Waking up at 5:30, the morning is calm. Sunrise at 6:22, the guys are preparing breakfast. The porridge made by Ilgonis is tasty, just one pot gets burnt a bit. Two crows are chatting to each other, looks great, maybe they are discussing pans for the day. Breakfast. Leaving at 7:50, destination for today – Agnes’ creek. The first stop – at a stand with information about railway building from Port Augusta to Alice Springs. Along the road desert plants, the scenery changes from dried grasslands to bush in red soil. Salt bushes and eucalypti are growing here. On the sides of road it looks like there are thrown out some kind of yellow balls in piles. Later we find out that the yellow fruits are camel melons which are poisonous for humans.
We arrive at Coober Pedy. It is very hot. We visit the underground Orthodox church. Then entrance is for donations and some of us are paying. Guna and I put a candle for the living souls. Then we go further to see the Big Winch. The one displayed is a replica because the old one was twisted and broken during a storm. The houses are mostly underground. Next we go to the Old Timer’s Mine opal museum and shop. The exposition is big. The temperature in shade is 39 degrees Celsius. The local shopkeeper says such temperature is usually in February (i.e. in spring). The normal temperature in November is around 20 degrees Celsius or a little bit more.
There are no people outside, only us. Some of us buy some opal jewelry. We eat our lunch in shade. The wind in sun almost burns our feet. We watch the demonstration of rock blower machine and have the opportunity to try it out ourselves – the force is so strong that one can see its skin rippling.
Coober Pedy is small town or a big village with many houses. Everything is sandy and dusty.
Afterwards with one car because of dirt road 4km long we are going to Crocodile Harry. The dwelling looks like a cave at the basis of the mountain, the entrance is at the ground level. There are many rooms – living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a small library. Women’s underwear hangs everywhere. The walls are covered with greetings from all over the world, also from Latvia. We find a photo album with a photo taken in Dundaga [town in Latvia] and the little Harry on a donkey in Culture and Leisure park. Next to it is a photo of Harry – all grown up in Coober Pedy – big bearded, long haired man. It is a strange feeling and it evokes thoughts about time and Harry’s destiny.
We are going to the camp site. There’s lightning all the time near horizon. The lightning strikes straight into the ground. Emīls is waiting rain for it to wash the car. Some raindrops occasionally fall on the windshield. There are no kangaroos on the road, not counting the dead ones.
We stop at Marla and some run to the sprinkler to freshen up. We meet travelers from England who are renting campers from the same Spaceship company. So we exchange DVDs, suggestions and impressions with them.
Later on the way we encounter strong wind but not so strong rain, dry spinifex (desert grass) balls are rolling over the road.
A radio conversation occurs between the two cars – [Optimus Prime (the girls’ car)]: how many kilometers are left? [Hawk (the guys’ car)]: we don’t know. [OP]: But you have GPS! [H]: just a minute, we’ll turn it on.
At camp site we prepare dinner – a kangaroo steak and potatoes, plus salads. Very tasty. There’s a bush fire in the distance. Our scouts come back with some good and bad news. The good news is that the fire is not very big, and the bad news is that it is only approximately 2 km away. So we decide to go to the next camp site 35km further. There is also an emergency phone. On the way we find that the bushfire is bigger and also further – around 15 km away.
We stay in our new campsite.There’s storm during night. Rain comes down in huge drops but the average rainfall is small. The car sways and it feels like it will be lifted up by the strong winds. We think how the ones sleeping in tents are feeling and whether they also won’t be blown away into desert.
Greetings to all reading my entry!
Agnese: I should add here that on this day we noticed that the conditioner of the OP car is not working properly. In Coober Pedy we sent an e-mail to Spaceships office and asked to organize us someone to see to that in Alice Springs besides the failed cigarette lighter/electricity pug with a hope that we’ll still be alive by then. Occasionally we are switching the cars so that the others get the coolness of Hawk as well. But I don’t switch – I still have the cough that I got in London, and I don’t want to get cold.