Sunday, June 21, 2009

Red Center

Today we see Ayer’s Rock!!

Caught our flight at 11:35 and landed at Ayer’s Rock around 1:00. The flight was relatively empty, Michael and I had an entire row, both sides of the aisle, to ourselves! Nice. We caught just a few glimpses of the rock from the windows, and wow. Just wow. I couldn’t wait to see it up close. Got out into the tiny airport (used a stair case to get off the plane) and got our car. We got upgraded from a compact to a Camry. On our drive to the resort we caught several more glimpses of the rock, getting bigger and bigger. We could also see Katu Tjuta off in the distance, which is big in area like Uluru, but more like individual domes. We got to the resort and found our hotel pretty easily. We stayed at “Sails in the Desert” which is the higher end hotel in the resort complex. It seemed really nice while walking around and finding our room, had a beautiful heated pool & the room lived up to our expectations! We had a private hot tub and very spacious balcony lined with bougainvilleas, overlooking the pool. After settling in and a quick trip to the grocery store, we set off for Uluru! We got our 3-day passes and were in the park, on our way. Uluru grew & grew, far past the size it had in my wildest dreams. What an amazing sight, seeing the world’s largest rock, this place I’ve wanted to visit since I was a teenager. Amazing. Our 1st stop was the base of the climb. I was already starting to feel the guilt, but I came here for the rock, and I knew I must climb. I was really amazed at the steepness of the climb and how sheer the side dropoffs were. And how high it was! The people at the top looked like ants. In a few days, I will be up there.

To get ourselves acquainted w/ the rock, we took a short base walk, called the Mala Walk. It took us to a gorge in the rock and a small watering hole. It was incredibly peaceful and almost silent at the watering hole, and I was starting to see, on a small scale, what was so special about this place. After our walk, we drove to the sunset viewing area, which was just a long parking lot facing the rock. We killed some time with some German backpackers and awaited sunset. As the sun drew closer to the horizon, the rock was definitely getting more red. The most spectacular part was when the sun was *just* at the horizon, Uluru began to glow at its base. The glow spread up the rock over the next two minutes, and almost as quickly, it went away. Just in those few moments, I was deeply appreciative of the opportunity to see it. In such a remote area of a remote country, accommodations have been made to allow me to share in this wonder. How very special.

After sunset we made our way back, had a quick drink at the hotel bar, then had dinner at Gecko’s Café. We turned in pretty early because tomorrow we have to be up at 5:15 for our Desert Awakenings Tour!

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