We arrived in Alice about 6pm. The hostel, Annie's Place, sister to the one I dumped in Adelaide, is the best I've stayed at so far. En suite, swimming pool, restaurant with $5 meals and only $19 a night.
The next day I had a wander into Alice itself. There's not much there and it's very redolent of a mid-West US town with its low rise shopping arcade, small mall and Pizza Hut.
But the Aborigines are ever present in Alice; the majority, and the dominant presence on the streets. What I find interesting, all race cliches aside, is that they really don't appeared to have changed in 40,000 years. Today we have anti-lock brakes, blue tooth headsets and Youtube videos of people falling off skateboards. Yet wander into Alice and you'll see seven Aborigines sat in a semicircle under the shade of a tree, gazing at the sky and casually wafting the flies away.
I can't work out whether they steadfastly refuse to participate in the 21st Century as a protest to their horrendous treatment at the hand of the invading white man, or that they are simply forever out of step with modern living. Or both. Or neither.
One thing is for certain. They ooze history. You can see it in their gait and the shape of their skulls. They are living history. Perhaps I shouldn't be viewing them as curios or exhibits; thye are after all people. But they are a fascinating people, and it seems such a shame that when you look into their eyes all you see is defeat.