Alice Springs, a place I had heard about. But I had to see the place to believe the stories I'd heard. I was told about the Aboriginal people that would be hanging around the streets day in day out, and the dangers that went with it. I didn't believe it, until we rocked up in town, at around 8 o clock at night, stopped at a service station and asked the cashier working there, if it was safe for us to park there for the night. He was shocked that we would even consider staying there.. "You'd better be careful for break-ins, by the aboriginals.., it's far too dangerous". This came from a local man, of around 50 years old. So that's saying something. Having heard this, obviously got us totally paranoid. But we didn't have a choice, couldn't keep on driving because of the kangaroos on the roads so had to stay overnight in this crazy town. We found a truckstop, which was our safest bet. The minute we got there, there was a guy named Geoff wanting to park beside us. I had visions of him being a serial killer and Jason was convinced he was gay.. Humm.. He turned out to be just an older man, who felt it would be safer to park near other travelers, seeing as though we were in such a crazy and dangerous town. Poor Geoff, we both felt bad for having thought he was up to no-good.
The next day (I think it was Tuesday) we were doing our shopping and stuff around town, and I've never felt so intimidated in my life, by the gangs of Aboriginals just hanging around. All they do is sit and look and sit and look, with evil eyes. It was the strangest feeling. It didn't bother Jason at all, but it did bother me. At one stage I felt so uneasy with just being in that town centre that I was willing to walk off, and leave. It was the weirdest feeling. My reaction to this primitive race of people, kind of threw me. Mainly because I wanted to be open to their culture and I didn't want to judge them. I wanted to feel comfortable but I just couldn't. I think it was just unexpected and I could have been slightly overwhelmed. It was the first time for me to see how they live their everyday lives, so that might have played a role too.
But we did leave Alice Springs on a high, and were ready for whatever was to happen next. The more north we headed, the warmer it started to get. Our spirits were high, but that night I couldn't help still feeling slightly paranoid of our vulnerability as we slept on the side of the road, north of Alice Springs. And sure enough, after falling asleep listening to the dingoes howling off in the distance, I woke up blinded by the lights of a car of some sort that had stopped. The headlights seemed to be shining into the van. I woke Jason up, not knowing what the hell was happening or what the time was. He just said that they are doing the exact same as us.. Just looking for a place to park for the night to get some sleep. But later he told me that he was petrified too..but hid it well just to keep me at ease.. It could have been anybody. I personally had visions of Aboriginal gangs breaking in to the van and taking us, for whatever reason there may be. I think Jason thought the same. Just as well I didn't know that at the time. The lights faded after a few minutes and we reckon they drove off again. Thankfully..
Wednesday and Thursday were big driving days. We just kept on going, heading more and more north, towards the warmer weather. Each day we could notice the difference in the temperature. Especially at night. We went from not being able to cook outside, to being able to cook, sit, drink and stargaze until bedtime. The scenery was ever changing and still managed to take my breath away, no matter how much nothingness there was. It was still beautiful.
Wednesday could have been another day to freak me out. But I didn't realize until afterwards. In the morning we stopped at a town, it was actually just a roadhouse, called Barrow Creek. We stopped for a shower and to fuel up, we chatted to the owners and went on our way again, pretty excited and happy. Little did I know that we were passing through the region of Australia that is known for the murder of a backpacker some years ago (I think it was in the nineties). The backpacker Peter Falconio (British) was traveling through Barrow Creek with his girlfriend in a van and were stopped by a guy. Peter got out, and walked to the back of the van and was shot dead. His girlfriend was kidnapped. She was able to escape but Peters body was never found. This story is one of the most familiar amongst the backpackers. When I was here 2 years ago, I remember reading the book and remember not being able to fathom why anybody would consider going anywhere near Barrow Creek. We passed through there without even being aware what that region was famous for. That was a freaky thought. Especially when I realized that the owners we had been talking to, were the ones to help Peters girlfriend once she escaped the kidnappers.. What a small small and oh so scary world this can be.
That Wednesday was an amazing day though. We seen so many different things, from poisioness snakes on the side of the road, to touristy sights, to dead straight roads unfolding before our eyes for hours on end. We camped just before the Northern Territory - Queensland boarder. We had a campfire at night and in the morning. From this night onwards I was finally feeling safer sleeping anywhere and everywhere. I had to put any paranoid feelings I had of what could happen, behind me. Because the first full week, I never slept.. I don't know how I was living. It was more than likely on adrenaline, because it wasn't on my normal energy levels. And it's only normal for this to start taking it's toll on me. But not anymore!!
The next day was one to be just as awesome as the one before. We crossed the boarder and it was Jasons first time to be in Queensland. We were so excited by everything. We made a few stops in different towns, just to refuel and stock up again on food. Mount Isa was one of them, the Cloncurry. From there we decided to be a little bit more adventurous and turn off the highway, taking a minor detour, heading up towards the Gulf of Carpentaria. Unknown territory for both of us. Isolation and remoteness were what we wanted. And that's exactly what we got..
That night, we had the best camping spot ever. It was just by the side of the road. But it was the tranquility and silence of it all, that made it so appealing. We wouldn't have been able to lie on a mainroad, in the dark gazing up at the stars and the full moon for as long as we wanted, without fearing a car would come past anywhere else, but there. It was so quiet that any cars or roadtrains that would pass, we'd hear coming for miles. It was such a trippy thing, but absolutely out of this world.. Another day and experience that won't be soon forgotten.
So many experiences in such a short space of time.. Amazing!