Captain's Log. Day 1 in the Outback. 09:00 hours. Ants are Assholes and the Devil's in the Dust
This just in: Ants are assholes. Ants in the Outback, that is. Their relentless attempts at swarming one's shoes and ankle biting are tiring and pretentious. Score 1: Outback. Manhattan: 0. However, in other news not even ONE of us in the Groovy Grape magical mystery bus tour was bitten by a snake, spider, scorpion or mowed down by an angry mob of kangaroos. Therefore, day 1 in the Outback is going down in the history books as a resounding success. With any luck, our success will continue throughout our trek. Additionally, with the exception of contending with swarms of ants (AKA: assholes) our 10K hike through the Flinders Ranges was fantastic. Views of the desert and surrounding mountains were unparalleled, and not even the blister on my right foot, a happy memory from the 6 inch heels donned at the Melbourne Cup, could put a damper on the experience.
Oh and what BETTER welcome to the outback than a dust devil nearly blowing us over upon embarking on our trek? Don't know what a dust devil is?? You're not alone. After our tour guide clarified that what we had experienced was not, in fact, the spirit of some long deceased aborigines tribe come to warn us off their territory, we were enlightened to the true nature of this mildly disturbing phenomenon. In reality, they are miniature tornadoes formed by the collision of cool and hot air that come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. So that just happened. Check. Cross dust devil off the list.
Sleeping under the stars in a swag (an Australian invention resembling a sleeping bag made from canvas, containing a mattress) was an intriguingly new and interesting experience. With the exception of a local cat scaring the living shit out of everyone by howling like a bat out of hell, the sleeping arrangement was surprisingly enjoyable. The sky was white with stars, with shooting stars rocketing across the horizon with reckless abandon. An added bonus: we awoke with a distinct LACK of spiders, snakes and/or other deadly critters which Australia is so fondly known for in our sleeping bags. Living to see another day = Winning!
As our magical mystery tour careens towards Coober Pedy, the Opal mining capital of the world, we look forward to a true "wild Wild West" experience, including an overnight stay in dugouts underground...which are apparently necessary to shield from the extreme climate of the place. In the meantime, in preparation of our invasion of this "ramshackle" outback outpost, we continue to fine tune our cowboy impressions in order to blend in with the locals. For example "This town ain't big enough for the both of us" in an appropriately twangy drawl is close to being perfected. Will the locals appreciate our efforts? Only time will tell. But the many Germans in our little group are ready to give it a go. "Veez taawn eent beeg enouv faw zee boff of uz" is SURE to go over well.
Captain signing off. Over and out for now. More updates to follow (unless we have grossly miscalculated the welcoming nature of Cooper pedians and are gunned down by angry locals who happens to mistake our lame cowboy impression for an actual challenge to a duel...)
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