Suggestion: Read the book about Alice Springs, “A Town Called Alice,” before going there. It’s an enjoyable “oldie.” When I was in Alice Springs, I decided to take a ride on a camel. After all, as an Oregon rancher’s daughter, I’d had horses all my younger life. Flicka, who once nipped my chest when I cinched up her saddle; Shorty, a trained rodeo horse, who, if I leaned one way, as though jumping off to hogtie a calf or steer (I never did that), his horse-memory brought him to a screeching halt. (Yes, I slid off him several times); Bonnie, a tall black mare who was lazy, except when she spotted a stray piece of baling wire—and stopped cold. (Yes, I went over her head several times; she didn’t like standing water, either.)
But that day in Alice (as one usually calls Alice Springs), I just knew riding a camel would be simple. I climbed aboard the kneeling camel—kneeling on all four legs. (No one warned me about how camels get up from their kneeling positions. I think Aussies (a name they aren’t fond of) get a big kick out of watching ignorant people do dumb stuff. Camels don’t get up as you might expect, so I was taken unaware when this one jolted up on its front legs, throwing me nearly off backward, then quickly jolted up on its back legs, throwing me forward—I may have that sequence backwards. At least I stayed on, but it wasn’t pretty. And I heard the muffled laughter, also not pretty.
However, the Aussies are big-hearted, big-hugging, and big-singing friends of ours, to match the big land they inhabit. And they raise the biggest, tastiest Granny Smith apples in the world.