I caught the little four-seater plane from Alice Springs and flew out north-east across the towering red escarpments of the MacDonnell Ranges. It is a majestic landscape of dramatic bluffs and gorges, of wide creek-beds and towering ghost gums. But after an hour or so, the scene changed. Vast desert plains stretched below, the flat earth etched faintly with the traces of different vegetations and different geologies, the whole dotted with neat little trees, like so many lollipops, each casting its small shadow in the early morning sun.

And then, amidst this oddly calming scene, there was a little ...


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