Alice Springs (Northern Territory)

Although I spent 3 days in Alice Springs - I'm still not quite sure if I like this place or not. I can remember moments when I thought: 'this is the most horrible place you've ever been to, get out of here as soon as you can.' These were in particular when I felt hot, when only warm or hot water was running out of the tap, when I felt hot again, when the bathroom was full of cockroaches and when I felt extremely hot. It was only on my second day, standing on top of Anzac Hill and watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen, that I slowly began to understand why 28.000 people had chosen to live in Alice Springs.

Alice Springs is located in the very heart of Australia (1500 km away from the next bigger town!) and surrounded by a very beautiful mountain range (with the West MacDonnel Ranges being the most famous one). From a bird's eye view, the city (especially by night) looks absolutely gorgeous. This impression however changes rapidly as soon as you step down on the street. There is hardly anything to do and see in Alice Springs, and wasn't it for its unique location and proximity to Uluru- no one would voluntarily go there. (Most of the shops close at 5 or 6 by the way.) Someone told me that Alice Springs is the seventh most dangerous city in the world. I have no idea if it's true or not, but it definitely is impossible to walk by yourself as soon as it's gone dark. I didn't want to believe it at the beginning, but the reason are all the Aboriginal people hanging around on the streets and in shopping malls. They are extremely aggressive, permanently shouting at each other and probably very drunk as well, always on the verge of picking a fight. I needed no further convincing after a small group of them had tried to hit me and two other people with stones from behind a bush. I have no intention of making generalisations, I am pretty sure that the Aborigines in cities differ very much from those in smaller communities, but in Alice Springs we made a lot of really bad experiences. It is extremely hard to get in touch with them and consequently almost impossible to express your appreciation of their culture.

The last thing I want to suggest is I didn't enjoy my time - far from it!! I stayed at a really cool and freaky hostel with a pool and could catch up with two people from Adelaide, namely my Dutch friend and Nina from Munich with whom I had such a fun first evening (and delicious Pad Thai). We also went to the Royal Flying Doctor Museum together where we - rather unsuccessfully - tried to safely touch down a huge machine carrying a wounded patient (all on a simulator of course!). We had actually planned to do a bike tour around the city as well, but after a terribly hot 15 min ride to the Telegraph Station outside town we already had to take a one hour break in the shade. Our first destination back in town: the beer garden. (Thanks for the great (and very funny!!) time in Alice, it would have been so much more boring without you.)

After all, it's the same with Alice Springs as with any other place in the world: in the end it depends on the people you're with (and maybe on the quality of the Thai food as well).

 

22.3.08 11:31

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