Monday, November 22, 2010

Flying through thunderclouds over the MacDonnell Ranges

After the 6 am, 6:07 am, 6:13 am, and 6:24 am wake up calls, my roommate finally got up and got ready for her work. She was quieter than last time, since she didn't need to be inflicting revenge on anyone, but I still was awake until she left. I slept again until around 8:30, then got up, got ready, finished packing, and checked out. The internet still wasn't working, and I felt like demanding a refund, or at least credit on the computers in the lab, but I also didn't feel like dueling. I sat in the air conditioned TV room, that smelled strongly of boys, for about 2 hours until my shuttle to the airport was to pick me up. I called my parents to let them know where I was headed, and was able to speak to my grandparents in the same call because they were over for dinner. Around noon, I walked out into the hot, dense air to wait on my shuttle. As I walked by, the housekeeping lady asked me if I was waiting for a shuttle to the airport. I said yes, and she said one stopped by a few minutes ago. "How long?" I asked. "Like three minutes," she said. I calmly called, knowing if they were stopping for me, they were almost 30 minutes early, so there was no reason for them to have been getting me yet. The operator confirmed, I was on the list for 12:35pm. I hung up and relaxed a minute, until I noticed my food bag was leaking rice like sand grains through an hour glass. I had to toss out a big amount, and still had a lot on the ground, but was able to seal it better and zip it up in my bag. As I was struggling with the zipper, the shuttle pulled up. "Of course," I said, and forced the zipper up quickly. I loaded into the shuttle to an unfriendly blond girl frowning at me. I decided not to even greet her, and sat a few rows back. We were waiting on a late girl, who finally arrived, and then ate a whole pepper, and then a tomato in the seat behind me. Maybe it was all the food she had, but it just seems strange to me to be chewing on a pepper like it was an apple. Then we picked up a family from Singapore and the mother put on a face mask and tied a bandanna over it. I just felt like I was surrounded by weirdness.

We were dumped at the airport, herded through check in and security with nothing of value to note. I boarded the plane and was granted the window seat, like every flight I have had so far. As we took off, I looked back at Darwin at the huge thunderclouds gathering over the city. We flew out over the ocean, and I thought, actually I said quietly out loud, "Wait, aren't we going to Alice?" As soon as I said this, the right wing of the plan was cocked up into the air and we began a 180 turn, heading straight into the clouds. We approached them, and as soon as we broke the boundary, there was instant turbulence. It only lasted a few minutes, until we were high enough above the storm to look down at the clouds. That is always the most amazing feeling, flying through clouds, coming out the other side, and looking around, it's like what everyone always pictures heaven looking like. Our flight was only about 2 hours, and as we came into Alice, I was greeted with another amazing sight. Below me was the MacDonnell Mountain Range, which looks so unusual. I will do more research on how they were formed, but if I was forced to guess, I would say plate tectonics. It looks like a perfect example of what is created when 2 plates push against one another and one plate forces the crust above the other. Its a straight line of mountains, a perfect formation, almost looking like a wall. I will get pictures when I fly out to Cairns, I was too mesmerized when I was flying in to pull out the camera. We landed and were made to wait almost an hour for the Perth flight to come in, even though no one on that plane was booked into the hostels we were going to. We were dropped on the side of the road and almost hit while crossing (it was a pretty confusing road), but we made it and checked into Toddys. I walked around and scoped it out before getting internet for the first time in a couple of days. Matt was online in Sydney, and updated me on what he had been doing since yesterday afternoon when he landed. I was stunned to hear his list of what he had done in just over 24 hours, but I suppose he has to fit it in 2 weeks, where I had 3 months. I can't believe he is here. It means I only have about 2 weeks left, which is insane to me. I know it will take some time to decompress when I get home, and shift through where I've been and what I've done. I am still saying to myself I can't believe I'm in Australia, even though I've been here almost 3 months!

I see Matt tomorrow around 1pm. I am going to try hard to not tackle him, but no promises.

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