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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Sunday, 16 June 2002
Cloncurry --> Mt Isa, Australia

I drove from Cloncurry to the big mine city Mount Isa on a huge road train and got on the bus to the Australian Top End.

Mount Isa looked like an ocean steamer similar to the Titanic. But then only lost in the middle of this barren region.


Shawn got me breakfast from the local Cloncurry roadhouse in the morning, before driving up to the Queensland Bulk Haulage office. This is where I connected myself to the Internet, while Shawn worked on management stuff.

In that small trailer office, I showed Shawn how my project works exactly and when he saw some of my last weeks photos he kept saying that I was doing a great job for the local community. "It is f*cking good that you tell the world about us, mate!" he said in all seriousness."

At 11.30 am it was time for me to hit the road again. And not just by hitchhiking or on a bus, no I would hop on one of the company's lengthy road trains! Driver Cliff, who wasn't really voluble, tied up my backpack in the open air on the back of the truck and we took off to Mount Isa.

Before leaving I thanked Shawn for his hospitality and told him to say goodbye to Annette who I hadn't spoken anymore today.

Up to Mount Isa. Up to one of the biggest cities in the world, located in the one of the most isolated areas on the world.

The drive to Mt Isa only took two hours. I arrived there just after sunset. The trip on the road train was another fascinating experience. I am not into engines or things like that, but just to here 'this little bastard' pull the 50-metres long haulage behind it and us moving up and down the small-hilled area through this deserted dry country… It had something!

With an area of 41,000 square kilometres – equivalent to that of the entire country of Switzerland (!) Mount Isa only has a 20,000 people population and is mostly described as an oasis in the Australian outback.

For me it looked like something else. While arriving there with the sun going down behind the city, I saw two big smoking stacks and the rest of the city lit up with lights. It was like looking at an ocean steamer similar to the Titanic. But then only lost in the middle of this barren region.

Cliff dropped me off at the Greyhound/McCafferty's bus terminal, straight opposite the copper smelter where he had to drop off his load. Tonight he would have to do this distance another time again and pick up a new load at the Ernest Henry Mine near Cloncurry.

I checked in for my 7.45pm bus to Darwin and dropped my luggage in the storage room. I had less than two hours left, before the bus would take me from Mt Isa all the way into my third Australian state and to the Top End (see this map of the area, Mt. Isa is just bottom right - off the map).

I had a walk along the Barkly Highway than started in the middle of town along the Leighardt River. With the leftovers from Sharyn and Scott's (Townsville) financial donations, I drank a Pepsi in a nearby pub where I watched how Senegal won the World Cup soccer game against Sweden. Pretty funny to see those Senegalese people party. On the same road I found a chicken restaurant where I got a plate of chicken curry that would keep me going for a while.

Around 8pm the bus departed from Mt Isa. One hour later I crossed the border of Queensland and ended up in the Northern Territory of Australia. With an half moon lighting the sky the bus drove on this long and empty road. Here and then the driver had to use the brakes to stop for a cow on the road or to check on people who were stranded on this nowhere-road with their car.

Time to catch up with some sleep. Darwin is a long way.

Ramon.