"So it begins. I moved totally and completely out of my room at DLC since according to their stupid policy one has to pay extra to stay over break. Supposedly they need the space for paying conference guests...psh...I wonder what the conference guests will think of the cockroach that is still stuck to my wall."
I flew out to Alice Springs at 6:05am on the morning of the 9th. It was super hot there, and very dry, upon exiting the aircraft my hair instantly stood on end from the dryness. I was not impressed with the backpackers I stayed at (Toddy's), although the people employed there turned out to be the most friendly in my hostel experiences. Since I arrived at 2 in the afternoon I had some time to explore the town, not needed, Alice Springs is absolutely void of anything to do, it is more of just a jumping off point for tours out to the Red Center (Uluru etc.) I stayed at Toddy's only for the night, meeting Corelie, a Swiss student who was also from Macquarie and was going on the same trip that I was the next day!! Fancy that, we had not met prior to bunking in the room!
|The first of many 'look, my face!' pictures|
The next morning was when things really got started. Leaving the hostel at 5am, we picked up the rest of our group at another hotel. There were only eight of us and our guide on the trip, this turned out to be a real blessing because it meant that our group could get places faster, ask questions more freely, get to know each other well, and bond quite quickly (most of the other tours had at least 20 people if not more). We drove out of AS as the sun was rising over the outback, it was quite beautiful but this was just the beginning! the four hour trip took us farther and farther from everywhere. Along the way, Corelie and I measured the prices of everything by comparing the price of a container of Tim Tams at all of our various stops (the prices rose from $4 in AS, to $6.95 by the time we reached Ayers Rock).
|We stopped here for firewood. Note: this was not the road we took, just an offshoot from the paved one we were actually on.|
"When Australia was squeezed from West and East by techtonic plate movement, it created mountains tall enough to have ice on top. The ice melted and huge chunks of rock fell off into the sea that covered this part of Australia, then they were covered by earth as the seas dried. Then Australia was squeezed again from North and South and these rocks were pushed to the surface a little, exposing them again to the upper world (scientists believe Uluru is a massive rock that extends down into the earth much farther, what we see is just a small bit of it). So basically, KJ and Uluru are Giant earth pimples." -Ariana Flood, Journal entry April 10th 2011.
|The Kata Tjuta (Aboriginal name) or Olgas (Settler name)|
|Sunset over KJ|
|Yes, I was awake this early, and no the sunrise was not any more beautiful than the sunset|
|part of Uluru|
|The pawprint on the left, a faceless and armless woman on the right. See it?|
|In the swag|
Kings Canyon was also quite amazing. Though apparently it is rusting. that is where the red color comes from. Kings canyon is like the Badlands, the paths were marked, but mostly we were just walking along the rocks and along the canyon. At one point one could shout and actually hear the full echo, it was really cool. Also, since our tour group was so small we were able to move quickly and finished the walk in only 3 hours with plenty of time to stop and take pictures, we just didn't have to wait for people to catch up or rest etc. We finished with the canyon at 10am, just before the thousands of flies started coming out, and departed from the Red Center taking our 6 hour trip back to Alice Springs.
|According to Aboriginal legend, these are all warrior men who were turned to stone in case they were needed later|
two anecdotes of AS before my departure
"Getting ready to leave Toddy's I was greated by a young police officer who asked if I had found anything missing (sort of an odd question, how does one find something if it is missing...). Apparently the person a couple doors down had been burglurized in the middile of the night as a couple of locals had opened her door and stolen her backpack. We had been warned that AS was not a friendly place after dark, but this truly brought it to reality........Unrelatedly, later, while I was waiting for the shuttle for the airport, I was approached by a couple of young men who asked to use my toilet. I laughed and told them it was not MY toilet and as far as I was concerned they could go ahead. whilst one of them left, the other sat with me and introduced himself as Guy from Israel. He and Yanni (the other) had been out in the desert doing a reptile survey for the past week. Yanni joined us again and Guy treated us all to Paul's local iced coffee which Guy insisted was the best in Australia (pretty good though more milk than coffee). We chatted for about a half hour and I was invited to share a taxi to the airport with them after lunch, but since I had already paid for the shuttle I declined promising to meet up with them upon their arrival at the airport instead. I did end up finding them again while we waited for our respective flights and they sang for me a song they were planning to put up on Youtube, entitled "the crayfish funnyfarm song" to the tune of Yellow Submarine. Someday perhaps I will be able to find this video and these two awesome guys again." -Ariana Flood, Journal Entry April 13th 2011
|Doing homework at the airport and drying out my shoes after washing them|