Saturday 17th Feb:
Today was our flight to 'Uluru' (Ayers Rock). Before we left we had a bit of a medical problem though as a lump had developed on the back of Soph's ear! Luckily there was a doctor on hand (Helen's husband) and so he looked at the growth and pescribed some medication. It was a rush to the airport therefore as we had to stop and pick up the medicine. We made it on time though after a bit of a stressful morning and we even managed to get some food - we always seem to make time for that and get our priorities right!
The flight was fine, very short compared to some of our other journies! We had a great view when landing as you could see Ayers Rock out the window. When we stepped off the plane the heat hit us straight away it was 50 degrees c!! The resort we were staying at was very nice if not a bit isolated, we were literally in the middle of a desert and when we were landing we were quite worried as we couldn't see any landing strip - just desert! We had twenty people in our room, but luckily we had our own section slightly divided off. The toilets and showers were outside about a five minute walk away so we had to don the torches again and wake each other up if we needed a jonny cash.
The dinner was delicious, you bought the meat (we got steak burger) and then you cooked it yourself on a bbq. Considering it was already about 45 degrees c at this time in the evening, you can imagine that standing over a bbq wasn't the best way to cool down! Especially whilst trying to juggle a drink and plate of salad bar piled high as it was free! By the end we'd sweated off the calorie content of our dinner! After our meal we had a dip in the pool which didn't exaclty cool us down as the water was warm! quite refreshing though.
Sunday 18th Feb:
Had to get up early this morning as we were doing Ayers rock Base Tour. We soaked ourselves in mossie repelent as found there were quite a number of flies and headed of for the tour. It was only the two of us on the tour and so we basically had a private tour of the rock. Our tour guide, Tyrone was really nice and he'd lived with aboriginals when he was younger and so he was very interesting to listen to . He gave us some more fly cream on the bus which you had to put on your face so we were pretty shiny - so don't expect the pictures to be all that flattering!
We got to the rock and it was breathtaking, didn't realise how big it actually was. Tyrone told us lots of stories about the plants and how they're used for medicine and about the markings on the rock and how the Aboriginals use these markings to teach their children life's lessons.
On to the flies........oh my goodness!!! we saw people walking round with fly nets over their heads at the resort and we chuckled to ourselves as we though they just looked silly. Little did we know that at the rock you were literally surrounded by flies and you couldn't put your hands down or you would have a swarm of flies sitting on your face! We both had black on and Tyrone very kindly informed us that this attracted the flies! So in the pictures if you see us with our hands in the air, we are not dancing for joy! We went to the cultural centre after the tour which was very interesting and we learnt about the aboriginals and saw some for the first time in the shop.
The bus dropped us off at the super market so we could get supplies in for dinner etc, Tyrone said he would take us on a private tour later that afternoon and taste some bush tucker but we fell asleep, (you'll know why in a minute). We went to a restaurant/cafe for lunch and had pizza which was yummy but quite pricey so we did the old trick of putting a hair in the chips so we got them knocked off the bill! Hope no restaurant owners are reading this! We went to wait for the bus to get back to the lodge but we just missed it and it was a twenty minute wait in the sun therefore Em suggested walking. The guy at the Lodge said it took about ten minutes so Em was optimistic, much to Soph's annoyance. So with shopping bags in tow (only one each) we started off. We should mention that our water bottles were running low and stupidly we didn't realise this until 5 minutes into our trek. It was about 1 o clock so midday sun and no shade, walking through desert - we felt like we were in a film as it was so surreal us trekking through a desert with no water, and just a tad parched! We had also previously discussed what would happen if a snake came along and we agreed that Soph would volunteer herself to be bitten as Em payed more attention when being told how to deal with the wound! Thankfully this situation didn't arise. On the journey Em heard a few 'i told you so' from Soph as she was almost dragging herself back to the hostel with Soph lagging behind and sweating off another meal. When we eventually arrived at the hostel, we both collapsed onto our beds and drunk about 6 litres of water. We were so hot and there was no air conditioning in the room. The ranger came into the room and offered to get our water for us as we were both collapsed on the beds. Unfortunately Barb's mini fans broke at this point so we were unable to get any fresh breeze. We slept all afternoon and felt much better when we woke up.
This evening we were booked to do a camel ride to see the sunset over Ayers rock. This has so far been one of the best experiences we've had on our trip. It was just amazing. Our camel (Albert) was very cute and we decided definately the best looking of the bunch. The bums were a tad sore however but it was worth it. The camel behind took quite a shining to Em and the leader of the tour said Em obviously had a way with camels and called her the 'camel whisperer' - so as well as a sheep shearer she also now has camel whisperer to add to the c.v. We had a glass of free champagne when we got back which finished off the evening perfectly.