The morning is yet again freezing. So much for Sunny Australia and the hot desert. Humbug. We have a lovely dog as companion as we all struggle to the shower. But the showerhead spits out tiny drops of water so instead of nice and warm, we end up totally frozen. So much for roughing it. We drive to Leigh Creek and see an enormous open coalfield. Lee and Nathan take their football and start kicking around. As you do. Meanwhile another Slags with Fags in the tYres of an absolutely massive truck. Must be at least three times as high as any of us. The tyre is already twice my size. Passing our first Remote areas ahead-sign, we pull up at Talc Alf's Gallery. Talc Alf founded the Australian Republic.
He carves shapes out of stones and asks little bits of money from the passing tourists. He has the most fascinating washingmachine, driven by a pushbike. We browse around for a bit but Alf is not there.
The mood in the car is great. We laugh all the time and, surprisingly enough, sex seems to be a popular topic. So far, nicknames haven't really taken off.except for Dot and Speck, Ngaire has become Spanky after threatening Lee with a wooden spoon.
We drive to an Ochre pit where we spot a big lizard-type thing and it goes from hand to hand for a picture.(we later find that they can bite quite nastily if you pick them up). We all paint eachother's faces with the different kinds of ochre we see, red, yellow and white. we all jump at the chance to finally see some dirt on Kerstin who seems to have a talent for keeping clean.
As we continue, we come across some planes put in the desert upside down. Hippies held a huge dance party here this year and left some 'art' behind. All sorts of stuff made from scrap metal. Another Kodak moment.
Lachy tells us that Lake Eyre is full of water and stunning at the moment. But that is not where we are going. We go to Lake Eyre South. Nice too. Not. We see a Groovy Grape bus with people who don't even bother getting out of their bus. Ted calls them Sad Sultanas. Afterwards, we think they simply knew better than to walk into the lake. There is a saltcrust on the water of about 3 cmthick. Underneath the crust is mud. So we break ourselves through the crust for about 75meters. By then we all haver extremely painful feet and ankles. Some of us are actually bleeding when we make our way back to the car. What we really need is a beer to swallow the pain with.
After we have all washed our feet, we set off to reach William Creek. Suddenly Lachy hits the breaks and Ngaire gets all excited. He turns the car and we see and eerie sight: dead cats hanging from a tree. People get paid to shoot wild cats because they are a pest. Nevertheless, it upsets Nicki. Most of us jump out of the car to shoot some beautiful pictures of this strange sight. The dying sunlight gives a strange glow to the whole scene.
William Creek isn't much apart from shockingly expensive. We decide to camp away from the 'town'. We drive to Anna Creek Station. And here Rob proves to be a good addition to the group. He talks about the stars, points out starclouds and explains things to us all. I had never looked at stars this way and it is actually quite stunning.
Most of us spend the evening writing in our diaries or chatting. (I spend the night with my hand in a tub of water after grabbing the pot from the fire.)