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Alice is in a whole new kind of wonderland.

  • Posted by Jojo Page
  • September 6, 2011 12:20 AM AEST
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Alice Walker is the author of the brilliant 'The color purple'. Alice Cooper is a heavy metal singer. Lewis Caroll's 'Alice' is a girl with blonde hair who falls into a fantasy world through a rabbit hole. But there is another Alice, that over here in the intimate UK we don't know so well. This is Alice Springs, and can i just say is one of the most interesting places my feet have ever walked me through.
Alice Springs is a dusty town, and i can tell you from personal experience, where none of their few shops are open on a Saturday afternoon. Well why would they be, its only a Saturday! I know what you're thinking, well that's probably because the locals were curling their hair for the big foam party that night? Or, of course shops shut early because everyone wants to laden their picnic baskets with vino and grab a good spot to watch the jazz? I would debate either of these suggestions, unless the guest list to either of these events was only for the a-list, and we as travelling folk would cramp the glamour of the party. But, evidence has to point me to my first guess of Alice's eccentricity. I have been told that we were just staying in a more out of the way area, but there were hardly any people in the 'town centre' of where we were. However, such reviews as my own cannot be expected, as the sleepy Alice is wrapped in nothing but startling desert. Startling, as you cannot believe how far it stretches for, or really how beautiful it is.  
I found, that although as a traveller first experiencing Alice Springs and its slow pace of life, was a little intimidating. It is a dessert gateway to some of the most incredible things that the sand is stage to. Slightly above Alice we spent an afternoon wandering awe-struck around the Devil's Marbles, which are these huge rusty orange rocks that balance miraculously as if greater forces were sitting down for a casual game of marbles. Well, we all need to wind down somehow and the cinema was booked. It was like being reduced to being 6 again, with that pure desire and thrill at just being able to clamber over something as we explored this desert play ground. Another new experience in the Northern Territory was the sky. The sky, in the middle of Australia is untainted by any pollution and the white stars against the black cloth of sky peer down on you so sharply it is hard not to feel insignificant. I sat there drinking the last of our camp beer with the final embers of our group, the rest retired to their sleeping bags, and half marvelled, half cowered, and half-just enjoyed-the fact that i was right in the middle of the dessert. I, with my boots from River Island and wearing other man made labels, was sitting out there-squillions of miles away from the growl of London, or the M25. Closer to Darwin we also stopped at Katherine Gorge, which although stepped away from the colour scheme of the rocky orange of Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, was still home to the beautiful and untamed nature. 'Prehistoric' i hope will create some kind of picture for you that resembles the real thing. Huge expanses of rock climb above you, and reach into the sky. That same sky that only before was beating down on you while you stood proudly, ankles aching on top of one of the Devil's marbles. That same sky that guided us for hours over the vast and untouched desert, yet also that same sky that is the roof to Sydney's opera house, or the many cafe's of Melbourne's arcades. Australia is a country of so much variety! There is so much energy, or more-so many different kinds of energy present on that continent, that even the creeking Alice Springs will leave you spell bound. So Smokie-i can tell you where Alice went. She packed her bags, and flew right to the centre of no where-that is some where so special all at once.      
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