Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The past few days.

I decided to leave Alice on the ground. Once they have you there, they crank up the flight prices so that when you're desperate to leave the desert they can take all your money. I decided I would pay half price and take two buses and a train to the coast. I would have to make a couple stops, but I don't mind seeing the small towns too.

So, my two new danish friends dropped me off at the bus on Saturday night. They hugged me good-bye and promised to write. Hopefully I'll catch up with Kasper in the south-east. We were the only three left from our tour group and it was sad to leave. The bus dropped me off in a tiny little town called Tennent Creek at 2:00 am. The owner from the hostel was there to pick me and a few other backpackers up. We headed back to the hostel and went directly to bed. The next day was a hot, dry one. I did my laundry and by the time I was finished hanging it on the line the first items were already dry. I spent the afternoon listing to the AFL final on the radio with a guy from the Torres Strait. He was not so interested in the game, but I was. The Geelong Cats won a thriller with a free kick in the last six seconds. I also met four boys who were flying across the country in a little plane. They had just completed pilot school and wanted to get some practice so that they could find employment. One was nice, one was the instructor, and the other two were morons. They were heading out to a small town on the east coast the next day.

That night, we got a lift back to the Greyhound and headed off to Mt. Isa. The Greyhounds here are huge and new and very nice to ride around in, but I wasn't really excited to spend the second night in a row on one. Anyway, I arrived in the Isa at 6:00 am and walked about 400 m to the next hostel. There's a saying around here that "you're not a real Aussie till you've been to the Isa." I think they will say anything for a few tourism dollars because there is absolutely nothing to do or see in the Isa. It is sort of an interesting place however. With a population around 23,000 it is one of the biggest towns in the entire world. It covers are area the size of Switzerland and the main street is 180 km long. Yeah. Unreasonable. I wish you could all see how barren this place is. It takes two hours to drive from one end to the other! At least. And, since I was there on a Sunday, nothing was open. Except for Cold Rock Ice Creamery. This place is fantastic. It's a bit of a chain and they have really delicious ice cream flavours which they will mix up and add things into. I had Aussie vanilla with a Tim Tam chopped in. So tasty.

This is me with my ice cream, a palm tree, and a skinny little magpie that you probably can't see. Magpies are much smaller here than they are on the west coast.

I only spent one day in the Isa, but I had a really fun night. The four pilots turned up at the hostel. Their plane had leaked fuel so they had to make an early landing. They said they should have given me a lift. I told them my mom wouldn't have liked that especially since they had to make an emergency landing (and I would not have flown with the morons anyway). There were a lot of other interesting people at the hostel too, though. The son of the hostel owners was really nice. He is coming to Canada in January to start a two-year work visa so we had a lot to talk about. Also, my roommate was an Estonian guy who has been backpacking across Australia. He was really proud to show me his Canadian hammock he's been sleeping in and he cooked me dinner. We talked about knitting. he said Christmas is never a surprise for him because he knows he's going to get mitts, scarves, and sweaters. We stayed up and chatted with a Swedish couple he had caught a ride with. They were thrilled to meet someone who knew about the Oland Islands (alvars are there) because that was where the girl grew up.

The next day I caught the Overlander Train at 1:30 pm. It brought me into Townsville 22 hours later. The ride was okay, but the landscape hardly changed at all. This was my view. All of the little bumps are termite hills (I'm guessing). I also saw some huge red kangaroos, which was really exciting.

I need to go find some dinner, but you might hear from me in the next few days. The internet here is pretty great, but I have a lot to see and do! :)


  1. wow, travelling across the outback by bus! You're crazy... hope you see some cool stuff. I totally had icecream from that place only in Sydney! I thought it was the coolest too.. I don't remember what kind of icecream I had in mine but I had violet crumble mashed in!!

  2. I know! Crazy. At least the buses in the outback are huge monsters and hardly anyone does it so I had a lot of room to spread out. I actually really loved the train ride too. Today I went to the museum and one of their exhibits is all about the history of rail in Australia and I'm sort of thrilled that I had a chance to take one of their runs from beginning to end.