Travelling – day 321/11

Pretty good nights sleep at the Alice Springs YHA. Possibly due to the fact that there may have been two bottles of wine drunk with dinner the night before, between two people. You do the math….

Got up, blah blah blah, toilet, blah blah blah shower, blah blah blah free pancake breakfast!

Note: If you put a dab of maple syrup on the plate first, it holds said free pancakes securely to your plate making it easier to scurry back to the table like you’d stolen the ring off Froddo… pancakes do that to travellers.Over free pancakes we laughed at the signs up at the YHA asking for anyone interested in being in YHA’s new photo’s for their advertising. You needed to be between 18-30….ummm nope. Photogenic……ummm nope. Turns out YHA only want photos of young good looking people not slightly older, chubby transgender females, their lesbo wife and a third wheel hobbit.

While laughing, but slightly sad that we aren’t young and gorgeous, the lady next to us said that she actually works for YHA and is running the photo shoot. Whoops, had just finished mercilessly taking the piss out of their photo shoot! We started chatting further and she said the age thing was just to stop old people her age from being a part of their advertising because they are too old and not their target clientele. This piqued my interest, how old was she? 48… How old am I? 45….. Insert the breaking of my heart, 45, chubby and irrelevant. Kill me now. Well on that note it was time to move on, quickly, so with full bellies and bags packed we made our way to the greyhound bus terminal to catch our coach to the beautiful town of Coober Pedy on what would be a fairly long travel day.
We’re on a road to no where….September 1985. David Byrne/Talking Heads
That’s exactly what it felt like, hour after hour of red earth and scrub vegetation.

 I spent the first couple of hours finishing off The Inbetweeners 2 movie and searching for the elusive big red kangaroo mobs of the outback. Still no luck. 

We did a quick drive through the Erldunda roadhouse to check for passengers and then it was back to assuming the position of staring out at the vast desolate outback landscape in search of those bloody kangaroos. I don’t think there are any. I’ve seen dingoes, cows, donkeys, camels, eagles and all manor of bird life but no Roos! What the locals should do is just put some timber cutouts in amongst the bushes so the tourists at least think that they see them, tell their friends and then more tourists will visit. You’re welcome Northern Territory Tourism!We arrived at Kulgera Roadhouse which was our lunch break from 1.30 to 2pm. Thank god they had coffee. I made Katherine, Jayne and a Dutch guy eat their apples so they didn’t take fruit across the border into South Australia as it’s illegal and contributes to the spread of fruit fly. Back on the bus and off we went again. There’s plenty of room on the bus, only Katherine, Jayne and myself, the Dutch guy and a couple of local indigenous people with their kids. Nice and relaxed.

The bit I love about travelling is that you never know who you will meet. The Dutch guy works for a swiss company that develops software and they sold it to a refrigerated transport company in Sydney so he was here to trouble shoot then do a little travelling before going back home. Patrick the bus driver was from Tasmania and after working up here for 15 years was moving home to Tassie.

We made it to the Sth Australian border at about 2.30pm of which has a sturts desert pea on the border crossing sign. I made Jayne take a photo of one of these a few days back so she can insert that here…

With the Greyhounds free wifi barely working, I started listening to the songs on my phone (I have a serious collection of 60’s and 70’s country music) Jayne was doing something computerish and Katherine was watching Everest (the movie) just filling in time until our 6.30pm arrival into Coober Pedy. 

Coober Pedy, a town of mystery, I’ve been told by 3 people that they felt unsafe here and about the same amount saying they have the best food…weird! What I do know is that the town is sometimes referred to as the “opal capital of the world” because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground residences, called “dugouts”, which are built in this fashion due to the scorching daytime heat. The name “Coober Pedy” comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means boy and hole.

I then watched Everest (the movie) after Katherine to see what all the fuss was about, turns out not much. What I did learn is that some people who climb Everest (the mountain) are idiots who only think of themselves and don’t care that they are putting other people’s lives in danger. I also learnt that some movies go too long and that Kiera Knightly cannot do a New Zealand accent and sounded like Meryl Streep saying “a dingo ate my baby” in Evil Angels (also based on a true story).

Anyway, back to reality, one hour left to Coober Pedy, dusk was upon us and this is meant to be wildlife time where they are on the move but still no bloody kangaroos!!!

So we arrived in town right on time and walked to our accommodation with Dutch guy who was staying at the same place. 

What can I say about the Radeka Downunder…. Originally an Opal Mine from the 1960s, it was converted in the mid-1980s to a unique underground accommodation that is tunnelled out of the Sandstone surrounds.

The rooms range from 3.5m under a sandstone ridge to Rooms & Dorms that are 6.5 metres underground. 60% of those who live in Coober Pedy live underground to avoid the heat of summer. If it is 45°c outside, underground it is 26°c – 28°c. And when winter nights can be close to zero°, underground it is 20°c – 22°c. We stayed in a dorm 6.5 metres underground and after the initial fear of spiders, fire, earthquake and vampires we settled in pretty well!We headed out to John’s Pizza Place for dinner with the Dutch guy. It was the happening place to be with several people of all walks of life. We went back to Radeka and watched one of the movies said to be filmed in the area. It was the critically not acclaimed movie “Kangaroo Jack”. Well, it was never going to win any awards but it provided a good way to wind down before bed. 

We parted ways with Dutch guy and headed for our dorm in the depths of earth…..

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

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