Friday, 3 May 2013

Ayers Rock - Uluru

Palya (Aboriginal hello)
Several days ago I flew to Alice Springs. The scenery changed quite dramatically as we flew. Terracotta colours combined with sage, ashen grey like ground. The sun is so strong here, if you miss just a tiny bit of flesh with sunscreen you are going to feel it. The red colour in the outback is iron oxide and it is literally rusting away. It is very arid with not much water. There is water underground however and there is a tree with a white bark called red river gum tree. Dig down a couple of feet beside it and you would have access to water. Alice Springs is a small aboriginal town and not safe to go out in at night on your own. However the hotel had a nice restaurant so all was well. Met up with some new guests on our tour. There is a Wild West style saloon called Bojangles. It had saloon doors and lots of silly rules and artefacts. There is a "beer and bullshit" corner that I felt would not go amiss perhaps in the Pendle Witch or the Hart! An early rise and we had 10 hours on the road on the way to Uluru. Stopped several times at service stations which just appear from nowhere in the outback. Now the most irritating thing I have discovered so far are the flies. Thanks Sue for warning me and lending me your hat net. It is a godsend. Will not win any beauty contests with it on but it is practical. A little way along the road and we had a puncture. All out in the flies for a half hour in the sun. Further along we came across a dingo. Thank goodness it wasn't around when we were out. Other wild animals around include camels, cows and wild horses. Lots of eagles and saw one eating a cat. Further along we stopped to visit Kings Creek canyon. My shoes are alway red as are the bottom of my legs and socks. A little later we came across what's know locally as Fuluru. It looks like Ayers Rock but isn't. Many people are fooled, however when you see the real thing you can tell the difference.
The camels can be a real problem here as if there is a waterhole they can suck up 100 litres at a time and there is none left for the other animals.
Around 7pm we reached Yalara (the Ayers Rock resort). We were supposed to have a BBQ where you buy the food from the hotel and cook yourself but were too tired so pizza it was. At 5.30 we were up and ready to go to sunrise at Ayers Rock. The Anangu people here have the land and they look at the rock as sacred. They do not like you to climb although there is a facility to. However it is very dangerous and 40 people have died doing so. The people get very upset by this and once you learn more about the culture you realise why. It is a matter of respect. The sunrise was amazing. The rock is a monolith, that is one solid piece of rock. They reckon it goes on underground for around 7kms. The Northern Territories are so large that you could fit in the Uk 7 times alone. Closely in the park is Kata Tjuta (also known as the Olgas). They are magnificent too in their own rights. We visited the cultural centre where I read all about their beliefs and culture. Very interesting. Lastly we had a walk to the waterfalls under the rock. The paintings on the walls were magnificent. The young boys when maturing were taken by their fathers to learn about manhood. A quick shower and out again for Sounds of Silence and sunset at the rock. It was in the middle of nowhere with the rock behind. Sparkling wine and canap├ęs with the didgeridoo player behind. After sunset we had a bush tucker buffet under the stars. Wow. Lots of wine and a talk about the stars with the lights out. Saw part of the Milky Way. Magical. All too soon we were back at the hotel and dancing to a band. A great day.