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Thursday 17 Dec 2009
Ayres Rock, Australia

December 16 & December 17

Dec  16

December 16th - We were awake early to catch the sunrise @ 5:23am - Great view from bed through our Jacuzzi room bay window ..... BEAUTIFUL !

Caught the hotel's buffet breakfast (hiway robbery - $29/pp and it wasn't that great but it was what they had...).  Once fed, we packed up and headed to Kings Canyon for a little hike along Kings Creek which has not an ounce of water in it at the moment but is quite picturesque.  Thank God for the nets we bought !  Flies Flies and more Flies !.... TW (Tony Weber) is now referred to as WT (Walking Turd) because the flies loved, loved, loved  him !  At least with the nets over our heads we weren't swatting our faces every 3 seconds - the occasional flailing of arms kept the buggers at bay from the rest of our bodies.  We were both glad to get back to the car with air conditioning !

We arrived at Ayres Rock Resort about 5:30pm - checked in and Tony went to the tour desk to book our Sunrise @ Ayres Rock  & Cultural Walk Tour.  Early pick up - 4:30am - so early to bed for us !


Dec  17

Boy, 3:30am comes early !.....  On the bus @ 4:30am and it is raining - not the most ideal conditions for a good sunrise on the ROCK.  We got to the viewing area about 5:10am and hiked up to the viewing platform.  It was only drizzling but we didn't have an umbrella.  Took a few pics of the sun coming up and a few of the ROCK and then headed for cover as it began to rain pretty good.  Can't fight Mother Nature !

Our culture tour was quite good - we walked in the rain for 6 kilometers, approx. 2/3 of the base of the Ayres Rock.  Our guide, Rebecca, was very good - I'd swear she'd been doing this for years and she confessed she'd only been doing it for 6 months.  Guides spend 14 days with Aboriginal Elders including 3-4 night camping in the outback to learn about the history of the ROCK and the stories.  No one is allowed to take notes as the Aboriginal people do not have a written language - everything is verbal.

Our walk consisted of Aboriginal Stories told along the way, each part of the story is told at certain spots along the base of the rock and can only be told in these specific spots  in honor of the Aboriginal people.  If all or part of a story is told in the wrong place, it is considered disrespectful. 

We were told 2 children's stories along our walk.  These stories all have some sort of moral to it for the Aboriginal children to learn and live by.  As they grow up the Elders observe the children to see if they are living by the lessons learned.  They have coming of age ceremonies but it is not just  based on a  specific age.  The child must demonstrate his /her ability to live by the lessons learned.   The young men's ‘coming of age' consists of branding by a hot rock shard done by one of the Elders.  Lines are cut into his skin as a representation of his family lines, kind of like a coat of arms but it is just made up of lines on his stomach, chest and arms.  They are also circumcised at that time.  Not much is known about the ceremonies for young women as the Aboriginal women are not as open about their traditions.

Aboriginal people regard the ROCK as a sacred site.  In the language of the local Aborigines 'Uluru' is simply a place name which is applied to both the rock and the waterhole on top of the rock.  According to traditional beliefs the outstanding topographical features of Uluru were created in the "Dreamtime", the Creation Period, by various totemic beings in the shape of Giant Anthropomorphic goannas, serpents and other creatures. Each person in the group claims descent from these mythical totemic figures, and the ancestral locations are re-visited during ceremonies. These creation myths are depicted in the caves.

We were back at the hotel by 11:30am. 

Our Sounds of Silence dinner was cancelled due to rain so we drove out to Kata Tjuta  Rock formation (Aboriginal translation - Many Heads).  We hiked up to Walpa Gorge which was quite beautiful.  We then came back to the hotel and did a BBQ - You pick your meat and then you cook it the way you want it.  They've got 10-12 griddles & grills all fired up and everyone does their own thing.  Tony had the combo plate - Kangaroo, Emu, Crocodile and beef ... me I stuck to the standard beef !

We're back to Perth tomorrow - December 18th.

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Tony and Ellie's Adventure

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    Cave where ceremonies are held
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    Kata Tjuta Gorge
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    Ayres Rock


    Part of Kata Tjuta