Country Link from Cootamundra to Wagga Wagga, 10 March 2007


What is forwards, what is backwards? This question is similar to what is back, what is forth.

There was no tour available from Alice Springs through the Flinders Ranges towards Adelaide, but there was one vice versa. So, I travelled from Alice Springs, via Port Augusta back to Adelaide, only to depart towards Alice Springs, on a Groovy Grape tour through the Flinders Ranges.

Forwards and backwards are a bit mixed up now with my route Adelaide - Alice Springs - Katherine - Alice Springs - Adelaide - Alice Springs. Am I now travelling back to Adelaide or forwards to Alice Springs? I could not care less actually. The view is great, desert as far as the eye can see. The sun shines, the sky is blue, it is around 40 degrees outside and all's well.

The bus is cool, well at least until the air con breaks down. That is not as bad as it may sound. It is OK with open windows for a fresh breeze, sufficient water for a wet head and shirt as low tech air con. In Coober Pedy the guides buy just about every available spray bottle. All's well for a few hours, but soon it is fierce water battles all over the bus. And hurray, the sprayer does fit to a big water bottle.

This bus tour heads towards Uluru. To the young backpackers around me it is "just a rock", but for me it is a like a new meeting with an old friend. So it is not going back in memory, but forwards to a new experience. It is my feeling that the rock is alive, al be it at a much slower pace that human. Listen carefully and you will hear the rainbow serpent whisper: Take good care of the land, and the land will take good care of you.

Only one day later, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent's advice slips my mind. In a thoughtless moment I bomb into the water of the Garden of Eden. It is not a wise thing to do. The water is much more shallow that I assumed. The rock is much tougher than me. I surface full of pain. My left bottom has the biggest bruise ever. I struggle to walk. With great effort I reach the end of the Kings Canyon. This is going to be a tough ride all the way to Alice Springs. If only I listened a bit more to the Rainbow Serpent: No bombing.

A few days later the Ghan and Indian Pacific take me from Alice Springs to Sydney. I'll stand there, giving a shift roster design training, in Royal Australian Navy headquarters. I still have trouble sitting down and will have for the next few days. The bruise is now as big as a stretched hand. So, to avoid pain I travel lying down in bed.

So yes, it comes back to the question:

I now lay down on my right side, head for Sydney with my feet. Am I now travelling backwards or forwards?

Till next nut,