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Sunday, July 14, 2013

2nd July - Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads

I was up early this morning to travel by Alice Springs to Ayres Rock (Uluru). Just 450km to travel on straight roads that stretch far into the horizon. Even the hill ranges are few and far between. Just miles and miles of sand and shrubbery. The coach driver informed us not to worry about the weird noise - the mechanics had ensured that there were no problems with the suspension - 450 km with one side of the coach lower than the other, and nothing in between the two destinations. Hmmmmm. Our first break was 90 minutes in at a camel farm. Camels were used to cross Australia before the railway, and once built, the Afghan handlers were told to shoot them. They didn't and now there's a million of the things eating their way through the vegetation, causing kangaroos etc. to starve. It was the first building we had seen in the meantime. Actually in the 5 and a half hours we were travelling, we'd only passed six cattle stations, each over 1 millions acres, and the driver knew the names of the managers of everyone. Last week it had rained, but he told us the story of one of the station manager's 8 year old son. He saw rain for the first tie when he was 8, and he was so traumatised by the experience that he fainted.

We came round a corner (or should \I say, the corner) and into sight came a large red monolith. I got excited - there was Ayres Rock. In fact it was Mount Connor. There are miles and miles of nothingness with huge red hills every now and then. There was a lookout here and a toilet. The other thing you noticce, are the flies, the bloody flies. They don't bite, just buzz around your head incessantly.

 When Ayres Rock finally does come into site it's the colours that strike you. Deep red against a blue sky. Nothingness around it, no foothills, no lead in, no background, just a gigantic rock. nearby, maybe 20 miles away, are the Kaja Tjutu or Olgas. There are globe like mountains, almost like a pile of horse manure in shape. They look like from another world, perhaps they are - the shock that split Godwana.

In the early evening, we were picked up for the Sounds of Silence dinner. This is world famous and has featured in all the travel magazines as the 'thing' to do before you die. We were driven to a spot with a perfect view of Uluru and the Olgas to watch the sunset change the rocks to different colours. This was close to he wild, but we were served canapes and wine, (lemon lime and bitters in my case). Crocodile was one of the flavours I tried, along with kanga

roo, barramundi and desert rat (tastes like chicken), followed by lemon myrtle sponge.

In the meantime, the stars had come out in the night sky, with the Southern Cross, Scorpio and the Milky Way in full view. There were two telescopes set up, one on Saturn, with its rings and moons, and one on a black nothingness, that through a telescope looked like diamonds on velvet - another galaxy beyond our own.

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