Seperate ways....

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January 4th 2011
Published: January 15th 2011
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Whilst I was trying to catch some sleep in the hospital on Tuesday morning Mark got to enjoy an extra morning of the tour before bussing back up to Alice Springs to join me. Hence I'll let him write the bulk of this post!

Alrighty then. What to say, what to say? Uh. Well. I guess I got back to camp at about 23:00. Our intrepid bus driver Ben was waiting up. Very noble. I filled him in on unfolding events and he pushed a plate of food that had been saved infront of me. Two 'Roo steaks, two buffalo sausages, a single slice of tomato and a single potato wedge. Hunger satisfied I went to next door's unoccupied camp to secure a tent. For all I know any of the ones I knocked on in our allocated site may or may not have had bodies in. Scanning the area with my torch for nasties I was stunned to find the camp wasn't entirely unoccupied afterall. Turns out there were a couple bedded down in the middle by the unlit fire. Though they were definately NOT sleeping. Locating a tent I popped on some music to drown the 'neighbours' and had a can bundy and coke to entice the sandman my way. Sadly the night had other ideas and even though the non natural moans had died down the winds were still up and the tent sounded like it was likely to be unroofed at any moment.

So fitfull sleep later it's 4am amd and a quick shower and breakkie of toast sees us on our way to Uluru for sunrise. Arrived in plenty of time to make it up to the viewing platform and jostle with the 300 people all there for the same thing. Not quite the solitudinal outback expeience but quite beautiful. You be the judge of the photos. Then it's off for the 9.4km base walk around Uluru's base. alloted 2:30 -3:00 hours. at a pleseant strolling pace perfect timing. The thing you don't get is Uluru isn't a perfect jelly mold shape like the photos seem to show. It's pitted and holed and caved and peppered with water holes and the most amazing erosion marks. It's also marked with photoless spots where spiritual events unfold. Quite frankly if you want the full experience you really have to go there.

Walk done we get a local Aborigine called Sammy and his translator to talk to us about the stories painted on the base of a small section of the rock. We get to hear the tales, a little about aborigine life and ceremonies and touch where table rocks have been worn smooth previously buy hundreds of years of ochre paint making for the paintings. Quite humbling. We learnt about why you're quiet at a water hole. It's not religion. It's common sense. You talk and the Emu's there run and don't go back. Then you go hungry. Also you wait till the leave to grab the last ones out. If you catch 'em at the hole or pick off the first in line then the others are traumatised and don't come back. Then you go hungry. All eminently practical. We thanks Sammy and hopped the bus back to camp. Lunch was chicken burgers and tension. I was keeping an eye out for every departing Adventure Tours bus to work out which one was my ride back to Alice Springs and Gwen. With every vehicle that left I feared my ride had forgotten me. Unfounded as I soon met Colin who was giving me the 6 hour ride to Toddy's hostel and, hopefully, Gwen. With the frgment of mobile signal I called the hostel and asked to extend our stay a day. Since they'd lost our booking it was going to be difficult. They said not to worry and we'd sort it out when I got there. :@S. I later found out, when I checked in, Gwen had arrived an hour before my call. What point about ' Mr Snake Bite Proposal' did the receptionists not exchange information on. Anyway checked in and found a Gwen alive and well and pleased to see me. Speaking of which honey what did you do that afternoon?

Whilst he was on the bus I spent my afternoon in the hostel room (having booked the extra night from the hospital), mostly reading Unseen Academicals & napping! It was good to finally have some peace & quiet! Mark joined me sometime around 7pm and we popped next door to the bar to get some mediocre pub grub.

Additional photos below
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16th January 2011

I really love the photo captions ;)

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