A Town Called Alice
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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The first of the ‘firsts’, Aussie Rules Football, made for a great afternoon. If you’ve never caught a game on TV the best analogy I can offer up is that of a human demolition derby. I’m sure there’s a rule book involved, but the concept was relatively straightforward to follow- everybody run to where the ball is (or will be) and pulverize anyone trying to touch it
The second of our ‘firsts’, the School Of The Air was effectively a virtual school program that originated in Alice Springs to bring the school to kids in some of the more isolated spots in the nearby Outback. It began with a two-way radio technology but has evolved to a broadband internet solution. The teacher operated out of a high tech DJ booth and there were a number of software tools that would allow the kids to participate in much the same way they would in a bricks and mortar environment (although if I were teaching, the mute button might be the only one used!). Apparently the kids perform well on the national tests and the program seems to be a great option for those in isolated circumstances.
The third of our ‘firsts’ is much better to look at as it bounces around the Outback with the odd pause to glance at you with doe eyes and a fuzzy face. On a pizza, a kangaroo doesn’t look particularly appealing although we were assured that the kangaroo was farm raised for just this purpose (I’m sure I heard something about roadkill but we’ll go with the farm story). DH, of course, would have nothing to do with this clear act of caveman eating behaviours and I’m not sure I’ll make a habit of it, but we are in Australia so I was just trying to fit in with the other carnivores
On a more sombre note, Alice Springs, more than any other stop in Australia, did offer up vivid evidence of the countries ongoing struggle with the past and current treatment of the Aboriginal community. I don't think I've ever seen a more concerning example of people living together but distinctly apart. I wouldn't for a minute suggest that Canada has sorted out our own First Nations challenge, but there is something desperately wrong with the current situation in Australia if Alice Springs is any example to go by. One can only hope that the Aussie sense of fair play, and the 'can do' attitude we've seen on our travels will build the appropriate bridge between two very different cultures.
We spent the rest of our time in Alice exploring nearby sites of interest and wandering the streets looking for ‘Alice’, likely the toughest guy in all of Australia. A couple of strong candidates made themselves known to us (and everyone else) but our time here has run out and we’re leaving the land of Oz and we’ll be exploring Indonesia next.