Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Uluru


We did the Ranger-guided Mala Walk today. Our guide, Martha, was fantastic. At the beginning, I thought she talked perhaps just a bit too quietly, but afterward, it was the perfect volume.

We saw so many places, including the 'wave cave,' which literally looks like a wave froze in stone… and then had a ton more rock on top of it.

Uluru is basically a red stone dropped in the middle of nowhere. There are stories from the Aboriginal Creation story that explain how these rocks came to be— but explaining them would take longer than 500 words. Suffice it to say, there are marsupials, snakes, and pythons featured in the story, and they're frozen almost like a strange comic book in parts, from right to left in some places and left to right in others.

The one sign I saw the best was a left footprint taller than Mom. It's the footprint of a woman who was running from her enemies. To the right of the footprint is her 'body'— much harder to figure out.

The Base Walk is 10.6 kilometers, though since we did the Mala Walk before it probably went to a bit over 11 kilometers.

It's a flat, meandering path that could fit a car. I liked the Valley of the Winds walk we did yesterday much more. It's not that there was more or less shade (I think it was about equal), or that there was more or less wind (ditto), but that walking on a straight path gets boring after a while. Climbing up and down the rocks and having to actually look where you're going is much more interesting.

After one of the water holes, Dad gave us the key and we children started on ahead. We walk faster than they do, mostly because we don't take pictures.

There are many signs everywhere around Uluru, noting that so-and-so is a sensitive men or women's site. The Anungu people believe that a man who looks at a women's site too long or too hard will lose his maleness. And looking at a men's site if you're uninitiated or a woman can be very dangerous.

It makes sense. Once Mom took a picture of an icon of the Virgin Mary— one that gave off myrrh. The camera started malfunctioning, and we couldn't figure out what had gone wrong with it. When we deleted all the pictures of the icon from both the computer and the camera, it suddenly began working again. So we have no problem believing what the Anungu say.

After walking about a fourth of the Base Walk on our own, we children arrived at the jeep only ten minutes before Mom and Dad— sweaty, tired, and really annoyed with the flies that buzz everywhere.

There are different flies though— small ones which seem to attach themselves to peoples' backs, just to hitch a free ride to wherever it is they're going. It makes me wish I could do the same. I don't think I've walked so long in ages.

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