FIRST TIME IN A HOSTEL
Upon arriving at the Alice Springs airport, we took a bus tour to our hostel. There are buses constantly taking tourists to their hotel/hostel. In 1992, Australia's High Court finally recognized traditional ownership of the land of the native population, proclaiming that the legal doctrine of terra nullius (claiming that land belonged to no one and thus was open to colonization) did not apply to Australia at the time of British settlement. This allowed the indigenous population to get back control of the use of some of the land, including in the Outback.
Since we came to Alice Springs in the afternoon, after dropping out things at the Alice Lodge Backpacker hostel, we went on to explore the town. It has both European and Aboriginal influences- the town's focal point, the Todd Mall, hosts a number of Aboriginal art galleries and community events. Unfortunately, since we were there on Easter Sunday, everything was closed, including most of the restaurants. The city felt sleepy and abandoned, with only backpacker strolling around along very shy indigenous Aboriginal population.
Word of advice if you are staying here and taking these types of tours- make sure you leave your bags at the reception by 6:30pm the night before you go on your tour, otherwise you will end up having to take you luggage with you, as the reception is closed at 5am when the tour picks you up.
The stay in this hostel made us realize that all these trips to exotic locations and nice hotels we have taken in the past, may have spoiled our kid. This was her first encounter with a hostel. She was terrified- the room was bare, just metal beds. There were few spiders in the corner. The bathroom and the shower were communal. You could see she missed the nice hotels we stayed in in the past, as this was something completely new, and asked that we wait in front of the bathroom while she took the shower.
Fast forward three days - after sleeping in dusty swags, in the desert, under the stars, with various wild life around her- when we returned to the same hostel (even the same room) she was so thrilled! Suddenly, that hostel seemed like a five star hotel for her, and she didn't need us anymore to go with her to the bathroom, and she wanted to hangout with all the other cool (college) kids in the communal area where everyone was on their laptop. Maybe we didn't do such a bad job as parents after all.