Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hanging out in Alice

I've been getting emails asking where the hell I am since I haven't updated the blog recently. Not much has happened because a few days after I arrived in Australia on September 5th, Roger headed into camp -- and he's still there.

However, there are always moments worth capturing, so I took a few photos to give you a peek into Alice Springs, and what I've been up to:

Here are two maps showing the exact same locations.  According to the GPS, the Todd River runs through town, but Google Earth shows the reality of a dry river bed.

Our apartment is the round blue circle on the west side of the "river".

Apparently the river does flood at times, and you are not a true Alice inhabitant unless you've witnessed it.  Our apartment is the blue dot on the west side of the river.
It is early spring in Alice, and already temps are nearing 40C
Jenna Stratford, the daughter-in law of our friends Wendy and Craig, is a coach/player for a woman's netball team.  I watched with pride as her team won the championship under her leadership which was evident on and off the court.
Jenna and Jake's 16 month old daughter, Chloe watched from the sidelines.
The game was played under the blazing sun with temps in the mid 30s

I look forward to attending aquasize classes three times a week.  The instructors make it fun, I get a good workout, and there is a great group of people to flap around in the pool with.  Two women I've become friends with have made the classes even more enjoyable.  Our backgrounds are as diverse as they come:  Jane is a federal police officer, and Mary is a nun with the Sisters of Mercy.  Over a bottle of wine at lunch at my place last week, we got to know each other better and swapped stories.

Jane in the middle, Mary on the right
Jane and I took an advanced class this weekend and during a particularly challenging exercise, Jane chastised me by saying, "Quit laughing so hard, Heather --- Lisa (the instructor) is going to think we're enjoying this!"

Aussies are crazy for their sports, and this weekend the Grey Cup of Aussie Rules Football was played.  I could hear cheering, and jeering from a nearby sports club and watched most of the game in our apartment.

I met up with Jane today to walk down the Todd Mall which runs a market twice a month.  Arts and crafts, food, books, etc are all for sale and there is a great vibe in the air.
Todd Mall market
Aboriginals selling their artwork under a beautiful jacaranda tree in bloom.
The building on the left is Adelaide House, the first hospital in Alice Springs; built in 1926.
On October 14th, Roger and I will rendezvous in Cairns on the east coast and explore Queensland for 10 days.  We'll spend most of the time in Port Douglas, just north of Cairns, and will definitely do a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  After five weeks of battling heat and flies, it will be just what Roger needs.

We've also started checking out shark cage expeditions off Port Lincoln in SE Australia -- maybe that will be our next getaway!  Eleanor Roosevelt said everyone should do one thing that frightens them everyday -- I think being face to face with a great white should cover my quota for a good long while.

Whenever I start to feel bored or lonely being on my own, I give myself a head shake and remind myself that I am in a safe country, where I can walk freely in beautiful weather (o.k., it's pretty hot), I can exercise, have become friends with a couple of terrific women, and have access to clean tap water and excellent grocery stores -- something that seven years ago I took for granted but now I dearly value.  And a a flashback to my first summer of "exile" in Mauritius and Madagascar in 2007 makes any day a good one.

To those who Skype, email, send messages on Facebook, and play online Scrabble/Words with Friends with me --- thank you.  Each time you reach out makes my day.  Fair dinkum.

"You'll never find a rainbow if you are looking down."  
                                                                          Charlie Chaplin

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