31 May 1999

Rain on Four-Mile Beach

Another lazy day.  We walked up the beach into town, in the early morning sun.  The beach was covered with intersecting starburst patterns of sand pebbles.  When sand crabs dig out their homes in the sand, they push a sand pellet out from the hole, each time varying the direction.  They leave corridors open through which they travel.  Whenever people walk by, they skitter back in.

We ate breakfast at the Mango Jam Cafe, a bright orange building located on Macrossan Street.  We sat at a table out near the sidewalk, but a sudden cloudburst forced us to change tables to their enclosed porch.  I had pancakes with sausage and hash browns, and Daria had a croissant with ham and hash browns.  These hasbrowns consisted of coarsely grated potatoes with seasonings and had the shape of a large brick; they were hearty and delicious.  Also of note was the fresh orange juice: frothy, with plenty of pulp.

The rain soon stopped - short storms happen all the time, according to the waiter.  We bought some supplies and returned to the beach.  Street cleaners had closed off the boulevard to the buses, so we decided walking was better.  On the hike back to the hotel, we worried that we would get caught in another downpour, but we were lucky.


  • The outback, viewed from a plane
  • We checked out of the hotel and wrote postcards while waiting for the shuttle bus.  We mailed some of these at the hotel, others at the airport.  The waiting area for the flights was a brightly decorated circular arrangement of tables and seats, with shops and restaurants around the rim.  We enjoyed an Asian meal, and I had some more boysenberry ice cream.  The gates wouldn't allow access until the planes were boarding.  When we walked through the gate, we ended up out on the tarmac.  Our plane was small, yet they served us plenty of food.  Out the window, we watched the terrain change from lush green rainforest to red, arid desert.


    Arriving at Alice Springs

    At the Alice Springs airport, we were greeted by the driver of the shuttle bus that would take us to the Desert Palms Resort.  According to the sign she held, they mistakenly had us down as two separate parties: "Tobin" and "Bergenhill".  Soon, we were at our hotel.  Each room was its own cabin, but with no windows.

    We found the way into town by following the directions given to us by the hotel clerk.  We soon went from the desolate surroundings of the hotel to storefronts lining both sides of the street.  Many shops had closed before nightfall; only the bars and some restaurants were open.  We stopped at Kellar's Swiss and Indian Restaurant.  It had three menus: Swiss, Indian and vegan.  For an appetizer, I had Indian chicken soup which had a little yogurt in it, and Daria had Tandoor chicken fingers.  My main dish was barramundi fish in a Swiss sauce of mushrooms and artichokes; Daria had steak medallions in a Madagascar sauce.  We topped it off with a fruit sundae named Coupe Maison.  The restaurant called us a taxi because I was feeling tired and Daria was feeling scared.  We had heard that the some of the local Aboriginees get drunk and wander into town at night.  So, we appreciated the taxi when it arrived.  The driver was untalkative, but the ride was mercifully short.

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