Today was Easter Sunday, and as a treat, we had hot cross buns for breakfast! They were very yummy, but they weren't chocolate bunnies :(
Today, we journyed to Uluru along the Lasseter highway, named after Harold Bell Lasseter - a man who once went into the bush to search for gold and came back, telling stories of how he found a whole lot of it... but when people went back out looking for it, no one ever found it again. Was he lying? We don't know!
Anyhow, on the way to Uluru, we ended up getting a flat. So, for your amusement, entertaining pictures of men changing a tire!
Uluru, if you don't already know this, is a sacred rock to the Aboriginals. When the white men came and found it, they named it Ayers Rock, but out of respect for the Aboriginals it is mostly known as Uluru now. Uluru actually has rock that continues for 6 km underground, so it is actually growing as weathering erodes the dirt around the rock. While you are techincally allowed to climb the rock, the Aboriginals really wish that people wouldn't, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it is incredibly dangerous, and it greatly saddens them when people fall to their deaths (which does happen...) or are hurt. Another is that if you climb it, you are likely to have a look down onto their most sacred areas, which we are forbidden to see...
Anyhow, before we actually got to Uluru, we stopped at our campground in Yalara to drop off our firewood (as you are not allowed to have firewood in the national park). I managed to call mom and she harrassed me for a rock from Uluru! Sorry mom, those rocks are SACRED and it is bad luck to take them away from their home (which I will explain more about later).
After charging batteries and setting up camp a bit, we headed off for Uluru. We first had a look at the Aboriginal Uluru center, which was kind of like a museum or a place that explained all about the meanings and significances of Uluru. There are all kinds of stories that the Aboriginals have which talk about why Uluru is so sacred to them... but because I am so far behind, I don't think I'm going to write about all of this here... it would take quite a while. So, if you are really curious, you can research this on the web yourself, or if you really want to hear about it, I can write a followup blog when I have more time to do so. Vote on it!
One thing that I will mention though, is that in the museum, there is a book of letters from people who took a rock or some dirt from Uluru, and then had bad luck, so they sent it back with an apology. They call this the "sorry rock" phenomenon. And there were a LOT of letters... see mom? I saved you a lot of bad luck!
After the museum, we went to the actual rock, and walked around the base of it. It was about a 3 hour walk (it's a really big rock) and it was just incredible to see up close... there were so many different details and marks on the rock, which you can't see from the pictures taken far away... and as we walked along the rock, we were told some of the stories that went along with the markings on the rocks. I'll show you just a couple pictures of the rock at a close view... however many of the parts that had stories or sacred meaning were forbidden to be photographed, so of course, I didn't photograph them.
After the walk, we headed to the sunset watching place... where you can see Uluru in that vibrant red color that so many people recognize it for... however, we didn't get to see it in the brilliant red that most people do, as it was a bit overcast, but it still was an awesome sight... here are 3 pictures from different views...
It was very crowded in the watching area... as you might imagine, Uluru is a popular tourist attraction. People were sitting around at tables, drinking champaigne and watching the sun set (or as much of a sun set as there was). And here we were, dirty, smelly, and drinking beer :) Well, I guess we weren't THAT dirty and smelly, but you get the point!
Afterwards, we had dinner in the park, and had the chance to see the moon rise over Uluru. Unfortunately, that didn't last long either, because the moon was soon blotted out by clouds.
When we got back to camp, I tried to do my laundry... (we were in a proper campsite with laundry facilities) and had a tiny bit of bad luck. First - the drier in the girls bathroom didn't work. Of course, I had already STARTED my laundry, so I had no choice but to finish it... so after it was free I put the clothes into the boys dryer. Now, it was pretty late, and I was tired, and I really wanted to go to bed, but I had to stay up until it was done! I went to the boys room when the time should have been up, and it turns out... the dryer had stopped working halfway through, and the clothes were SOAKED still. O...K... I tried to work with what I had, so I hung the clothing up all over the 4WD truck, thinking that in the morning they would be dry.
I then put my sleeping bag out away from the shelter (my tent partner tried to convince me to sleep under the shelter, but I really didn't like the looks of that huge spider hanging on the roof). In the middle of the night... I woke up to rain. Pouring rain. All over me... all in my sleeping bag and swag... and I saw the people from my group one by one dragging their swags toward the shelter. I thought briefly about how my clothes would be soaked, but I was tired, so I just dragged my swag into the shelter and tried to go back to sleep in my wet sleeping bag.
The next morning, it was still pouring, and as I feared, my clothes were dripping, soaking wet.
We were supposed to get up to see the sun rise over Uluru, but we didn't go because of the rain... so at least we got a bit of a sleep in.
Oh my, I'm going into day 8! Better start a new blog!