Alice Springs

Day 12, Saturday, 1/18/03
Round about 3:45 AM our alarm went off and we were up for the hot air balloon ride. We met at the lobby at 4:15 and two Aussie blokes picked us up in a shuttle pulling the basket and balloon in the back. We all dragged our still sleepy bodies onto the bus. We got a little way down the road and had to turn back to pick up Roy who was late. He said he woke up at 4:15 thinking that there was someplace he needed to be.

I, unfortunately, had taken some medicine you are supposed to take with food and didnt eat anything. Normally it doesnt bother me but I think that I hadnt really eaten much at dinner and all the wine I drank probably didnt help. So, I was feeling nauseated the whole ride out there. When we got out into the bush, where we were going to take off from, I threw up the pill and felt a little better.

There was another balloon that was flying with us, so we could see it and wave. The whole ride was very smooth, but I was still very queasy. I wore my new light blue Ayers Rock pullover and it got dirt all over it. We flew high and would then drop down low to just over the trees so we could see animals. We actually saw four kangaroos hopping along. We were so excited, because all the ones weve seen so far have been sitting, laying or standing.

The landing of the balloon was pretty funny, though I dont really think it was supposed to happen like it did. Our basket ended up on its side and we were all lying on our sides. There are some pretty funny pictures of that. I felt much better when we ere on the ground again. We all helped put the balloon back in its bag and got filthy doing it. The balloon laid on the ground, the guy walked up the center and we folded it like a sausage from the sides. We beat the other ballooners folding theirs up. Then we went to a different spot by bus and had a great breakfast. Cory had the champagne (with a strawberry) and I stuck with orange juice (also with a strawberry) and I stuck with orange juice (also with a strawberry). We sat in a semicircle on chairs and the balloon pilots and drivers served us a four-course brekkie. We had bread, chicken leg, quiche, fruit and cheese and then the best chocolate cake ever. It was delicious. We bought a postcard to send to my grandma to let her know what her money helped us do.

We got back to the hotel at around 8:30. We did have to have our bags to the coach until 9:45, so I took a short nap before packing my suitcase. I could barely move, I was so exhausted, but somehow we managed to make our way to the lobby and onto the coach.

We went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the morning, though it seemed like afternoon to those of us who had been up for 7 hours. It was an interesting museum about doctors who fly out to remote areas of Australia to treat the injured and provide clinic days. I bought my dad a T-shirt, cause I figured he would like that. I also bought a coke and felt much better with some caffeine in me.

Next we went to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, where we was the watering hole that never goes dry. But, being in the middle of a drought it looked like a large puddle.

We next went to the ANZAC (Australian, New Zealand Army Corps) memorial to all the wars they have participated in. Paul told us about the Northern Territory Flag, which is orange for the color of the dirt, has stars of the Southern Cross, flower petals for each state and one for the two territories. Paul told me last night that it was only made in 1978, and you could tell because it had a very seventies look to it. Kind of appropriate for a remote area that takes a while to catch up to the trends. Chris made me show Scotty my Ayers Rock wind impression. I did it the night of the champagne sunset and Paul spilled his drink all over himself he was laughing so hard. (Though, I think it also had to do with his own drinking). Scotty got a kick out of it and Cory got a picture.

We dropped off those who werent continuing on at the mall area. It was pretty sad. All these people who youve shared so many experiences with and you probably will never see any of them again. Well email, but its not the same. Paul and Scotty then took the rest of us to the airport after one last Sweet Home Alabama (They are so blue!). We had to say goodbye to Paul and Scotty then, which was even more sad.

Paul and Scotty were picking up people for their next tour at the airport. They wore the curly and the Elvis wig. It was sad to see them getting ready for a whole new group of people because they are our tour leaders. I just don know how anyone else can compare. We wrote the evaluations yesterday and Cory and I both wrote about how great they were. Its sad to see that part of our trip over, even if Im excited for the next phase. At least there are still twenty-two of us together.

The plane flight wasnt long, but Cory and I's seats got changed to be next to each other and we were seated at the front of the plane, far away from everybody else. And, I got a stinky girl sitting in front of me who sat so far back in her seat that she was practically in my lap.

Mel met us at the airport, but she was not wearing a wig. I dont know what it is about Paul, but he just gives off the vibe that hes the one running the show, without making it seem like he was in charge of us. She just blends in with us, but on our coach ride to the hotel, she gave us a lecture about being cliquey. I dont like feeling like Im in trouble for something that hasnt even occurred.

The hotel in Cairns is so nice. Especially in comparison to the other places. It actually is a resort. Our toilet doesnt have stains and its in our room. We just set our bags down and went back to the lobby area to go over our optionals for Cairns. Everyone was crammed in a tiny room and people were talking over and around each other. It was chaotic. We ended up deciding to just do the Quicksilver Barrier Reef tour tomorrow.

We checked our email and heard that there is snow on the ground and its below 0 degrees at home. That makes the tropical weather all the better.

We went to dinner at 7:00. It was nice, we had pizza and met Susan from Scotland. We were exhausted, however, and went home at 9:30. We were asleep soon after getting into bed.

Cory and Amy after the Quad Bikes

Cory and Amy hot air ballooning in Alice Springs

Group photo before leaving the outback for the east coast

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