In the desert (Alice Springs)

The train arrived in Alice past 11 in the morning. The Sun was shining and from the train it looked like it was really warm outside. What else would you expect from a city in the middle of a desert ? However, after stepping out of ‘The Ghan’ I immediately started to look for some warm clothes in my bag. The wind outside was really strong and it felt much colder than it looked. The guy at the information desk announced that it was 16 degrees outside and that the temperature would drop to -2 degrees at night. Good news, aye ? After leaving my stuff at the hostel, I went for a walk to the town center. With less than 28,000 citizens, Alice is much smaller than Darwin but I liked more its raw, secluded character. It looked a bit like a modern Wild West town. I went to the Reptile Center, the largest reptile exhibition in Central Australia, where I saw geckos, lizards, goannas, turtles, snakes and crocodiles. It was fun and a bit gruesome at the same time. Especially the picture of a huge python cut through with an adult man being digested inside. Strolling through one of the rooms was a goanna named Frank, the center’s pet. I was told not to touch its head but apart from that anything was more or less permitted. I really liked how its skin felt and it was a bit awkward but really funny when trying to move from one place to another, Frank stepped on my sneaker and laid down on it with its whole body. Apparently it was comfortable enough for Frank to stay on my foot for a while. After a minute or so it decided to move, letting me see some other animals. I came back to the goanna but it must’ve gotten frustrated by all the attention and hid behind some boxes. Wanting to see it again, I touched its tail, the only visible part of its body at the time. Its reaction was surprisingly abrupt, showing me that it really didn’t liked what I did. Luckily, there was nobody else in the room, otherwise I’d probably turn red. That was awkward O.o Later, I heard the center’s guide telling other people not to touch Frank’s head AND tail. Well, I wish I knew that before. After the reptile center I climbed Anzac Hill to see the panorama of Alice along with the desert and the MacDonnell Ranges surrounding it. And that was pretty much it. I hung out in the city for a bit longer but there was not much to do. There were no people on the streets and even if there were, most of them gathered by the shops selling fireworks. It was the Territory Day that day, the only day when selling fireworks is allowed. The whole night fireworks could be seen and heard everywhere. I’ve heard from many sources that Alice could be quite dangerous to walk around alone after dark so I did some grocery shopping and headed back to the hostel. I was in the center of the continent in the middle of winter so it obviously got cold at night. I didn’t think it was less than zero degrees outside though.

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