One to Grow On

February 6, 2010

Uluru

Filed under: Australia, children, travel — midway2go @ 11:30 am

Talk about hot.  I stepped off the plane and felt the dry heat suck deep down into my lungs.  Hot mama.   Surprisingly it turned out to be great weather for tent camping.  The days were blistering, and we hid in our air conditioned rental car or floated in the pool, but the nights were crisp and clear and perfect for sleeping without a rain cover, open to the stars.  We found, again, that our tent site was a bit modest compared to our neighbors.  Some of the families we met had driven 2,000 miles, mostly on dirt roads, to get to Uluru.  I guess I take some extra gas and a spare trash can, too.

Did we climb Uluru?  Heck, no.  Not only was it too hot, but the original owners ask visitors to respect their sacred sites and not go wiping their feet all over it.  We cruised around it a couple of times and admired it endlessly at all times of day.   We did try a walk at the other famous rocks, formerly known as the Olgas.  It didn’t really go that well. 

 See, we had gotten up hours before dawn to leave Cairns, and the kids were so tired they both fell asleep in the rental car.  I drove around, deeply impressed with the redness and the fierceness and the permanent feeling that the landscape had and the impermanent feeling I had there as a person.  I mean, the land all around feels so old, and you really fell that people here are just a blip.  Anyway, I killed two hours waiting for these kiddos to wake up so we could get out there and be a part of it.  Of course, when they woke up they wanted a few minutes to get themselves together.   We ended up hiking the gorge trail at the Olgas at 4pm.  Basically, I force marched two drowsy kids a half mile back into a bakingly hot canyon to see a dried up trickle of water.  The upshot was that we met two other moms travelling with their kids.   Naturally, they were cool with terrific kids.  The people always turn out to be the best part.

 We ended up hanging out with Simone and her daughter Laura and Jenny and her son Jack for most of our stay.  We scored some time at their hotel’s gorgeous swimming pool and kept bumping into Simone and Laura on the dunes, watching the sun set, then rise, over the outback.  They even introduced me to the concept of a grill-it-yourself BBQ buffet dinner.  I love Australians, but I’m still a little confused about why anyone wold pay to go out to dinner only to cook their own food.  Simone and Jenny were similarly baffled, but we had a great time together.

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