Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunset, Champagne and Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock? What if the romance of it like the Stonehenge was more the sizzle than the steak. Somehow the solitary figure of Princess Diana silhoutted against the background of Ayers Rock never left me , I guess. As I surfed the net, I realized that the best way to go was to fly. The train from Adelaide was an overnighter and though a drive would be quite an adventure, time would not permit.

Then it was a matter of flying directly there or perhaps to Alice Springs. Alice Springs , evoke my childhood memories of the Nevil Shute book which stangely connected Malaya and this faraway outback town . So, how can I give this place a miss and a decision was made in that instant . Also, thanks to the points from my Priority Club, I took my room at the Crowne Plaza where they graciously upgraded me to a suite.

It started raining immediately after I picked up the Yaris at the airport and as we drove into Alice Springs. Dang it ...it shouldn't rain in the desert but it did. We drove into town and was surprised that it was not just two rows of shops as I had expected. We did our usual souvenir shopping, and then drove out to Stanley Chasm . Our first trip to the outback was marred by the some of the clouds and we didnt get the brilliant blue that you usually get at the desert . The hike to Stanley Chasm was great and surprisingly for me , I found the walk quite enjoyable , peaceful, quiet with just the sound of the wind and perhaps birds. It might get eerie but it was a great quiet time too with the Mighty One.

On our way back to town, we decided to stop to see the wallabies feed in the evening . Another walk but yet it wasn't as tiring as I thought it would be and to watch wild wallabies feeding was something else.That night , we took an early night as we were too tired after all the hikes and it was a long day for us . So decided to have an early dinner , followed by an amazingly wonderful, jacuzzi bath.

The next morning was a 6 am pick up by Emu Tours. Oh man , a five hour bus ride to Ayers Rock - was just wondering how that would turn out . Surprisingly it wasn't so bad because first of all , after the shower the day before, we had lovely clear sky and it was like God washed all the mountains and stones for us. So, I just soaked up the beautiful scenery of the outback - the righ brownish orange against the brilliant blue .

Secondly, we had interesting stops, and the Emu tours guide, especially Shorty kept us entertained with his stories , jokes and information on the wildlife. We took a quick lunch break at the Ayers Rock Resort before heading off to the Park with a stop at the Abroginal Cultural Centre. There were two short hikes at the foot of Ayers Rock before we headed off to prepare for the barbeque and watch the sunset .Finally, the hilight of the trip. We were early at the camp site , so we had the choiciest location and got to enjoy the Rock before the busloads of tourist started arriving. We had time to get the best seats, take pictures and watch the sky turn in its different colours while the sun was setting.

Sipping champagne, watching the sunset , though we were on a tourbus packed with people, we hardly spoke to each other except to just watch every single moment's of God's wonderful creation. Once the sun was gone, we had to head back and that was another five hours, so we had to pack quickly and leave. As the sky turned dark into complete black, the stars packed up. We've never had such clear skies back home with its numerous stars . However, I could only enjoy it from the bus. When , we again made the coffee and pee-break stop , I immediately jumped out to see the stars under the tropics of Capricorn I realised I have to come again perhaps this time with the kids and camp overnight to watch the night sky and its brilliant stars.

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