We passed a place call Pimba, it is 480km from Adelaide and lies at the junction of the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs. It has a population of 50 according to the census in 2006. Leith told us that 60% of uranium source in the world is from a place called Roxby Downs (roughly 85km from Pimba).
During the cold war Australia was supplying uranium to the United States and Russia. He reckons since 60% is the official number, the true number must be higher. It is hard to imagine that one of the world’s richest resources is in the middle of nowhere and can be used to make such lethal weapons. No wonder the fueling station was full of military badges on the wall.
2 hours later, we arrive at Lake Hart. It is a smaller lake in the Lake Eyre basin- a drainage basin that covers just under 1/6 of all Australia and is one of the largest in the world covering around 1.2 million square kilometers, including inland Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and part of western NSW. The actual Lake Eyre is actually not accessible by vehicles, can only been seen via helicopter. Leith further explains that the geologists believed that billions of years ago, there used to be in-land oceans in the middle of Australia. When the north and south poles formed, it drained the water in both directions and left the Australian inland in a desert state. Therefore these lakes are full of salts and minerals. A possible theory that suggested that there used to be ocean in middle of Australia. He said sometimes geology = guessology, since it is all theory.
Lake Hart itself looks deep, like a real lake, where you can swim or kayak in it. However the lake is probably only 20mm deep due to the rain from 2-3 weeks ago.
Since there is a high salt content in the lake, the reflection makes the lake appear deeper than it seems. People don’t harvest salts from here because it is too expensive to drive all the way here; therefore it is more economical to have artificial salt lakes near Adelaide for easier access.
In front of Lake Hart there is a railway track. Everyone was taking stupid photos on the railway track. Leith said you can see the train from 2-3km away; the trains are very slow, unlike the ones in Asian where the high-speed rails can travel up to 200km/hr. Therefore there is plenty of time to run.
At exactly 11am, we left Lake Hart. There was a cargo train travelling on the railway across the distance. It was massive! I never seen such a long train before, reminded me of the cartoon Kiki’s Delivery Service produced by Miyazaki from Ghibli Studio. However my camera wasn’t good enough to capture any images. I can’t wait for lunch at 12pm since we are all getting hungry.
While I was on the van, I started to feel excited about the trip. I haven’t felt like I stepped out of my comfort zone since my Nepal trip last year. I have been too comfortable while working in Adelaide. Last night sleeping in the swag was an entirely new experience. I can’t wait to travel more and experience the world. I love the quote from the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho: “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” I am very lucky that I have a pair of open-minded parents who supports my travelling dream (very rare for Asian parents)!
As there are MANY flies in the outback, Leith gave us a bottle of lotion to put on our face. It is call “Nature’s Botanical- Rosemary & Cedarwood oils in a natural crème” produced in Alice Springs. My patient told me about this before. They said they used to put this around race horses’ eyes so they can do better without the flies distracting them. Since it is all natural, the effect only lasts an hour or so. Certainly works better than Deet.
Glendambo Roadhouse is our next brunch destination (Leith said it is not lunch since we eating before 12pm and that is what A-list celebrities calls it). The lady’s toilet has signage that says “do not put toilet papers along the seats as it blocks the sewage pipes”. I don’t really care since I need to sit down. Leith said during the 12 years he has been working, it’s the same 24 people who lives in this town. Recently there’s a population surge, which takes the population total to 30 people.
We had the same lunch as yesterday- sandwiches and wraps. There weren’t any whole grain wraps left, can only settle with garlic flavor ones.
One of the girls lost her passport, she was very stressed out. Leith reassured her that no one in Australia will steal passports, since they are not smart enough to realize being an identity theft can make more money than stealing cameras/ phones. We ended up going to a Passport office and getting a new one. The girl was so happy she actually cried. It is good to see how everyone is helping out with each other.