THE OUTBACK AND SO FORTH – Wednesday, 14 March

I wake up at 2am and can’t get back to sleep. This bed is an anti-bed: it’s aggressively unsupportive, on top of which, the Australian hospitality industry seems to have no knowledge of, or use for, fitted sheets. This bottom sheet bunches at my midsection while coiling around my feet. I lie there hating all things as I pull my laptop onto my stomach, poke at my emails, and fume. I guess I’ll start my day with some instant fucking coffee and journal writing. My packing is brisk and resentful. We’re on the road by 6am, gassing up the muddy Kluger in the dark, then heading east into the rising sun. Ali drops off to sleep and I somehow keep the vehicle on the left. We arrive back in Alice with 90 minutes to spare. The Kluger that started out shiny gray now looks like Fred Flintstone’s adobe automobile. At the airport, we grab a free table at the quick sandwich place. While chewing thoughtfully, I turn to face a small commotion. A little boy with a handful of Smarties meets my gaze and wails, which amuses Ali greatly. Our flight is much shorter that I had imagined, which amuses me.

G’day, Adelaide. We cab to the Fire Station Inn. We will spend a couple of days here in Adelaide in a two-bedroom apartment on the top floor of, yes, a restored firehouse. The flat on the first floor will let you sleep with the fire engine. Looking through the window at the fabulous red truck, I am blindsided by a boyish yearning to be a fireman. Everything is here, except the dalmation. An early and hearty dinner, then bed. I’m fucking pooped. Planes fly over our heads every ten minutes for about an hour, then stop. We’re in a flight path of Adelaide’s not-big airport.

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