because I was flying onto Alice on Saturday morning... the plane was certainly chocker full.

It is 12 degrees in Sydney this evening which feels positively tropical after 8 degree days at home. The bad weather here has headed over to NZ now and we passed some bits on the plane. Strong headwinds delayed us getting into Sydney too.

It was a very quick train trip into town and then across the street to the Central YHA where I will sleep the night and head to the domestic airport earlyish.
Not sure if you will get many progress reports en route.... internet very expensive in the Outback from all accounts!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rain in Alice!

Images of red desert come to mind, not images of rain. But for the second time in a week I have seen "rain" reported on the forecast for Alice Springs. I thought I was escaping rain at least, if not the cold. Guess I have to pack my raincoat after all!!!