Trip Start Mar 14, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, November 26, 2007

It was over a thousand kilometers to Alice Springs, the town in the middle of the outback essentially and the launching point to Uluru and the other sites out this way.  The town sits at a small pass in a large mountain range that rises impressively out of the flat, sparsely vegetated land around it.  Oh yeah, on the way, we stopped at the Devil's Marbels, cool rock formations you can check out in the pictures.  We set up camp right next to the pass, so the first thing I did was climb the nearby mountain to get a good look of the town and to see the sunset.  The hills happened to be inhabited by rock wallabies.  It was funny whenever I walked up on one as we would both freeze and study each other before the marsupial decided to hop away - it's amazing how they can jump across a cliff face without falling off, like watching a Warner Bros. cartoon.  The climb was fun, the view was cool, and the sunset was the sunset.

When I climbed back down, I set up my tent.  The others decided they wanted to go out to dinner since it was supposed to be our last night with the Dutch girls (they were going to stick around town to wait for some friends before moving on).  I went along and ended up having a camel pie for dinner - pretty tasty.  You know what, they have palm trees, and camels, and dingos, and white people everywhere here but I can't bring a cake or dirty shoes into the country...

I spent the next day walking around the town.  Found an awesome opal shop.  I didn't even know what an opal was - apparently it's Australia's national stone or something of the sort.  It's a pretty sweet gem.  The owner was an amazing guy.  He gave me a rundown on opals and even let me have a small (albeit worthless) piece.  I did some food shopping and checked out the botanic garden.  Now, you might think a botanic garden would be lame in the desert, but it was actually pretty cool.  I learned that Australia's green and gold sports colors come from their national flower, the wattle.  I also saw a bower.  If you don't know what a bower is, you should - they're awesome. 

Now, we were supposed to leave the next morning for Uluru, but I was told that night while making dinner that Sam and his girlfriend wanted to stay another night.  So, I took the opportunity to go make twenty bucks playing blackjack at the casino.  I think I just lounged around the next day.  That night was when Sam basically told me he wanted me to try to find another ride to Uluru and beyond.  You see, it was pretty clear that the two of us just weren't interested in the same things, and I may not have been able to disguise the fact that I basically just didn't like him as well I would have liked - things like that just kind of show I think. 

So, I spent the next day walking around to all the backpacker places around town putting up notices in search of a ride.  That night, I went in to town to check out the night market.  It was fun, and I had a local mango smoothie that was delicious (even if it was cringe-ingly expensive compared to those in Asia).  I then moved on to the no limit game at the casino.  I busted out when the guy next to me hit his draw on the river.  Fortunately, I bought back into the cash game and managed to win enough to stay even for my time in Alice Springs, which was okay since gas, food, and accomodation weren't costing too much. 

The next morning, Sam decided he would leave for Uluru.  Since no one had called with another ride for me and he had offered to take me all the way to Adelaide when we started, I was able to stick with them.  But, we wouldn't be seeing the Olgas or King's Canyon, other Outback attractions.  Most likely, only a fool would have gotten back into that car, but I can put up with a lot and I really wanted to get moving again - so that's exactly what I did. 
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