Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Thing Thursday: Alice Springs, Australia

A while ago, I spent a month wandering around Australia, traveling by semi-myself, but with a pack of revolving Europeans on a bus tour. The trip started in Alice Springs. I flew there from Wellington, New Zealand where it had been wet and gray and winter yuck for the past five months. I remember touching down and hopping on a bus to my hotel and peeling off my grubby cardigans and finally feeling the sun on my arms. I felt like a whole new person, ready to do some adventuring.

Me, upon first arriving in Alice Springs. Even though my sleeping arrangements included a bottom bunk and my only snack option was crunchy peanut butter, I was so happy.

Alice Springs was not a place I expected to fall head over heels for. It's hot and in the middle of nowhere and kind of small (actually, a lot like Des Moines, except it's cold here). I'm still not even sure if it was the high of solo traveling or the actual town that got me all giddy, but having traveled alone to other places before and not had the same longing to go back, I think it's safe to say that the magic was all Alice's.

One thing to do in Alice Springs? Head out of town and camp.

In case you can't tell, this is me. Sleeping outdoors. Like 100-freaking-% outdoors. On my bag of makeup.

So, not technically in the city proper of Alice Springs, but amazing. Alice Springs is near Uluru, or Ayer's Rock. Somewhere, not too far from the Rock, our tour group camped. Like really, truly camped, which I'd never done before. As an alumnae of St. Louis' answer to Troop Beverly Hills, my camping experiences all involved cabins, high-pitched bug-induced squeals and the occasional pizza delivery. When I saw the tour director hauling out G.I. sleeping bags and nothing else, I may have panicked.

But, there was really no need. I slept outside, no tent and no major bug/snake repelling cocoon needed. After our bonfire went out, it was just me and nature, man. It was unexpectedly delightful. I slept like an outdoor hippie baby and woke with the sun. I may or may not have spent the rest of the next day in the campground's pool, but I roughed it for that one night. Which is one more night than I could have said otherwise. Boundaries = stretched.

Two things in Alice Springs? Get mistaken for a Latina celeb. Yes. I, whitest of the white girls, was told I looked like Mariah Carey. Totally not true, but I was flattered.

Showing my new friend Yuki a good time, as I am apt to do (aka request Nelly from the DJ and introduce people to the joys of Flippy Cup - ah, the cultural interactions of my early 20s!). All neck, zero cares in this world. Uber-disclaimer: I'd just eaten kangaroo.

You see it, too, right? Mariah, look out please.

1 comment:

  1. I can see it! What I can't see, is me sleeping outside. I would be covered in bug bites because I am irresistible to insects!!! Nary a night goes by where I don't come in with a bite somewhere. Le sigh.


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