As I mentioned in yesterdays post, Ben used to live in Tennant Creek and has been very excited about the prospect of showing me around his much loved town. He had talked it up so much that I was expecting a quaint, little friendly town with a real community feel.
As we drove in to TC the absolute shock and horror set in. It was dirty and dusty and there was graffiti EVERYWHERE. People were loitering all over the place, occupying most gutters and footpaths asking tourists for smokes or money. We drove to the local caravan park and I went in to pay. I walked in to the office and was hit by the worst BO smell I have ever encountered. I could hardly breathe. Walking back outside I decided that this was not the place for us to stay.
Luckily, I found a place to stay 8kms out of town. It was called Juno's horse centre. Just like the rest of TC, it was dusty but it had a nice atmosphere. There were horses roaming freely around the camp grounds and the owner seemed very nice. He only charged $6 per adult per night and kids are free. After unhooking our van, Ben and I decided to go for a drive and I sent a message to the rest of our group explaining where we were.
The problem with being the one who makes the decisions is that you are also the one who has to cop the brunt of the bitching and moaning when the rest of the group don't approve of the facilities. The bitching and moaning was put fourth in a good humoured manner but you can't help but feel guilty. How was I supposed to know that there was a dead rat in the mens rooms? (to be fair to the owner of Juno, we have since found out that they were the 'retired' toilets and that there was a newer block... not that I think you can expect too much for $6 a night).
On our trip around town Ben showed me the dodgy old donger that he used to live in - which he claimed had been done up since he lived there, the airport, the pub... all the important places!!
I had no idea why Ben loved the town so much. To me it seemed like an awful place to live. But then I started to talk to different locals and realised how friendly everyone was. The bloke who owned the horse farm couldn't do enough for you. Ben and I paid him $12 and for that we got to camp there and use the amenities, he gave all the kids horse rides and he GAVE Ben a whole heap of stuff so Ben could make a mud guard for the back of our car.
The lady in the newsagentgave me a discount and a free bag when she found out that Ben had previously lived there! Such lovely people!! I don't think you will find a friendlier town anywhere.
Con and Kristy will tell a different story though. Kristy said Tennant Creeks only redeeming feature was that it had mobile reception and Con said that it wasn't too bad if you compare it to a prison in thailand. Apparently they witnessed a big fight in the main street which shocked them a bit.
After spending a morning lounging around the TC dam we headed off to the devils marbles. They were spectacular!! We camped there over night and watched the sunset over them lady night and then the sunrise over them this morning.
We are now en route to Alice Springs and I want to share with you something I just heard Ben talking about with a truckie. Sometimes Ben has a chat with the truckies on our uhf radio and asked this particular one about whether he hits many animals (we had already established that he drives back and fourth between Darwin and Alice). He said to Ben (just for the record I am completely HORRIFIED by this) "yea a few. I hit a black fella once. He was asleep on the road... thought he was a kangaroo". Ben pressed him for details and he said he went to the police and made a report but never heard anything more about it. He then added "oh it happens all the time" before launching into a description of some accidents he had witnessed.
I am so upsett. The indigenous Australians have such a rich and ancient culture and to hear them being compared by truckies to road kill is horrific. It is so sad. There are so many indigenous australians in the NT who are living such a sad existence. Something needs to be done to help them. I wish I had a solution.
On that sad note I am going to sign off. We are almost at Alice and I have to take Diddy into the hospital to get splints on her arms. I will have to write about it next time.