Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DAY 208: Day 1 off Tennant Creek

Mon 19th May 2008
Sunny, 24 deg C
Elevation of destination 248 m
Distance to date 12612 km (7882 miles)

Another cold night, but I turned the sleeping bag over so that the long side could be pulled over my head, and I was quite warm enough. I didn’t get up straight away though and waited for the sun to warm things up a bit. To think that just a few weeks ago I was practically diving out of the tent as soon as the sun hit it to avoid being baked.
I didn’t do an awful lot today but did all my washing and got it dried easily outside; found a good, fast internet connection at Leading Edge computer shop ($6/hour though) and had a leisurely lunch back at camp. I wanted to get hair and beard cut but they were booked up today and I have to wait till the morning. I had a good sort out of the tent stuff and charged all batteries up - all mundane stuff but essential, and it feels good to get it sorted.
I noticed another lump this morning in the same place as the last one - if it develops I’ll have to seek more antibiotics. I’ve had no discomfort this time though, weird.
I’m surprised at the large number of indigenous people here in Tennant Creek; it would appear they’re a majority, but it’s hard to tell since they walk everywhere and the white fellas are mostly in vehicles. The blacks are very noisy people - this isn’t necessarily a complaint, just an observation, although it does grate sometimes I have to admit. They communicate with each other a great deal by shouting very loudly across the street or even if next to the other person. The town is pretty scruffy with a big litter problem, broken glass everywhere, and there’s a heavy police presence. There’s a run-down urban air about it, and I can’t begin to understand what life must be like for these black people. It reminds me a great deal of my time in Zambia in the 70’s and 80’s, and many of the people’s mannerisms seem very similar. Even the way the whites and blacks interact is the same, not that there’s much interaction. Most indigenous people avoid eye contact with me, and most of them certainly don’t expect or proffer a greeting or exchange of any kind. It all seems very sad; there’s a world of difference between the two cultures and a gulf between white and black lifestyle and status.
I did another shop and bought stuff for a barbie tonight, which I’m about to go and cook as it’s getting cold already....

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