This week, Michael and Linda Fairhart visited us at Alice Springs enroute from the United Arab Emirates to Canada, arriving Thursday afternoon.
On their second morning we drafted them into an early morning walking race with the Alice Springs Walking and Running Club. I had expected they'd resist my offer, however, they didn't bat an eyelid and lined up as keen athletes like the rest of us.
Here they are all numbered-up (and hopefully limbered-up for the race)
Those keen enough, ran the 4 km around the Central Business District. The rest of us, the more sensible people, walked. At the end, everyone received a numbered ticket and had a chance at winning prizes donated by the owner of Centralian Sports shop. The top prize was a Panasonic television set. Other prizes consisted of a heart-rate monitor, pairs of socks, T shirts and water bottles.
I managed to better my time by about three minutes from the last race a fortnight earlier, so I was pleased with myself. Here I am with Linda.
Friday night we had a scrumptious meal at the Juicy Rump restaurant which is part of the famous Lassiter's Casino and after dinner helped the casino make a profit for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Saturday we spent idling about ... you know the dictum, "All work and no play ....".
On Sunday we visited the Standley Chasm which is 45 km west of Alice Springs and dropped in at Simpson's Gap which is on the same Larapinta Highway, but a bit closer to town.
As flies were plentiful, the ladies each bought a fly net. Mike commented that they were looking like Emirati women. One of the photos following shows Christina and Linda wearing their fly nets.
Another is of Michael at the entrance to Standley Chasm and finally, a photo of the Chasm.
According to the publicity, Standley Chasm was gouged into tough sandstone by floods that surged down a narrow tributary of the Finke River over untold millions of years.
The Chasm is at its best around noon on a sunny day when the sheer walls glow from reflected sunlight to create a breathtaking display of stark form and rich colour.
There are also many lush plants, even some cycad palms that have survived from wetter ages millenia ago.
Early this morning Linda and Mike drove off in a bus for a tour of Ayres Rock and Kings Canyon.
We are going to meet up with them at Erldunda Road House 200 km south of Alice Springs tomorrow evening and on Wednesday drive off to Coober Pedy to visit the opal fields and then to a cabin we timeshare in the Snowy Mountains area of Victoria.
We did tell them not to get too excited about the snow, it's not the right time of year for that here.
Standley Chasm (Chris in distance)