44 hours riding a Greyhound

Yeah, you read that correctly, the bus journey from Cairns (which incidentally, is just about where the line indicating "Queensland" is on my front page map) to Darwin really did take that long. I had to go via Townsville, where I bumped into Bea from J's Bay at the transit centre. We stopped off at Mount Isa, near the border with the Nothern Territory. This town's main primary industry is the huge copper and iron ore mine, which borders half the town. I walked up to a few shops then turned back and asked a woman at the transit centre where the city centre was. Apparently, that was it. I'd seen a sign saying "Mt. Isa welcomes bonafide visitors". This worried me a bit - as I was only staying for 3 hours, did this make me a fake visitor? Was I unwelcome? I don't think so, as "the Isa" is purportedly one of the friendliest places around - it has to be with its 23,000 inhabitants spread out over 31,000 km sq!.

The Aussie outback in one word: flat
The Aussie outback's major annoyance at bus stops in one word: flies

The bus driver put on a film about 13-year old American brats called "Zits". I turned up my Walkman, until we reached Tennant Creek, where we stopped for 3 hours. There were signs up at the bus station (which the driver had to open for us, it was that small) prohibiting consumption of alcohol. This was because the local aborigines have a big problem with alcoholism, and there were a few around, begging for money. Didn't ask me, though - I must have been looking particularly shabby. Myself and 3 English guys watched the World Cup roundup on the telly, then went over to the pub to pass the time. There was a female sax player performing called "Sax and the Single Girl". When we eventually started to drive off from the station, after a half-hour delay, we had to stop sharpish as the drivers had forgotten to close the luggage bay doors. Zeebrugge it wasn't, but it didn't do my confidence any good. Then again, it was one of the comfiest coaches I've ever been on, and I soon feel asleep.

Darwin City YHA was just around the corner. I went back to bed for the rest of the day.

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