Today was a big travel day. We traveled the length of Australia in order to board a plane for the much-awaited Africa part of the trip. We left steamy Cairns early for a flight that was going to take us to the outpost of Ayer’s rock in the Northern Territories (this spot was more south central). Ayer’s Rock is notable for its..rock. The geography is similar to Arizona or New Mexico, desert, sparse vegetation and stunning red earth. Fortunately it is winter here so it was a perfect morning for a quick drive around, a look around and lunch at this Rock.
It’s really beautiful. But I cant tell you very much about it, because despite a National Park Brochure, a Park Ranger Guided walk about and an interpretive museum, I could not tell you anything very concrete about what we saw…like if it’s really a rock, when did it become a sacred site to the indigenous people and who were they and how they lived. It was also quite perplexing all the signs telling you NOT to climb the rock as a courtesy to the sacredness of the site. Then there was this spot that was for clearly climbing, they had built a wire railing going up one face of the rock for climbing, there again were the signs from the aboriginals pleading don’t climb it along with a sign talking about how many idiots died climbing the rock so if you must do it, do it here and between these hours. It was kind of confusing and ambiguous and sad to me.
After a couple hours of taking in the beauty of this spot it was time to get on the plane and head to Perth (south west coast of Australia for our next layover (7 hours). I can’t honestly say we saw much of Perth, unless you count a shopping mall, cinema and airport. Despite the time we had the kids didn’t really weren’t up for more touring so we managed to kill a lot time getting to and from a nearby strip mall with a roof, window shopping and watching a flick. George, O and Cal watched Cars 2 and GM, Henry and myself saw Bridesmaids (which was hysterical BTW). We got back to the airport with some time to spare so we could check into the Qantas Lounge and recharge our computers, Ipods etc…for our 12 hour flight to Johannesburg. As I write you now, were are an hour away from landing in South Africa. Much more later!