Sunday, 28 January 2007

Swags, Grubs, Caravans and Keithy with no Teethy!

What a week! We arrived safely in Darwin and checked into a lovely hostel with a roof top pool! We only had a one day stop over so we took a little stroll around town and down to Cullen Bay Marina.

We caught the Ghan train the next day and spent 24 hours travelling from Darwin to Alice Springs. The train journey was comfortable and the scenery was amazing. It has been a very wet summer so the Outback looked a lot greener than usual.

Alice Springs is a bizarre place! With a population of about 28,000 the town has a distinct 'redneck' feel to it! The town is full of hostels (and a few hostiles!) and is largely a base for people travelling to see Uluru and the other local landmarks.
Below is the Todd River that runs through Alice Springs. The water usually runs underneath the river bed and it is a rare sight to see water in the Todd. We also saw some Aboriginal kids playing in it!

We took a walk into the town centre to buy some lunch and shady hats and on the way we passed loads and loads of Aboriginal people sitting around on benches and street corners. Being honest, we initially found the large groups of men quite intimidating but after spending a few days learning about their culture and getting a chance to chat with 'Keithy with no Teethy' we have quickly grown to empathise with their situation. There are only 250,000 Aboriginals left in Australia and while the government seems to be working hard to make amends for past atrocities, the damage to their authentic way of life is beyond repair.

After our rock tour (pics and info to follow!) we had dinner with the tour guide who introduced us to one of his Aboriginal friends. The gumsy Keithy proudly called himself a 'first Australian' and he told some amazing tales of his own life and the difficulties he has faced. After dinner our group and Keithy went to a local bar however Keithy was refused entry because his jeans were ripped- Tom the German had no such problems with his ripped jeans. It would appear that in Alice, if not Australia, Keithy's genes continue to be a barrier to full integration.

We stayed at the Alice Lodge hostel on our first night and imagine our surprise when we were shown to one of the six 'cosy' caravans in the back garden! We also saw quite a few scary looking bugs but later discovered these were nothing compared to what we would be encountering on our 3 day rock tour!
We got picked up from our hostel at 6am and grabbed a few other people on the way. The group turned out to be really great with a couple of Irish nutters, some Germans, a couple from Korea, a Danish girl and a fellow Scot - all mixed in with an English tour guide. First stop was a camel farm at Stuarts Well where we got to ride a camel and see some kangaroos and a dingo. Then it was a stop for some tasty sandwiches before picking up another German at Ayres Rock airport. With the whole team on board we made our way to Uluru for a walk around the base in the soaring heat.The climb was closed due to temperatures being too hot! 37 degrees was far too warm for us so we didn't take too much time to stop and enjoy the view! Climbing on the sacred rock is frowned upon so this made the decision much easier although we probably would've died climbing as it's rather steep!
After walking round Uluru the guide spent some time telling us all about the Aborignal traditions and beliefs. Then we picked our spot to have dinner and watch the sunset!
After sunset we travelled to our camp site- had much needed showers then climbed into our swags(padded sleeping bags) to sleep under the stars! It may have been the heat or the fear of snakes, spiders and dingos but we didn't sleep that well and were up at 4.30am to catch the sunrise! We had breakfast and watched the sun appear behind Uluru.

The next stop was Kata Tjuta another sacred site for the Aboriginal people. Yet again the scenery was outstanding and because it was earlier in the day the walking was a lot more enjoyable. On the way to out next camping spot we stopped to collect fire wood and had a look for some bush tucker! The guide was very good and he knew his stuff but had actually never successfully found any grubs on tours that he had led. The trick was to find a group of bushes, clear away the ground from around the roots, break of the biggest looking root and snap it and look inside! Excitement and terror struck when the very first root produced a huge wriggling beasty! Irish Tom and Scottish Ryan! had said they would give it a go but both looked rather reluctant- a toss of a coin meant Tom was the 'lucky' one! The trick was to hold the head and bite the tail so that you didn't get the grubs teeth to crunch on! Yummy!

That night we camped out under the stars and ate a tasty dinner cooked on the camp fire! The trully international group were amazed by Pamela's knot trick! Thanks Josh!

Another 4am start the next day took us to King's Canyon with the best scenery so far. The walk was really nice and by this time everyone in the group was getting on really well. We stopped at an Aboriginal art gallery for lunch and then slept during the long drive back to Alice Springs. After two nights sleeping on the ground amongst lots of beasties we couldn't wait to get back to our little caravan! We had dinner with the group on Sunday night and exchanged lots of email addresses and travel tips for the rest of our time in Australia. If anyone is looking to do a tour of Uluru, 'The Rock Tour' comes highly recommended.

We caught our flight to Adelaide on Monday and arrived in the stunning Glenelg Beach that afternoon. Glenelg is a very cool little beach side town with a town square full of little cafes and shops. The highlight of this town has to be watching the sunset at the end of the pier with a Starbucks, after having eaten at Nando's!

We spent a little time in Adelaide city but actually prefer Glenelg Beach area. We have made contact with Rhona Swan's cousins and it looks like we'll be staying with them tonight!

Thanks to everyone who has been posting comments, it's great to hear from you all and we hope anyone sitting prelims recently has done well!
We have loads more photos of this leg that we will update soon!


The Vermilions said...

Okay - so I am reading this before going to bed and now I am not really hungry and I am a little itchy after reading about all the grubs and beasties and such! Hats off to you both for such an adventure - it's so exciting to be a part of your trip this way and not to have to be with the beasties! Anna loves seeing the photos daily (even its seeing the same ones over). I can't wait to tell her about the beastie Uncle Ryan almost ate when she wakes up. Love you guys!

Mum & Dad Ferrie said...

Hi There
We really did Laugh out Loud when we pictured Pamela showing the scarf trick to the folks. Pics and commentary are great, its like waiting for next episode of Home and Away, and they help us to feel part of the journey. Glad you lost the Bug eating contest!
Missing you lots, but glad you are enjoying this Great Adventure.
Lots of love

Vicki said...

Hey Pam and Ryan,

How fantastic a time are you having?!!!! I have loved looking through all your photos although I am so jealous!!! It all looks so good.

Foe me however, I have been working non-stop since last Monday beacuse we are getting HMI on the week of the 19th! How bad. So I would love to come and visit you in Oz!

When do you arrive in Melbourne? My mum and aunties leave 2 weeks tomorrow so they are excited. SO watch out for the Rae sisters!!! Have you found Cotton On yet Pam? Melbourne Central is great for shopping so make sure you make it there.

Grant is still wanting to sell our house and travel the world so you never know, we may bump into you somewhere!!!!

Glad you're having a great time. Just going now to finish my marking and planning how exciting!!!!!!!!

Hope to see more pictures soon!
Vicki xxxxxxxx

Jill said...

Hi travellers. No wonder you were up at 4.30am...can just imagine pam's face. Missing you both lots. Toby finding his feet... and his voice now he is completely dummy free!!! Showing him your photographs every day as promised. Love hearing all about your adventures. I am in agreement with angela about the beasties! Looking forward to your next post. The scarf trick is easy, don't know what all the fuss is about!!! Jillx

pauljilltoby said...

Hey pam and Ryan, missing you both, we beat sherwood today in a friendly 3-0, i scored a couple of headers for a change, toby and jill missing you both loads, really proud of you both, keep the blog going and will be in touch soon xx

Daniel Son said...

Hi Mr English... It's Haydn. I was checking out your blog and a song came into my head. It sounded rather appropriate for your your round the world treck. it goes like this (you and pamela need to sing it as you read it!)...

"One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:
And it's from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you'll be looking at along with me:

As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me traveling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you'll be telling me the way, I know:

Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me traveling along with you:

You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me traveling along with you:"

Now you can teach this to your camping buddies.

take care and don't get lost in the desert.

Susie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susie said...

Hey there Ryan (and Pamela)!
Looks like you're having a ball! All is well in the far off distant paradise of Coltness; Lisa hasn't killed any of your Int 2 class yet and James is coping well with the lack of men in the department once again. The weins are asking after you particular one diminutive flame-haired nobbler from my S2 class that we both shared a mutual love for- bet that's made your day...aye right!!! :)

Keep having fun! We're all missing you! Take care.

Liam & Jacqueline said...

So were that Krean couple from the good part or the bad part?!!

david the scienceking said...

Hi there Mr and Mrs Ferrie,
Enjoying following your adventures. Definitely better than having to watch "Home and Away." Better storylines. Hope you are enjoying every minute of not teaching, Ryan! I did Wacos and Wamo with my 3rd years today and Jamie Dallas said, "Oh yeah-that was Mr Ferrie that did that." A conversation ensued about whether you were "aw right" or "no". It turns out you're "aw right." Anyway, looking forward to reading more-take care.

bethj said...

sounds like your really are having an adventure!!! photos are great. glad the starbucks card is coming in handy! oh al scored against sherwood too! he's gutted cause it doesn't count in the league!!! can't wait for the next chapter of your story, x
p.s. I still can't do the scarf thing!!