We woke up at 4:30am to get to the airport to catch the flight that went to Alice Springs.
After a long night in which everyone in the house went slightly mad— I think honestly, I think the entire family goes through PMS once a week. Every tone is an evil tone, everyone is out to get everyone else, and there is no safe way to do anything.
But past that.
We had the equivalent of high style on the QANTAS flight because there was a complimentary breakfast… and a video screen. When we reached Alice Springs (smack dab in the middle of Australia), Dad headed off to rent our jeep, and we sat down in the airport to check email and enjoy an internet connection that we don't have to pay for.
Three hours later, Dad shows up with the jeep. It's a bit larger than our BMW and a bit smaller than our SUV. The back is filled to bursting with groceries and sleeping things.
We stuff our backpacks into the back and prop the sleeping things on our laps… then begin to drive toward Ayer's Rock. It takes half the time it would have taken had we had a camper van, but we still arrive at about 7:30pm.
The campground is a veritable campground. There aren't many camper vans around because a few of the roads aren't accessible to the behemoths. We have to pitch our tent, which we do in about… ages… trying to figure out how to put together the sticks that aren't joined by elastic. It's a pretty big tent— we all fit comfortably, plus all our bags. It's lovely.
The kitchen is outdoors and made of wood. There is one sink. There are a few hot plates.
Mice and what we assume are kangaroo rats scurry around everywhere. We make ramen quickly, sit on the seat backs of the benches with our feet on the seats, holding the bowls close to our faces.
Dad bought three bottles of wine on sale for $13, so we toast to reaching Uluru.
There are no plugs that we can use without being overrun by mice. For a second I panic, trying to figure out how I'm going to survive without having any books to read— I've finished all the paperbacks I'm interested in, and I'm not about to waste my time with the ones I don't want to read.
I'm further in Maitreyi and I'm trying to figure out if Ulysses will ever make any sense. It probably shouldn't at this point— most of the people on GoodReads agree that at about halfway they start liking it. That's fine. I read Jane Austen. She gets fantastic at about the halfway point on the first readthrough.
This is our first time camping since I was about five years old. The last time we went camping it started to rain so badly that I woke up in the morning in a hotel room… without my stuffed animals.
They were soaked in about an inch of rain.