Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

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Trip to Uluru

Here are some notes on my trip to Uluru with Dylan, Kat, and her mom Josie. Photos are still in the camera with Kat. They are still vacationing and I am playing the bachelor at home, then I’ll catch up to them again Saturday.

6/18/2005

Up we got (very early) and off we went, pretty smoothly. It felt great to get out and away. The whole trip to Alice Springs went pretty well.

It was raining when we landed in Alice Springs. Kat and I had to chuckle. Our record with rain on vacation is nearly perfect; we get the inversion of normal. We joked that we should hire ourselves out. It’s great that Alice was getting rain as it was a very rare event. And I felt kind of content and accepting about it, very unlike me. We rented a car and went into town. We went to a diner and I decided to try a camel burger. And it was so good! Just delicious. This led to a lot of camel jokes from that point on. We went to a camping store to get ponchos and they were sold out. But I bought an Aussie bush hat which I’ve been meaning to get and I figured this out of the way shop in Alice was a good place to do it. Then we drove the four hours to Uluru, with stops for Josie to smoke. We saw heaps of dead kangaroos. But it was a pretty good trip. I read aloud from The Laments for a while too.

The resort was humble but quite nice and it was great to just be still. We ate out at a café and had a pretty good time. Dylan was very good humored the whole time and he and I horsed around a lot. We also did a lot of Kat cuddling.

6/19/2005

I got up in the morning to confirm Uluru was open (it had stopped raining!), reserve a camel ride that evening, and get coffee. After an abortive wait at a shuttle that was not supposed to come we drove to Uluru.

We read the sign where Aboriginal leaders urged us not to climb the rock as it was a sacred place to them. But they were not banning it, though they legally could. I figured that if the Catholic Church were telling me not to climb it, I’d ignore them, so I decided the same applied here. I don’t follow anyone’s religion, Aboriginal or otherwise. If they really wanted to stop it they could ban it but instead they were trying to guilt us. Their beliefs meant they would not climb it and that was their right. My own spiritual beliefs involve experiencing the wonders of the earth, and this was one of them. So up we went. It was an incredible experience and a bit scary. Everyone on the way down was very friendly and encouraging, telling us it was not much further and worth it. Dylan was over the moon. I’ve hardly ever seen him more pleased. It tapped into his sense of magic and imagination and he thoroughly enjoyed it. The view was, naturally, amazing. On the way down we said encouraging things to the people on the way up. If that’s not a spiritual experience I don’t know what is.

We went to a cultural center for lunch but did not look around that much. I kind of don’t like the way Aboriginals portray their culture and religion. To me at all smacks very heavily of the political correctness movement which I don’t have much stomach for. I think they are doing themselves a disservice by seeming preachy and whiny and self-righteous. I’m all for giving Aboriginals their due, for like the Native Americans, they were royally screwed by the colonialists. And they deserve to have that repaired. They are not going to get that by being whiners. They will do it through cool, positive, collective action.

We drove to The Olgas and walked around a bit though our legs were very rubbery. It was amazing though and the light in this bright red canyon, blue sky above and green bushes below, was extraordinary. We met a lot of nice people as well. Dylan seemed to make a point of saying the first hello to many on the walk back. What a boy!

We got back just in time to go to the camel ride. This was a unique experience and quite fun, though a bit uncomfortable. We saw a gorgeous sunset and learned a lot about the desert and camels. When we got back we were pooped. I had a beer and some roasted camel meat they were serving. Again, delicious. We’d learned that camels were exploding in the wild and classified as a pest so any reticence I could have had about eating camel (I hadn’t) was further put to rest. I think meat is meat and Australian camels lived a much better life than factory-raised cows and chickens do.
Kat and I watched some Iron Chef and found it very amusing, then went to bed.

6/20/2005

Up very early again and drove back to Alice so we could catch our respective planes.

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