July 4th, 2002

Atacama

Häppy Unabhängigkeitstag

Happy Fourth!

Here in Mt Isa, the only truly American restaurants available were KFC and McDonald's, so Dan and I headed off to town to look for something, uh, a little bit fancier. Sadly, Los Toros (open since 1988) had gone out of business the month before, so we wound up at The Schnitzel House, which turned out to be pretty decent. I had a Veltins and a Hansa Pils, which brought back loads of memories - Veltins is brewed near Essen, where I lived for a year, and is very yummy, and Hansa is überdreck that was (and probably is) the cheapest beer you can possibly buy in Germany. It's shit. But compared to most American beers, it's still okay. Shame about the headache though.

In any case, we're now done with the Isa. We never did get a space on an underground mine tour (waaaah) and never saw even a single woofy miner (waaaah again), but it was nice to have a room for a couple of nights and get all the errands run. Well, most of them. Tomorrow it's off to the post office to mail out some packages, then to Shell for diesel and Coles to restock the fridge. Woohoo!

From here, it's down to Boulia and then Birdsville, and then to the Alice via Innamincka, Big Red, Simpson Desert, Chambers Pillar, Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy, the Corner Store, and a bunch of other cool places I've always wanted to visit. In fact, it feels like the trip is really starting just about now - the scenery around here is absolutely fantastic, and I can't believe it took five months to get this far. Wow! It's like Arizona/New Mexico without the good Mexican food, but with lots of old age pensioners hauling caravans doing 70 kph in front of you! Woohoo!