Friday, July 24, 2009

5 days too long in Alice

So, after our tour, and our interesting night out at Bojangles and the casino, I had to check out at 10am as I needed to change dorm rooms and Brid and Gethin where leaving on the train back to Alice Springs. I had full intentions of being on that train, however my terrific non-organizational skills proved to impress me as when I went to book my seat, they where all sold out. Lovely. Now that meant I had to spend an extra 5 days in Alice Springs, all alone. I spent the day with Brid and Gethin as their train didn't leave till 6pm, so we went into town in the morning and got some free didgeridoo lessons from a cool didg player. It was really helpful as I want to learn how to play and I got some very helpful tips. The rest of the day was spent at the hostel trying to soak up as much sun as possible :)
This was a Thursday and my train did not leave till Monday which meant 4 more long days on my awn in a place I didn't really want to be Now, I have to be honest, I was pretty lazy during these 4 days on my own. I went into town a couple days, just wondering around, getting groceries, but as soon as the sun went down, I was in lock down at the hostel. I met a guy from Vancouver who was trying to get work in Alice, however a couple days prior to he was playing soccer and rolled his ankle bad, so he was pretty much just hanging out at the hostel as well. Saturday night I went into town and had bought tickets to see the guy who gave us the didgeridoo lessons who put on a show every weekend. He had a small band with a drummer and a percussionist who where all spectacular. The show was amazing, despite there where 60 some odd 16 year old's at the show and the rest of the guests got shafted having to sitting off the side. Oh well, it was still amazing and he got the crowd involved with the show which was pretty cool as well. After the show, it was dark out of course, so I jumped in a cab and went back to the hostel. The finals of the Wimbledon where on, so I stayed up to watch the women's final, Serena vs. Venus, but I didn't last the whole match as I was pretty tired, and am not a huge fan of women's tennis, so went to bed.
Sunday I became a bit more active and hired a bicycle for a couple hours and toured around Alice. I rode out to telegraph hill, however I did not ride up to Anzac hill, I think I would have had a heart attack. I also figured it would be a good idea to ride a bike as I was pretty sure I was going to be buying a bike when I arrived in Darwin in order to get to/from work. That night was the men's final at Wimbledon, which I stayed up to watch, and am so glad I did. 4 hours and 15 minutes later, the match ended, 0300 my time. It was one of the greatest tennis matches I had seen, apart from Nadal/Verdasco semi's at the Australian open! The final score was Federer/Roddick 5/7; 7/6; 7/6; 3/6; 16/14!!!! I didn't think the match would ever end and it got to the point where if the match didn't end by 3, I was going to have to go to bed! But alas, Federer FINALLY broke Roddick, in a`duece, for the first only time of the whole game. Any non-tennis fans out there will have no idea what I am talking about, but trust me, it was intense!!!!
Oh yeah, and let me emphasize how cold it got. Remember I said all we got was a sheet to sleep with, well, I never got anything warmer and at night time was practically sleeping in all my clothes! While relaxing in the TV room in the evenings I had all my warm clothes (and I didn't have that many, I'm in Australia!!) on as there is no such things as central heating and the fireplace wasn't working. Not much to keep you warm when the temp gets as low as 4 or 5, which is what is was dropping to when I was there. At night time I put a toque on as well as my hoody wrapped tightly around my face, my sweatpants and two pairs of socks. I was smart enough to think on the last night, of course, to use my water bottle and put hot water in it and I kept it at my feet. That night was probably my best night sleep and I wished I had thought of it earlier! Oh well.

I had to get up the next day and check out by 10am, and lets just say, I was a wee bit tired as I couldn't fall asleep right away after the exciting tennis match. I packed up all my stuff and stayed at the hostel that day waiting to catch the train back to Darwin. I met two other girls that where also taking the train that where staying at my hostel, so we split a cab 3 ways, much cheaper then me having to pay for one. I also met a guy, Adam, who had cycled his way from Darwin and was taking the train back. I was talking to him about where a good place to get a bike was as well as accessories. We talked a while about it and he asked if I needed a hand getting a bike as he had a 'yut' (truck) and could assist me if needed. As it turned out my roommate Zoe who had a van was working the next day and wasn't going to be able to help me, so he was kind enough to take me around a get a bike - but that story is for later.

We boarded the train and I luckily had a window seat, a first for me. I didn't take a Benadryl that night as I didn't want to feel like a zombie the next day, and consequently I didn't have the greatest sleep. Tossed and turned, if that is possible in a seat. Most of the night I slept with my head on the table tray that dropped down from the seat in front of me, this was also a first, none of the other trains had this. The next day we arrived in Katherine at about 9am, I opted to take the shuttle into town in this time as when we came through on the tour I found Spiced Rum at the liquor store and wanted to stock up on it! BUT, when we arrived, the liquor store was closed and they didn't open till 12noon, and the last shuttle back to the train was at 1145. What a waste of $13 :(

So I just walked around Katherine with the two girls I took the taxi with - they where actually sitting behind me on the train as well. We had a coffee at the local coffee shop and just chilled in Katherine - trust me, there is not much to do in this town. Apart from watching the drunks fight and argue on the street, which we saw. We boarded back on the train and left at 1300, arriving back in lovely, and warm, Darwin around 1700. The train was interesting, I loved watching the world go by, but I think I am done with trains for a while now. Zoe came and picked me up, I exchanged numbers with Adam, the cyclist, and we where off to my new home for three months in Darwin!!

Sorry, not many photos taken, I wasn't all that impressed with Alice so had to desire to snap away :)

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