Hira Samy hails from Fiji but he’s been a resident of Alice Springs for 38 years. And he gave me a great 2-hour tour of Alice Springs.
I arrived here at about 9:30 after a 2 hour flight from Darwin, and my connecting flight didn’t leave until 1:55. That means either hanging around the airport for over 4 hours or go see some sights.
Needless to say, I much prefer the latter. Which is how I met Hira.
My intent was to catch a cab to downtown to kill some time, but I asked Hira about what to see given my limited time. He offered to take me around.
“Um, what’s that going to cost?”
“Depends how far we go. But the meter will be stopped when we’re out of the cab.”
I said OK, but will keep a sharp eye on the meter.
And the unofficial tour was great.
We hit the high points, most notably Anzac Hill, the original telegraph station and the shopping mall where we had lunch. Now, normally I despise malls, but I wanted to get a look inside the main one here to see what sort of business they do.
At about 11:30 on a Saturday morning, the place was busy-busy-busy. And the shops weren’t Dollar Store type of places. One anchor tenant – K-mart – and plenty of choices for women’s clothes and shoes, jewelry store, a man’s suit store, a place selling tacky tourist nonsense, a well-attended food court and plenty of other choices.
If the traffic in the mall is any indication, Alice Springs has money. No shortage of money here.
Then a 50-minute flight to Yulara, the jumping-off point for Uluru, deep in the sun-baked Outback.
Well, from the way it’s rained, “sun-baked” may not be very accurate. From one of the lookout points, you could see the storm as it approached. Flashes of lightning. Clouds of red dust swirling in the distance. Deep dark sky. Flags snapping in high winds.
And then storm made it’s presence felt. Torrential downpours, the type usually experienced in rain forests. The flash-BANG of lightning striking too close for comfort. It went on like that for a good 30 minutes. Then, gone.
The clouds remained dark and it continued to rain lightly but the storm’s fury was spent.
An unexpected way to spend my first night in one of the hottest, driest places in the world.
A wonderful person was lost yesterday. After an almighty struggle, Monica Kayer decided enough was enough and died of cancer.
This post is in honour of her ceaseless spirit, good humour and inspiration. The sun isn’t quite as bright today. She will be missed.
Sincere and heartfelt condolences to her husband, Steve.