I’ve just come back (as in Saturday – it’s now Tuesday) from a week in Alice Springs, a town that is very dear to my heart, given I grew up there. I learned some new things while I was there and was quite happy to see some positive changes to the place.
A little bit of context for those who are interested. I was travelling with my two husbands, my girlfriend, her husband, my husband’s boyfriend and his two kids. Nothing bad happened apart from minor frustration occasionally when I wanted space and was surrounded by people who wanted to know things about things.
So, lets start with my favourite things about Alice Springs.
- The weather (usually). Generally Alice Springs, especially around the end of August and the beginning of September is fantastic weather wise. Spring lasts for about 2 weeks before temperatures climb into what us southerners would think of as “summer weather”. People who live in Alice Springs think southerners are wusses (and they’re probably right – though they complain about cold and damp – I remember). This time the weather sucked somewhat. It was wet on two days, one of which might have reached 14C, which didn’t help my plans to go and see and do and show off where I grew up.
- The geology. Alice Springs is gifted with some of the most amazing gorges, gaps, chasms and “pounds” (no, I don’t know why that was used or what it means geographically and I’m not looking it up right now either). As a child I spent a lot of time travelling to and from these places with family friends, guests, for school (we swum a lot) and to have picnics. These places are not only beautiful but are also very special to me. Here are some photos (more here):
- The residents are fairly relaxed about things. Hence my extended polyamorous tribe not being a problem and the only negative reaction to two boys kissing was from someone out of state (we believe this because she flew back to Melbourne with us).
I also learnt some things/discovered some things that I was not aware of before. I learnt that the Finke River ran through Orminston Pound and Glen Helen Gorge. I learnt that flocks of wild budgies fly in brilliant clouds of emerald. I discovered that cooking for 8 really wasn’t that hard. I discovered that my old home had most of the trees I knew removed (though it’s been 22 years since we left, so they could have died). I learnt that Alice Springs is one of the lesbian capitals of Australia.
I discovered that the indigenous population of Alice Springs appears to be much better off than when I lived in Alice Springs. This may be, in part, that as a 13 year old (when we left) that I didn’t pay as much attention as I did this visit, or things have improved – which would be awesome. I wouldn’t say that there are no racial problems in the town, I was shocked by the sentence of manslaughter for Kwementyaye Ryder’s killers and their alleged “good character“. However, my memories of the indigenous population as a 13 year old (and my mother was a teacher at the Aboriginal Unit at my school – and was working to get those children into mainstream education – so I was not completely oblivious) and what I witnessed in Alice Springs were at odds with each other. This I see as a positive step.
I will return to Alice Springs in a couple of years, in what is quickly becoming an every other year trip. I consider staying after every trip, and sometime in the future I might make a year of it and see how I survive.
Oh and Pounds “are deep valleys that are enclosed by cliffs. They form when the soft rocks in the valley floor erode more easily than the harder rocks which form the cliffs.” Thanks Geoscience Australia.