After an interesting three weeks at Durban, Stellenbosch and Cape Town in South Africa, it was good to feel the wheels hit the Alice Springs Airport runway at 4 pm last Saturday.
As we approached from the west, it occurred to me that Australia is so large, with most of the land being inhospitable and not much good for anything but flying over. Thousands of kilometres of nothing.
At one stage I imagined how we could move Israel to some part of outback Western Australia and let the Israelis live peacefully in our centre. Unfortunately, the religious artifacts that are part of their problem with Palestine and their extensive history couldn't be moved, so it's not likely to happen real soon. And maybe they wouldn't want to come here.
I also solved the problem South African whites have in not wanting to live in a country where the infrastructure and systems are declining and crime is increasing rapidly; they could leave the country to the blacks by moving all whites to Australia (anyone with criminal records, no useful job prospects etc excluded, we have enough fools of our own). There's not very many of them and we'd pick up some excellent talent and some really good people whose culture is similar to ours.
As a trade-off, we would give each of our 300,000 Aborigines a million dollars and send them to South Africa where they could be surrounded by their close relatives and live a life of luxury free of the scourge of the white man (The AUD buys 7.? SA Rand, so we could even reduce the million substantially).
That way, the problems of Aboriginal society and the huge, ongoing burden to Australian taxpayers would be eliminated. Australia could truly "Advance Australia Fair".
Of course, all dreams come to an end and when I came back to reality, I realised how ridiculous these ideas were. Probably no less ridiculous than the Australian Government's recent claim that it needs to set up yet another government department to administer indigenous affairs. Ho hum, I can recall at least four in the last 20 years that were said to have failed miserably, two of which I spent 15 years of my working life with.
Alice Springs Airport from the air is unimpressive with flat, sandy country with stunted (arid land) vegetation. Despite that, it's a nice township with generally friendly, good natured people and it's a nice place to live and bring up kids.
Our kids, now 33 and 30 respectively and our grandson Tory met us at the airport and we travelled home for the first time in two years finding our house, four wheel drive and other stuff much the same as we had left it.
We have much to do to resettle, but we've made the first step and all we have to do now is cope with another couple of months of freezing weather (after the 50 degrees of Al Ain) and we'll be fine. Actually it's only freezing at morning and evening ... the days are sunny and warm.