Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Australia Log Part 5

[Posting for my brother, who's on vacation in Australia]

I know I've been labeling the days all off. But whatever, I will come back to fix it. For now, writing is more important.

So....woke up at 4am....3:30 really since I couldn't sleep anymore due to the room being too hot. We have AC, but the person sharing the room with me didn't want it on. Thinking it was cool enough, I acquiesced. And regretted it when I woke up.

Too many mosquitoes. I was bitten and heavily so. I probably tasted better than the older chap....oh well. Next time I'll stand my ground.

Anyhow. Woke up at 3:30pm and left at 4....the shuttle picked up at 4:20 and it felt like 33c.....I had already showered and was sweating immediately already....gosh, hard to believe people live here!

Soon enough the shuttle came....got on it and zoom! Off i went. The shuttle was nicely air conditioned, and I felt good for it.

No one was at the airport and checkin was a breeze. The flight had another hour to go, so I took a short nap.

The flight was made uneventfully and I got a glimpse of the sunrise....little did I know it was going to be the first of many sunrises for me :)

Arrived at Alice springs some two hours later and I had a shock. Alice springs is a desert....and it was about 15c cooler than Darwin! Near the bloody coast!

It was drier as deserts should be, but the cooler part I didn't get.

I guess Darwin really is at the equatorial point or something.

Thr layover at alice springs is 5 hours and unfortunately there was no shuttles running. And all cars were rented out.

I had to sit in the airport doing postcards and email.... A bit annoying, but what to do right?

I learned a lot about local alice springs history though, but there wasn't much to it....originally just a small colonial land....now the gateway to multiple tourists attractions like kings canyon, the mcdonnel mtn ranges and ayers rock.

The airport consisted of just one small display, that of a rolls royce.
It wasn't much, but I read the whole display. It was used a lot in the beginning to create runways for planes and other heavy duty work....a bit of a waste of a rolls but since it was so well built, it went on for many years. Now fully restored, it sits at the airport. :)

Bought a few more postcards and wrote them and soon enough the flight to ayers rock began.

I didn't really have a plan for ayers rock since it was so simple. A rock. You can climb it or go around it. There were also many guided tours for ayers rock as well, but so many of them looks so expensive that I decided to just rent a car. Even though it costed me 145 + gas, it was still cheaper than everything else I wanted to do!!! I wanted to see 2 sunsets, two sunrises, the cultural center, and all the hikes. To do all that would have run me close to 300 and I would still miss a few hikes!!!

So off at ayers rock airport, and off to ayers rock immediately.

Majestic. Monlithic. Those are two easy words to describe ayers rock.

But I wasn't going there today. I was going to kata tjutu, another smaller set of monolithic rocks much like ayers rock. There was a 7.4 km walk that I wanted to do called The Valley of Winds walk.

I got there at 3:30 and knowing the sunset was at 6:45pm knew I had 3 hours, or the recommended time to do the hike.

With that knowledge and two full 1.5L of water, set off on the hike.

It was beautiful. The afternoon hike made the individual stones look beautiful and they're incredibly vibrant in color and liveliness in their shapes and light.

The walk itself is divided into two rather distinctive portions. There are two lookouts and a lot of tours simply hit the second lookout and turn around.

To me, I would have been ashamed as the second half is gorgeous. The first half is mostly mountainous terrain, and the second half relatively flat plains.

From the mountains you get to see the rocks up close and personal, from the plains you get to see the rocks in its majestic glory. While I loved the up close and personalness of the rocks, the real view is in the full views.....still close, but far enough to appreciate its full glory.

I finished the hike in 2 hours....took a quick bio break and then went off to the sunset site.

There I saw the rocks change colors about 3 times, going from red, to orange, to a blazing yellow, back to dull red in the fading sun.

It was gorgeous and beautiful and made me more hungry for the days to come.

Off to my hostel!
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