Friday, 19 August 2011

Following the Ghan south

In Alice Springs we sat at a railway crossing on Larapinta Drive while the Ghan slowly pulled into the station -  22 carriages and somehow looking very majestic. We could see passengers eating lunch, chatting to each other or watching Alice Springs pass by. I wonder if any of them got on at Marla. I wonder if any realise that the countryside is blooming.

Further down the Stuart is the opal town of Coober Pedy where, to escape the heat of summer like all sensible desert creatures, the humans live underground. Only the vents indicate their presence. In theory. Actually mullock heaps, rusted machinery, take-away shops, signs to attract tourists and a convoluted street system are also very much in evidence.

Late this afternoon we drove out to the Breakaways - unexpectedly beautiful and the flat, flat horizon a reminder that this land is big. And even in this distant place there is room for political graffiti.

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