Alice Springs – East MacDonnell Ranges (Northern Territory) – 1

24/09/15  Up until arriving in Alice Springs, we’d been without television, radio, internet and mobile reception for more than two weeks and for all we knew the Zombie Apocalypse could have eventuated. Quite the opposite, though, in fact. So removed were we from the normal stream of information that we weren’t aware Australia had a new Prime Minister until someone mentioned it at a camp site a few days after the event. Over a celebratory drink later, Di and I agreed that it was quite OK not knowing what was happening in the News as it’s all rather depressing these days anyway. I’ve always believed that you don’t worry about the small stuff, and that it’s all small stuff, really. Maybe not so much for ex-Prime Ministers, but, hey, that’s life.

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We arrived at the showgrounds campsite (Blatherskite Park) in Alice just after lunch and met up with friends from Berry Springs, Gary and Julie. It was great to catch up with them again and to be back in a reasonably large town. While we were off-line, I continued to write the regular blog articles and compile videos for the YouTube channel as we went along, and Di had been processing her photos, but none of it was able to be uploaded. So our stay in Alice kicked off with bringing the blog up to date, although the internet speed was very slow at our campsite due to the surrounding mountains. I temporarily stopped uploading videos to YouTube as it was taking forever. We’ll continue with the blog articles and will include the vids when we’re somewhere with suitable internet speed.

We took a day and backtracked 80kms from Alice into the East MacDonnell Ranges to Trephina Gorge, Corroboree Rock, Jessie Gap and Emily Gap as it was easier to do these without the van on.

We spent the next day in Alice looking through the CBD and the numerous Aboriginal art galleries. There were many excellent pieces that we would have happily hung on our walls at home, but after doing the rounds we were put off by the sense of commercialism and mass-production around the whole scene. The galleries were selling canvasses with very hefty price tags, while just outside in the Mall, Aboriginals were sitting on the grass painting similar pieces and hawking them to passers-by for much, much less. The sense that perhaps these people were being manipulated and exploited took the wind from our sails and we decided not to buy any of it.

I had always wanted to know how to play the didgeridoo, and took a 30 minute lesson with Andrew Langford at the Sounds of Starlight. It was a great experience, and I surprised myself by actually managing some proper “didgey” sounds from it amongst all the other quite miserable sounds. Lip control is a big part of it and I kept cycling between getting it and then losing it. And as for the circular breathing technique, I just couldn’t get that at all. It comes from a lot of practice, apparently. I’ll seek further instruction on that from Di, who I know can expel air from the mouth while inhaling at the same time quite well. Check out Andrew Langford on YouTube – he’s amazing on the didgeridoo.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

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