Thursday, July 2, 2015

Boomers Feeling Kind of Small

It's July 2 and we are leaving tomorrow so I have a fair amount to cover. 

First a word about internet.  It's been a struggle. Hotel coverage has been spotty to non-existent.  In Cairnes our BnB host believed the radio waves of the Internet caused cancer so would only turn on service on request.   Hubby bit his tongue on that one.  In Sydney the iPad but not the laptop ran well. Had to use the hotel lobby.  In Melbourne the hotel gave you an hour a day then you had to pay. But even getting the hour was difficult at best.    So here's to the USA, greatest Internet provider on earth.    

Now a word about food. I've eaten way too much since leaving Sydney. Bread bread bread.  But forgetting calories for the moment, we've had excellent meals.  I did not try any bushmeat. Just couldn't bring myself to do it. We were warned things cost a lot, but other than coffee, we've found food prices quite reasonable. When you take into account the exchange rate and not tipping,  it's pretty close to what we'd pay at home.  Tipping is not expected here and only 10% in cases of outstanding service.  That's what we read and we asked a waitress who confirmed the practice.  I admit I still felt a bit guilty when not tipping and let Hubby handle all financial matters.  The waitstaff seem to work a bit more as a team. We sometimes weren't sure who had our table and it took us sometime to realize people just went to the cash register to pay while we sat bewildered at our table.

So on to Uluroo. First you must learn to say it properly.  Accent on the last syllable.  All together now  ooo-la-ROO. Like kangaROO.   I've said it wrong pretty much the entire trip.

We have now moved from wet tropics to desert. From Queensland to the Northern Territory.  Other than the resort area  by Uluroo, there is nothing here.   This place exists to support the tourism surrounding Uluroo and the Olgas.

It is the most focused on aboriginal life of all the places we visited. Not surprising since this is a sacred area for them and the aboriginal  community appears more intact.  Uluroo and the Olgas are on land owned by the aboriginals and leased to the park service who manage the park.

The aboriginals request no climbing or photos in certain areas (but still allowed by the park service) because of the religious significance of the rocks. We didn't climb but I did take pictures.   Lots. The agreement is that climbs will be prohibited once there is enough other tourism activity.

We walked around  Uluroo, about six miles. Since it's winter, it was no big deal. I imagine in summer it could be deadly. One side of the rock looks pretty much like the other.
The Olgas are more interesting because they are a collection of many rocks and the trails take you into gorges between rocks. They are crazy big too.  Seeing them standing out in the desert with nothing but blue sky surrounding them is awe inspiring. They just overwhelm everything.

 We did three sunsets and one sunrise. I have many pictures to say the least.

Besides seeing the rocks you could do a night sky tour, camel rides, walks with an aboriginal guide, learn to dot paint (aboriginal style) and similar stuff.   I took in the performance of a creation story by some amateur actors. It involved an eagle who marries a crow but then falls in love with a cockatoo. You had to be there.

I tried to get on the night sky tour but it was booked.    Since we are in the  Southern hemisphere the constellations are different. No North star or dippers.  Our last night was hampered by a very wide cloud cover so our plans to star gaze on our own that night were squelched. I should also mention  the daytime sky. When you are looking away from the rocks, it is enormous. There is absolutely nothing to break it up so it stretches across the horizon so far it is difficult to take it in. Difficult to capture in a photo also. But of course I tried.        

I was hoping to see a camel crossing the road like the sign said but alas I did not.

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