Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Uluru Rocks

The last two days were phenomenal. On Tuesday morning I woke up early and hit the road to Uluru at 9:15 AM. I wanted to miss the afternoon heat of the Outback so I pretty much drove straight through and got to my dorm around 1:30 PM. There's a big complex right outside of the National Park called Ayers Rock Resort complete with a post office, supermarket, and various overnight options from camping to $500/night hotel rooms. The resort is actually pretty cool and it was designed to have a minimal environmental impact and isn't too much of a blemish on the face of the Outback. I opted for the $41 shared room which consisted of two bunkbeds and not much else. After checking in I took it easy for the rest of the day and only left the room to see Uluru by sunset. The viewing was very peaceful and it was nice to have my own car so that I could come and go as I pleased. I got back to the resort around 8 PM, ate a delicious lamb fillet, took a shower, and hit the hay around 9 PM.

Wednesday was pretty damn hectic and I think it'll be described better in timestamp format.

1:30 AM: I wake up with a start, worried that I was going to miss the sunrise. I check my watch and see that it's way too early and I pass back out. I proceed to have a nightmare about waking up at noon and missing everything that I wanted to do.

2:30 AM: I wake up again, relieved that I didn't miss the sunrise but annoyed that I keep on waking up. I pass out in a few minutes and am greeted by another nightmare about missing the sunrise.

3:00 AM: I wake up again. I'm pretty ticked off but eventually fall back asleep.

4:15 AM: I wake up again and nod in and out of consciousness before my alarm goes off at 4:40 AM. I hop out of my bunk and run to the shared showers to start my day.

5:00 AM: I turn in the key to my dorm and drive to the Uluru sunrise viewing point.

5:30 AM: I park at the viewing point. I'm one of the first people there and try to find the best place to watch the sunrise. I back my Toyota Yaris into a spot, get on the roof and wait.

6:04 AM: This is the advertised time of sunrise and a bevy of tour busses have arrived. There are a lot of old people and Asians milling around but I am the only one sitting on the roof of a Toyota Yaris. I feel special. The sky is brightening but nothing too special is happening.

6:20 AM: The sun finally peeks over the Outback and Uluru lights up in a reddish glow. It is absolutely surreal and is one of the most amazing moments of my life. The buzzing of tourists subsides and everyone stares at the sacred rock. It's hard to properly explain but all morning the rock sat there, looking dull and dark reddish-brown, even as the sky lit up, the suddenly it just started glowing in an intense red and I understood why the rock meant so much to the Aborigines. I'm not a religious guy but the moment was scarily spiritual.

6:40 AM: My boner has subsided and I get off of the roof of my Toyota Yaris. I could have spent more time there, taking a walk around the base of the rock and whatnot, but I want to get to King's Canyon before it gets too hot. I tell the rock that I love her and start my drive to King's Canyon.

7:30 AM: I stop in Curtain Springs for gas. They have an Internet kiosk so I check my email for $A1/5 minutes. My mother is worried about my safety in the Outback so I send her a message to let her know I'm ok. Doesn't she know that I'm the master of road trips?

8:00 AM: I'm getting tired to I accelerate and turn up my music. I think I see a deer grazing on the side of the road. All of a sudden it stands up and hops into the middle of the road, right in the path of my car. I swerve into the other lane and it feels like I missed him by inches. I look in the rearview and the kangaroo bounds across the road, completely unaffected by his near-death encounter.

9:45 AM: After ~350 KM I reach King's Canyon. It doesn't look like much but it's called The Grand Canyon of Australia. I slather on some sunscreen and put on my M's hat. Time to get physical.

9:50 AM: I drop a deuce. I'm very glad that I took care of this early and didn't have to deal witth eurge to defecate while hiking.

10:00 AM: I finally start the hike. There are a lot of signs warning about the heat and the exertion and whatnot but it's only 6 KM, how hard can it be? Supposedly the hike takes 4.5 hours but I'm shooting for 3 so that I can be back by 1 PM, before we hit our high of 39 degrees Celcius.

10:05 AM: I take my first break. The first part of the hike is straight up, from the canyon floor to the rim. It's pretty brutal. I'm sweating like Patrick Ewing at the free-throw line and I've already downed half of my water bottle. If I didn't have this stupid blog I might have turned back but I wanted cool pictures from the rim so I pressed on.

10:10 AM: Break number two. I mean, the canyon doesn't look that big, WHY AM I STILL CLIMBING!!!

10:20 AM: I reach the rim, swallow the pre-vomit saliva, and start to navigate my way around the canyon.

10:30 AM: I catch up to a French couple. The woman does not look happy. I overhear the man say "Sava?(how's it going?)" to his girlfriend and she responds with "Sava Bon(It's going well)" before launching into a tirade that probably translated into something like, "I hate you for taking me on this trip, I want to go back to Paris and drink wine and wave my white flag. Screw you, you frog-eating mother-effer." It was a very impressive tirade and I gave her a golf clap.

11:00 AM: I reach the Garden of Eden. It's a spot toward the back of the canyon with large pools of water and lush greenery. Apparently the rock is porous and holds water like a sponge. When the pools start to evaporate, more water seeps out of the rock. It's actually pretty cool. There are a lot of imformative signs on the walk and the I enjoy them.

11:15 AM: I run into a group of 5 tourists and a guide who I call the Asian Steve Irwin. He is Asian and is a hiking guide but he talks with the same passion and enthusiasm that Steve Iriwn did. He asks how my hike is going and I respond that I'm glad I got started early. He launches into a tirade over how hot it gets up on the rim and how it catches a lot of people off guard and how he once led a group where a guy wasn't drinking water and he had to carry the guy to shade and start an IV and the guy could have died and all that good stuff. He started to talk about the wildlife too but I had heard enough and slowly, without taking my eyes off of him, started to back away. Once I was over the ridge, I turned my back and sprinted off, careful not to look back. He was a wierd dude.

11:35 AM: I reach my Toyota Yaris and get out of dodge. I look in my rearview mirror and the Asian Steve Irwin is nowhere in sight. I breathe a sigh of relief and start the drive back to Alice Springs.

11:55 AM: I stop at King's Creek to buy water and gas. I'm still sweating like Ewing and I'm worried that it might never stop.

12:30 PM: I finally stop sweating. The AC in my Toyota Yaris feels good.

1:00 PM: I stop in Mt. Ebenezer for lunch. The wings are $A2 each and the jo-jos are $A3.50. I buy 3 wings and some jo-jos. Everything is delicious. I am the only person in the restaurant and I gaze out the window reflecting on life and the pursuit. Suddenly a 40-person tour bus pulls up and I see old people start to get out. Time to hit the road.

4:00 PM: I get back to Alice Springs. I check into my hostel, take a shower then crawl into bed. I'm exhausted and want to go to sleep but I fire up my laptop and watch Season 3 of The Wire to help ease me into slumber.

11:30 PM: I finish Season 3 of the Wire and have goosebumps up and down my body. What an amazing show. I shutdown my laptop and turn off the lights. My German roommate, who lay down at 9 PM, can now go to sleep. I dream about nothing and wake up at 8 AM feeling great. Australia is awesome.


Dr. Pauly said...

Can't wait to see pics.

Otis said...

You and the doc have made me so fucking jealous in the past three weeks. Fuckos. Stay safe, man.

Matthew said...

Hmm, the Wire is great. I TOLD YOU SO! Glad to hear it was religious, I'll have to make it there someday.

Jimmy said...

You going to New Zealand at all?

heybutch said...

wow. i've been sitting here all weekend trying to find a good opening sentence for a cover letter to go with my resume. and you create a page like this.
i feel like i have now been to uluru. thank you.

whenever i think about the hand that the aborigines were dealt, i remind myself that whatever one human can do, most of us can. if i had been there, would i have participated? would i have been able to think of a way to stop it? nah. i get no strokes, because i was raised as a wimp in the silver spoon era.

but wimps like me still find plenty of other species to stomp on. i wonder if future generations will be proud of our legacy? glad you made me think about it. i’ve got to get much more serious. thanks, dude.

Anonymous said...

Where is Brandon? Hope you are safe. Enjoy reading your blog and nothing new on it in the last 7 days. Are you in areas w/ very limited internet access? Take care and enjoy each day.

Connie said...

haha! I love the part about the Asian Steve Irwin. lmao.