Sunrise at the Rock

The clock was set for 4:50. I thought this was supposed to be a holiday. The problem with a natural attraction like Ayers Rock is that the best time to watch it ‘perform’ is at sunrise and sunset. Which means you have to be up at Sunrise. So we were.
It’s an awesome site to see Ayers Rock silhouetted black against a dawn sky, and to see it silently grow as we approach. The coach pulled up along the side of the road, and we watched the variety of colours grow across the rock as the sun rose behind us. It’s an absolutely awesome sight which is difficult to express other than to say that it changes colours. If you haven’t seen it, it’s hard to believe the range of hues the thing puts out. As a finale, the sunlight leaks out of the rock, flowing over the landscape to our position.
We toured some sites on the base of the rock which feel like churches. There are parts of the rock where you can’t help lowering your voice – as the rock folds and soars around you.
The local cultural center talks about the difference between government law – which is written on paper – and aboriginal law – which lives in their hearts. Wouldn’t it be interesting if other cultures had that perspective?
Returning to Sails, there’s another surprise waiting for me: an hour long massage session later that day. I don’t normally get this sort of pampering. When are the treats going to stop?
Ainslie says that we have another tour planned before then – for the Olgas. I did the maths in my head, but probably should have picked up on the hints sooner. How were we going to get to the Olgas and back before the massage session, two hours away?
When Ainslie led me out to the bus, and a helicopter tour bus was ready to pick us up. We were going to *fly* to the Olgas, it seemed. Neither of us had been in a helicopter before, so this was going to be an extra special treat. (Knowing how scared I am of heights, Ainslie says she’d asked me whether I was scared of helicopters a few weeks previously. I said I wouldn’t mind a trip, apparently. Sneaky girl.)
Hovering 2 thousand feet above the desert floor, you get a new perspective on how big everything is – how the desert ends sharply at the horizon – how the rock formations have a third dimension beyond what you see from the ground.
I was surprisingly unafraid of the helicopter experience. I kept flashing back to the episode of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo where one of the brothers gets sick while flying the helicopter over Sydney and it’s up to Sonny to land the helicopter with help from the Tower. I was actually kind of hoping that it would happen today so I get to play with some of the knobs, but sadly, the pilot had a steady constitution. Darn.
After a long day, a long night and a longer day, we take it easy for a while, watching people winning gold medals at the Olympics.
It’s about this time that I start to struggle with the constant nagging of my conscience as to whether I start blogging this experience right then and there, or whether I save up mental notes (and risk losing some of the detail) for the sake of drinking in the experience. I opt for the latter, after some internal greco-roman wrestling. There’s a whole discussion on the topic of ‘blogging integrity‘ that I’ll continue another time.
I need my sleep. Big day tomorrow. Apparently.

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