I was reading an article about the Turks in the New Yorker a minute ago, and as my mental connections most closely resemble someone leaping from ice floe to ice floe I thought of Alice Springs. In mid 1979, one day, I was sitting in a pub in Alice Springs talking to a man I'd just met. He was very morose and told me that everyone hated him. "Why do you say that?" I asked. "I'm Turkish," he said. I don't remember what I said (if anything), but I just thought, "oh."
Anyway, I couldn't remember the name of the old pub, so I went online to see if I could jog my memory. I knew things had changed - well, when I was there (twice) the Stuart Highway wasn't paved - from just north of Adelaide all the way to the Alice. There was a bit of tourism, true, but most people were put off by the thought of unpaved roads for thousands of kilometres or the price of traveling by small plane. The sides of the roads were littered with dead rental cars that the truckies (I was told) stripped. The road itself was dotted with dead cattle and things - the government paid to the owner a certain amount per head for cattle killed on the road as there was no fence. Almost everyone I met there was Aussie, and the market was nearly bare (as in BARE shelves) as things were brought in by the truckies at certain intervals, and once sold that was that.
Holy moley it's a tourist hub now - as well as a much better equipped community. On the one hand that good, I suppose...
posted by - 3:44 PM