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Report 48 +++ July 2008 +++ Preparing for the Outback

Darwin, located in the upper north of the Australian continent, is a very quiet and relaxed little town with 70.000 inhabitants. After 3 and a half years in the countries of Asia, we suffered a cultural shock upon reaching Darwin. It seemed like a paradise. Everything was clean and tidy and nobody was starring at us. The supermarkets are filled with a range of goods we have never seen in Asia, not even in Beijing or Singapore. The big disadvantage is that everything costs about 10 times more.

Already on the day of our arrival we applied for a visa for 1 year. I have a German passport and got my visa at once, but Lina had to do x-ray at the hospital because of Tuberculosis, a sickness in the lungs which is infectious. Lina has a Lithuanian passport and her country is regarded as a country of "high risk" by the Australian Government. We had to wait 4 days for the x-ray results and fortunately everything was fine with Lina's lungs and we have been granted our visa. We were very happy when we got invited by Ilse, a 26 young girl, who is living in a very nice apartment near the centre of Darwin. When she was 7 years she and her family did a cycling trip through Africa, from South Africa to Egypt. We never heard of an extraordinary trip. She did it with her parents and her younger sister Bronte on two tandems (the parents in the front) for more than one year. It's winter time in Darwin and we sleep on the veranda. It is not as bad as it sounds, because the "winter" in Darwin is as hot as the summer in Germany and we enjoy to sleep at this nice and airy place.

Now we are preparing for a 3.000 km bicycle ride through the middle of Australia, from Darwin to Adelaide on the Stuart-Highway. We bought almost 20 kg of food, because the next big town, Alice Springs, with 25.000 inhabitants is 1.500 km away. In between there are just tiny communities and petrol stations where everything is much more expensive than in Darwin. We think that we will have to carry up to 15 litres (or more) of water, like in the Taklamakan desert in China (look at report 35), because on the map there are parts on the Stuart-Highway where is nothing but desert for up to 250 km. Nevertheless we are looking forward to this sporting challenge with pleasure.    andreaslina@yahoo.de

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