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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Sunrise at Uluru

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 21 January 2007 | Views [7043] | Comments [1]

Kangaroo warning sign

Kangaroo warning sign

Today was one of the most exciting days of my young life! I spent heaps of time at Uluru. I actually woke up at 5:15 because Leith’s alarm didn’t go off, and as a result, we all woke up late. Leith got us all up in a hurry and told us to leave our swags. I couldn’t find my other shoe for moment, but I found it thankfully. We all hurried into the van and we almost forgot to pick up Monica, a girl from Germany. After that, we raced off to Uluru. It was a close call, but we didn’t miss it. On the way, I saw the silhouette of Ayer’s Rock. It looked just like a postcard image. We continued on to the lookout, and I can say that it is so amazing! The Rock changes colors like a chameleon. I took so many pictures, although I couldn’t get whole rock in the picture because we were in a spot closer to it. As I saw the rock’s many different colors, Leith got out the breakfast stuff. I made myself some peanut butter toast and made some billy tea. It was so much fun eating breakfast at sunrise at the world’s largest monolith. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the Rock. We spent a long time and we were the last coach to pack up. We cleaned up all our breakfast and next up was another thing I came here for: a walk around Uluru. In all, it is about 9 km around the Rock (5.5 miles). Leith asked us who wanted to climb Uluru, and no one raised their hand. Leith said “good, the climb is closed.” We drove to the bus drop off site, and Leith told us we had 2 ½ hours to walk around the base. The flies weren’t out and it was sunny and cool. It was the perfect day for a long walk. At the beginning of the walk, I saw a section of the rock that was actually split. I could see the blue sky through it. I got a photo of that and continued on. I walked through several areas where photography is prohibited. After those areas, I got so many pictures of unique features of the Rock. I then took a video of me walking at a part of Uluru, and then a picture of me standing on this unique rock feature. I’m not sure how to explain it though. I then stopped to fill my water bottle. The Anangu tell people traveling in the Outback to always carry plenty of water, and not wait until you’re thirsty; that you’ll be sure to survive here. They call drinking water “kapi.” I continued on and kept snapping pictures and then visited Mutitjulu, which is a water hole respected by the Anangu as the home of Wanampi, an ancestral water snake. According to Anangu legend, Wanampi has the power to control the source of the water. Mutitjulu is the most reliable water hole around Uluru, and wildlife still depends on it for survival. I continued on and saw some Aboriginal rock paintings and then got a picture of myself on a part of the rock.

As I continued, the sun was rising over the Rock, and I got a really good photo of that.

At about 9:15, I had completed the 9 km Uluru base walk. I’m so happy I did it. By the time I got back, most of the group was already at the starting point, and the climb had been opened. However, nobody from our group chose to climb Uluru, and I was very happy about that. I tried talking these guys from England out of climbing the rock, but they still did it. If the rock had no special significance to the Anangu, then I definitely would have climbed it. However, I see visiting Australia as a privilege, not a right. I would want people here to respect me as a traveler, but at the same time I have to respect the fact that this is their country. Leith picked us up at 9:30 and he was proud of us that no one climbed the Rock. Our next stop was back to the campground to retrieve our swag rolls. The plan this morning was to roll up our swags and then see the sunrise, but we all woke up a half hour late and that ruined the plan. We drove back and the two Irish guys were there sleeping. We all rolled up our swags and we packed everything into the bus. Today we had a long drive to Alice Springs. We stopped at the convenience store, and I had no cash, so Harold let me borrow some money for a Diet Coke. The next ATM would be at Erldunda. The long drive was underway and the first stop would be Mt. Conner, more than 100 km away. I was focused on finding a kangaroo warning sign to get a photo of. I really wanted that as an Aussie memento. As we drove though many miles of red-sanded, fly-ridden Outback country, I still had that dreamy feeling over me. It’s a great feeling to have accomplished something that I’ve always dreamed of. We got to Mt. Conner about two hours into our drive for a quick photo stop. Mt. Conner is often mistaken for Uluru, but it is a tabletop mountain and not a solid rock. It also has no special meaning to the Aborigines because there is a salt flat at the base, and if there is no life, it has no meaning to the indigenous Australians. We stayed there for about 5 minutes and then drove toward Mt. Ebenezer, which is where we would have lunch. We drove on and I saw cows near the road a few times. Hitting a cow would probably shatter the windshield rather than just the headlight. We got to Mt. Ebenezer at about 1:00. There were a lot of Aborigines there, and one of them showed us some handmade necklaces for sale. For lunch I had leftover stir-fry, which was so good even cold. After eating, I got an ice cream at the shop. J.C. helped me out with some money. Leith then introduced me to this bloke who rides his camels around the Outback. He has two of them. I pet one of the camels, but they sure do smell. Leith wanted to grab a pie and coffee, so we had a long time to relax. After almost an hour, we cleaned up, and we were on the road again, this time to Erldunda. If I were on my own, I would drive across the entire Outback. I tried talking Leith into driving down to the South Australia border, but I had no luck. A few hours after driving through the sun-parched Outback, we stopped at Erldunda. I withdrew some money at the ATM and got some stuff to drink and then paid back Harold and J.C. At the Erldunda station (which is what ranches are out here), we had a few minutes before continuing along the Stuart Highway. I saw four dead kangaroos on the side of the road. Leith called them a “wasaroo.” It’s a shame that more than 3 million of them are killed each year. There were sections of the highway from the recent rains that you could see so much green. Leith told us that it’s so rare to see that much green out here. At about 4:30, we stopped at the camel farm for a chance to ride a camel. There I saw a dingo and some gray kangaroos. I paid $5 to ride a camel. I was thinking it would be more fun in Egypt, but I did it now since I have the opportunity to do it in the Australian Outback. Francesca, a girl from Germany here with her mom, took pictures of me riding the camel and then trotting around the yard.

Hey, riding a camel is really fun! Afterward, I read about the history of camels in Australia. They were first brought here in 1840. I then took pictures of the gray kangaroos, and then it was time to head back to the Alice. A short while outside of Alice Springs, Leith invited us all to the Town & Country pub for dinner. For only $10, I chose fish and chips. I’ve had so much fun on this tour, and on my trip. I wish I could always travel and never go home. Next time I come to Australia, I’m getting a work visa. Just outside Alice Springs, Leith pointed out a kangaroo warning sign. He allowed me to jump out for a photo. I was so happy that I found one. Leith also took a picture of me with the sign. We then drove into Alice Springs and the people staying at Toddy’s were the first to get dropped off. Francesca and her mother asked me to meet them at the front at 8:10, and we could all walk up together. At the reception desk, I met this very beautiful girl from Switzerland named Lena. I went to my room and relaxed for a few minutes before walking up to the internet café. I emailed everyone telling them about my Outback adventures and how we hit that poor kangaroo. I also stopped at the opal shop, looking for a vial to put my Outback dirt in, but they didn’t sell them. I then went back to Toddy’s at around 7:30. I went to see if Lena wanted to hang out, but she was busy. At 8:10, I went to meet up with Harold, Francesca, and her mom and we all started out toward the pub for dinner. In Alice Springs there are many Aborigines and I always say hello to them as they pass by because I have a lot of respect for them. It was about a 2 km walk to the pub, and we got there at about 8:30. Leith wasn’t there yet. I met these two very pretty girls: Lindsey from UK, and an Aussie named Tana. Tana’s fiancé is the co-owner of the Rock Tour. I ordered a Diet Coke and then chatted with the girls until my fish & chips came. Leith then showed up. We all ate together and it was a great moment for all of us. I’m really going to miss everyone on this trip. It really was one of the highlights of my life. After we ate, we all went across the street to Bo Jangles, a western-style bar. I just got a Red Bull and I hung out. I talked with this girl who is a flight attendant and then I met Leith’s girlfriend. She’s really cute too! I hung out at Bo Jangles for over an hour and then decided to call it a night. Leith told me he’s proud of me that I work so hard to travel. He walked me out and I thanked him for the tour. I walked back emotionally to Toddy’s and checked my email. Cassie and Mr. Hanley wrote me back. Mr. Hanley disputed the difference between a gorge and a canyon. I’ll have to check it out when I get home. At about 12:30, I laid down. I have a full free day tomorrow, so I’m unsure what I’ll do. I’ve been up over 19 hours today and I’m counting sheep now. See you tomorrow evening.

Tags: sightseeing

Comments

1

that bullshit

  mat Sep 9, 2009 9:55 PM

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