I’d read in a magazine at Toddy’s about the Overlander Steakhouse and felt it was sufficiently Territory-oriented to make it a worthy destination for my last night in the Centre (this trip). They offer such local delicacies as witchety grub soup and steaks from kangaroos, buffaloes, and camels. However, I decided on the very fine asparagus soup and a steak from a cow.
This is a wonderfully rustic place, in one of the town’s remaining old buildings. While I waited for my dinner, the hostess joined me for a chat: where was I from, where was I going, did I like Australia. I love these people.
Half way through my meal, I was asked if I’d mind sharing my table. I didn’t mind at all, and I found myself in the company of a delightful woman, a retired high school social worker from New Jersey, who was also traveling alone. We chatted about life, work, and travel—where I’ve been and where she’s going. She’ll be staying at the Jewell House in Perth, the same place I stayed when I was there, so I was able to give her a bit of insight into where things were, things not to miss, and how to get around.
Then, as it was nearly 7:30, I said good-bye and dashed for the bus stop. I arrived before the bus from Toddy’s was due to be there, but it didn’t come. However, a bus from the Gap View Resort did appear. The driver didn’t like the idea of driving away from the bus stop leaving a woman standing alone in the dark on a deserted street corner. (Did I mention that I love these people?) He said the resort wasn’t all that far from Toddy’s, if I’d like to accept a ride–which I did. The driver has lived in Alice Springs his whole life (he said he tried to leave once, but only lasted for two weeks, and then he came right back). We chatted about Alice Springs and about two other Americans he’d met from Dallas, whom he really liked. (“Is Dallas near Chicago? Do you know the Hookers?” “Sorry, no.”)
When I got back to Toddy’s, I found that the bus was going to make the run, but it was running quite late. So I was really pleased that my “knight” from Gap View had come along, because after 10 hours of walking around town, I really didn’t want to walk back to Toddy’s, but I would never have just stood waiting on that corner not knowing a bus was coming.
Well, now I need to pack for tomorrow’s onward journey. I am buoyed by the belief that I must return to the Australian outback some day–I hope sooner than I did this time, and for longer.