I went to Mars and back

Trip Start Jul 14, 2002
Trip End Dec 17, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Sunday, October 15, 2006

The day we left Uluru I bumped into someone from the year below me a school, which was very weird. Then there was a 7 hour bus journey to Coober Pedy, spotting some wildlife on the way. We also stopped at the Northern Territory-South Australia border. On arrival into Coober Pedy we could see a huge red desert with mounds of earth on it from the opal mines, making it look like the surface of mars. The people here live underground because it is so hot - up to 55 degrees C in summer. We looked round an underground house and an Opal mine 17m deep. Some of the big opal are worth millions of dollars. We took a town tour, seeing a huge patch of dust (the football pitch), a huge patch of dust (the drive in cinema), and a mound of earth (the church). All very weird. We then went noodling (looking for opals) and found none, before going to an underground pub.
The next day was a day on the bus, with a break only to look at a salt lake. This was a lake where all the water had evaporated, leaving a salt crust. It looked like snow, sounded like snow, but tasted like salt, as I found out when I ate some! We also stopped in the Fliners Ranges above Adelaide. If anyone has seen the film Wolf Creek (I haven't as it is a horror film about backpackers in Oz that get murdered) then the front cover photo of the DVD was taken in the very place we stopped (very exciting!). It was nice to be in the mountains again after 2000km of dead straight road. Plus the temperature down here is much more manageable, and I was even slightly cold. That night a Chinese couple on the bus taught me some Chinese and invited me to stay with them in Kong Kong.
It was time to climb a mountain as the next day we went to Wilpena Pound to climb Mount Ohlssen-Bagge, which took 3 hours. I managed to lose the rest of the group at the top (it is covered in forest and the pathway suddenly vanished) so I had to climb up again and try again, so I took about 30 mins more than everyone else. There were some great views over the mountains from the top though. I taught the Korean couple and the Chinese couple some English expressions and they seemed very grateful and kept saying I was lovely. Hmmm... On the way to Parachilna we saw emus with chicks crossing the road (very cute) and lots of kangaroos. Parachilna is where they filmed some of Rabbit Proof Fence (a very good film about Aboriginals) and has an enormous population of 7. We watched the red sunset over the railway line, where one train passes per day and then spent the night playing Chinese games (lots of fun). We also discovered that the Korean couple got engaged on top of Uluru so we had a big party for them. I managed to get invited to the wedding but I don't think I can afford to go to Korea!
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