After completing our road trip through the Red Centre, we found ourselves back to Alice Springs on Sunday night, a day earlier than planned. Our friends in Velvet Thunder weren’t due to leave until Tuesday morning, but we were all anxious to get away from the flies and into an air-conditioned room… Plus, Jump Inn Alice Springs Hostel also has free breakfast, wifi and a bar on site so it was an easy choice to make.
Arriving on Sunday night, turned out to be the downfall of Monday and the rest of our road trip. It not only ruined our day, but took away from the time we planned to spend with our friends, who would be leaving us in 24 hours.
A Taste Of Home
Monday morning, Matt and I woke up early so we could call our family. Not having any mobile signal for nearly a week while in the outback, left our parents wondering if we were alive. After a brief explanation of the highlights and horrors we encountered, the conversation turned to home. Of course, with Christmas ahead, there was lots of talk of the holidays and what lies ahead for us, after Australia. Quick answer: who knows.
After a lovely catch up with Matt’s parents, we made a cup of coffee and rang my mum. We were only about halfway through a similar conversation and hadn’t even come up to Christmas yet, when Jacob came over with a serious look on his face, and asked Matt to follow him immediately.
What’s Going On??
Not sure what to do, I stayed on the phone with my mum. When Matt hadn’t returned for more than 5 minutes, I decided to end the call to see if I could help them.
I started by going back to our dorm room. Everyone was now awake, but no one in Velvet Thunder knew what was going on. They sat on the balcony outside the room, facing onto the street, where I spotted Matt, Jacob and Aaron. Confused, I went over to where they were standing.
The Witch Doctor Has Been Broken Into…
The Witch Doctor’s passenger window had been smashed by a giant rock. From the balcony where our friends were standing, the car looked absolutely fine, just as we left in the night before. The driver’s side was facing the hostel, which would explain why we hadn’t noticed the broken window until someone went to check on the car.
There was no saving the window (the only working window we had in the car, I’d like to add), and thick pieces of glass were scattered all over the street and front seats. The boys had opened the doors and the boot, trying to examine the mess; you could tell everything had been ransacked and ruined.
Immediately, I informed the hostel reception of our break in, and they called the police for us. We had time to do a quick survey of the damage but were told not to touch anything until local authorities had arrived. It was difficult to follow what sounded like a simple instruction, but we wanted to try and figure out what had been stolen.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long, and two lovely police officers came over to inspect the car and ask questions.
They took our details, an estimate of what we think could have been stolen, and information from the hostel. What I didn’t like was the response we got:
‘This happens all the time in Alice Springs’
‘Probably a bunch of teenagers’
‘When we catch them, these kids usually go in a cell for a few weeks and are then released again. It’s a bad cycle that happens around here’
‘I don’t see a need for forensics’
‘You’re lucky it wasn’t the whole car, 5 were stolen last night’
The police officers gave us a reference/file number, so we could report what had been stolen… Then they left.
My heart was crushed, and all morning I was torn between crying and screaming.
This felt like an invasion of privacy, worse than anything I’d ever felt before. I was only a few metres away, sleeping when it happened. How did I not wake up?
As a backpacker, all my life’s belongings fit into a backpack. These things I have collected over the years have value and meaning to me, and are carefully selected to help me get through anything I might encounter while on the road. Now, someone had gone through what little possessions I had, like it was nothing, taking what they liked the look of and leaving a mess for me to clean up.
We quickly came to the conclusion that lots of things were stolen, but Matt definitely had the worst of it. Jacob and Aaron had left their passports in the car overnight, but thankfully, both were still there.
With all the bad luck we’ve had so far, why can’t we catch a break!?
The End Of Our Road Trip?
Matt, Jacob, Aaron and I had a long, serious chat in the evening. No one from the Witch Doctor was ready to give up on the trip just yet, but we realised we can’t afford to keep paying out for problems we’re having with the car.
The window can be replaced in Alice Springs, but not until Thursday. We concluded it would be more dangerous to leave and drive a few days without a window, than to keep our car parked in the hostel garage and wait.
After we’ve completed Darwin and the national park (Kakadu and Litchfield), we’re going to reevaluate, and it could be the end…