Uluru/Ayers Rock

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

I just knew when we flew in that this was going to be the highlight of our trip. The soil was a deep red martian like dust and all the vegetation was dry bush and outback. When we got to the Lost Camel Resort we were greeted by some of the nicest hosts you could ever ask for and service was perfect. The colors and shapes of the furniture were very bold and southwest in style, as was the adobe like architecture of the place. No sooner had we dropped off our bags, we were headed on a big party bus to see the sunset at Ayers Rock (Uluru). They have not had rain here in a very long time and are in a desperate drought, so we were surprised to see it start to rain on the way there. Keep in mind that we are going to an outdoor dinner with all the trimmings, table cloths, buffet and such so this was not looking too good at this point. As soon as we arrived, we got off the bus, climbed the hill and the sight of the rock just jumped out at us through the drizzle. Suddenly it stopped raining and a double rainbow appeared over Uluru and the rock began to glow. Our hosts had open bottles and glasses of champagne for us as well as crepes of kangaroo, crocodile, and emu.

 Pool at our hotel

Pool at our hotel

 Uluru from our room

Uluru from our room

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 Rainbow over Ayers Rock

Rainbow over Ayers Rock

After our crepes and champagne, we sat down to watch the sunset from these great round tables and were grouped with others whom we became instant friends with. As the sun began to set, we made our way to the buffet that had a terrific selection of local foods. As the sun began to set, something amazing happened. Since they don't have many street lights here (they don't want the light pollution to mess up the sky at night) the stars were everywhere. You could just reach up and grab the milky way. As it got darker, we heard the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and then an astronomer came out and explained whey there was no north star in this part of the hemisphere. You had to find the southern cross to determine your direction and he showed us how. We had a great time looking at the stars and planets through telescopes they brought out for us to use and then headed back to our hotel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today we were picked up for our sunrise tour of Uluru with our Aboriginal tour guide from Anangu Tours. Happy Reid was our guide and she had a New Zealander translate for her. It was incredibly cold this morning in the upper 30's to low 40's (degrees Fahrenheit). We were quite underdressed for this adventure but our guide had hot coffee and tea for us and got us to the site just in time after a wonderful breakfast. It was incredible to watch the color of the rock change with time from a deep purplish red to this bright red orange glowing ball of fire! Happy showed us the various plants and things in the bush that were used for food and hunting. She also made fire and then showed us the first glue stick that was invented over thousands of years ago from dry bush flowers ground into a powder in a wooden coolamon and then heated on a wooden stick to form a black glue used to adhere quartz stones to sticks for slicing open wild game that was caught. The glue like substance is known as spinaflex and is mounted on malga wood. It basically looks like a stick with a big black ball on the end of it. When it takes two days to carve a wooden bowl with a piece of quartz it's pretty handy to have some of this to repair any cracks that come up.

We watched in amazement as people held onto a very thin chain and climbed Uluru. One misstep and you would easily fall to your death! We also saw some inch ants that are like fire ants only a lot bigger and much more aggressive when they swarm. This afternoon we must leave this lovely place and head for new adventures in Sydney at the historic Rocks, The Blue Mountains, and the Hunter Valley.

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 Sunset at Ayers Rock, preparing for a dinner outdoors and a chat about the stars beginning with the "Southern Cross".

Sunset at Ayers Rock, preparing for a dinner outdoors and a chat about the stars beginning with the "Southern Cross".

 As good as it gets, wine, emu, crocodile, grubs, and a host of local fare.

As good as it gets, wine, emu, crocodile, grubs, and a host of local fare.

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 Sunrise at Uluru.  The rock glows at early light.

Sunrise at Uluru.  The rock glows at early light.

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 As the sun rises, the red dissipates

As the sun rises, the red dissipates

 On the way to meet "Happy Reid" our Aboriginal guide to Uluru

On the way to meet "Happy Reid" our Aboriginal guide to Uluru

 Happy showing us what to do with local materials to make glue.

Happy showing us what to do with local materials to make glue.

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 Now you know what the ring is for.

Now you know what the ring is for.

 Some tools of the trade in Aboriginal culture used in the desert

Some tools of the trade in Aboriginal culture used in the desert

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