Out back in the Outback

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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs
December 3rd 2007
Published: December 28th 2007
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I'm tall, Shortie isn't!  I'm tall, Shortie isn't!  I'm tall, Shortie isn't!

this was my Outback guide, appropriately named, Shortie!
Hey kids! Sorry I have been such a blogger slacker! Geez, this was almost a month ago....I'll do my best to catch up on all the wonders that have been Australia! I spent a couple days in Perth, on the West Coast, before heading to the Outback! My first realization (after getting over the culture shock, I mean, these people have highways, and speak english, and most of all no one is staring at me! Oh, and the food on the menus is absolutely normal! Salads, burgers, and pasta?) was that there were flies everywhere! You think the wisconsin mosquitos are bad? Trying sitting outside in the Outback for 10 minutes and see how many flies invade your personal space! It's pretty funny watching people walk down the street because we are all swatting at our faces every 15 seconds!

My first day in the Outback I had some time to prepare for my Uluru adventure the next day, and I did that by buying sunscreen ($30!!! expensive country, but also they KNOW you NEED IT!) and a hat to keep my face in the shade.....later realizing that a hat only makes you and your head hotter by trapping the heat in! Why did everyone tell me to remember to wear a hat?!>! Anyways, I wandered around the super small yet interesting town of Alice Springs looking at amazing Aboriginal Art and shopping for the elusive hat. I also was lucky enough to find a free didgeridoo (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didgeridoo ) lesson and spent an hour numbing my lips and trying to wrap my brain around the art of circular breathing. Please! I had finally mastered the scuba breathing without a mask (don't breathe through your nose! difficult after years of yoga!) and now he was asking me to blow into didgeridoo and the same time I was inhaling through my nose? Meanwhile, after about 10 minutes of trying to make musical sounds from a giant hollow stick my whole face started to go numb! After a while I was laughing too hard to make anything musical happen....but it was great fun!

The next day I had to get up for a 6am pickup at the hotel and off for a 4 hour bus ride into the Outback! Although my fabulous guides tried to make 4 hours of flat desert nothing interesting by telling local Aboriginal stories and jokes, I pretty much slept the entire way! 😊 The great news is that I woke up just in time for the contest to see who could spot the GIANT rock of Uluru first (you can spot it from about 80 km away!) and of course, I won! A bottle of champagne! Sweet! We first stopped at the Kata Tjuta National Park, which is another crazy rock outcropping near Uluru. When we got off the bus, the heat of over 100 degrees F hit me like a bus! I felt like I was in Vegas again! Home sweet home.. 😊 Seriously, the rock formations reminded me of Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, and the heat really pulled it all together! We did about a 45 minute hike through the canyon, then went over to the cultural center and learned a little bit more about the Aboriginals and their sacred feelings about the rock. I had been debating if I would do "the climb" as it is an amazing hike and a once in a lifetime opportunity, but Uluru is very sacred to the local people and you are repeatedly reminded in the center how you should respect them and NOT climb. I read in my guide book that it is the equivalent of us running and jumping over the table on the altar in the Notre Dame Cathedral! Well, I didn't have to decide, since it was 43 degrees C, the hike was closed! Besides, you would need about 4L of water just to hike to the top it was soooo hot!

We did two amazing hikes around the rock and the guides were just awesome at pointing out all of the caves, telling Aboriginal stories, and sacred legends around the dents and formations in the rocks. I have to say the sheer size and colors of it are absolutely amazing! Afterwards, we had a amazing BBQ and sunset view of the rock for about 2 hours! They had delicious sausages, burgers, and a wide array of veggies and salads! While we drank champagne, ate to our hearts content, and watched the sunset in the Outback! It was AWESOME!

The drive home was also incredible, as there were about 15 times the stars in the sky then I've ever seen in MY LIFE! It was UNBELIEVABLE! Although the trip was about 20 hours round trip on a tiny cramped bus, I met some really fun people, learned a lot about the history and culture of Australia, and was in AWE of this amazing wonder of the world!

Geez, flight to NZ is leaving, I must go! I hope to get a few more Aussie stories up this week before Mason and I hit the road in our campervan on Sunday! Merry Christmas to everyone! xoxo

Additional photos below
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new friend james, helped me finish my prizenew friend james, helped me finish my prize
new friend james, helped me finish my prize

i won a bottle of champagne for being the first on the bus to spot Uluru!

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