by Peter Nelson
Leaving Adelaide, we journeyed east under some misbegotten impulse to make money picking fruit. Wound up in a pear forest in Renmark in 107-degree heat where the blistering sun baked the shirts off our backs and actually straightened the stem of my imported pipe!
After that, we treated ourselves to an air-conditioned ride on the train from Parachilna to Alice.
Alice Springs. A long hot dusty dry road.
Once more into the breech. Of promises.
Far from anywhere. Probably the hottest town in all Australia. But it’s been cool and windblown ever since we arrived. A real four-wheel-drive frontier town, the only green spot in the outback desert for hundreds of miles in every direction. And just like in the old American West, there are hitching rails on most of the main streets. Except there aren’t any horses tied to the rails. Instead it’s camels! Camels were imported to the central Australian deserts decades ago, and what animal could do a better job of transporting people and goods into miles and miles of empty sand with no water?