The rock thing

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The rock thing

Updated 15 years, 7 months ago

Well, here i am in cairns, the city of "promiscuous drunks" according to the
backpacker bibles-"if you can't get lucky here, you may as well give up"-
but i made enquiries and none of the Chelsea team live here. Had cool time
in Freo and Rotto. Freo- relaxed cafe, "alternative" market town a la
Camden, but with lovely weather and less drugs. Rotto- island, small jumping furry things called Fuckers or Quokkas or something, clear blue sandy beaches, good snorkelling, stayed in an army barracks (?), saddle sore from cycling all round the island on bike with no gears in 36 degrees.
Left perth regretfully, it's a great place, but found to my surprise that
Ayers Rock/Uluru was really cool. Stayed in a huge dorm which was very
expensive, but hey, it's a resort. The hotel adjoining it had a great aussie
bar/barbie place and they had a really cool deal in the evenings for dinner.
You bought some prepared meat and cooked it yourself on the barbies provided and there was unlimited servings of loads of salads and stuff, which was gorgeous. As you can imagine, with my greed, I gorged myself. I ate nothing bar bananas all day then ate 4 or 5 plates of stuff. Superb. The resort was surprisingly discreet and not ostentatious or flashy. You could get all you needed at the supermarket, there was a post office, newsagents, etc, etc, even a beauty salon (though obviously i don't need such facilities). Entertainment in the evenings was provided by aussie pub singers in our "real" aussie pub, so this provided a good incentive to get an early night.

Oh yeah, the rock thing. That was dead cool. I ignored all the organised
tours as it meant travelling to the sights with loads of middle-aged and
elderly Japanese, British, Aussie and Yank tourists. Of course I have
nothing against such people but the pace does tend to be ultra slow on walks and things and the prices were huge. Besides if i wanted to do this I'd also join SAGA, get a hip replacement and develop senility. I went by this minibus service (Uluru express) that was the cheapest option- $120 for a three day pass and as many lifts to the rock or the Olgas (big lump things
not far from Uluru- look like a load of arse cheeks sticking up in the air.
They even have dark dribbly lines running down them just like........well,
i'll leave it to your imagination). The big bonus was that once dropped off
you could do your own thing, whatever walk you liked, and at your own pace. Ideal. I walked round the base of Uluru from sunrise. Amazing the way the sun charges the rock with different colours on it's ascent or descent. The view from the base, just walking round the rock, must be far better than if you climb it (the Rangers all agreed with me on this) as you get to see all the caves, crevises and indentations and get a much better impression of the thing. Besides the Aborigines don't want you to climb it, which is fair enough, I reckon- after all Christians don't want you touching some of their sacred things, Muslims won't allow you in Mecca and we respect their views.

The view from the top ain't that great anyway apparently. Just miles of flat
bush. As you've probably guessed, I didn't get to climb the thing as it was
closed due to high winds, but i'm still glad i didn't (honest). Walking around the base, I was just about three quarters of the way round when i paused to look at some eye-catching sight and loads of zebra finches were making a real racket. Suddenly this hippy came past gripping a walking staff, dressed in purple hippy shirt, striped trousers, jesus sandals, a red
band round his head, holding long greying hair complete with feather
attached a la john wayne film red indian. He paused and listened to the
zebra finches' hullabaloo with a knowing expression, turned and remarked
"Ah, but to whom do they speak?!?" I was speechless on sight of this
apparition and, after hearing this, all i could respond with was "Of course,
exactly" This clearly marked me out as a kindred spirit as he fell in to
step and started chatting. I would not describe it as "chatting" really
though. It wasn't a normal conversation and a trifle one-sided as he
insisted on speaking in this "red indian" style borrowed from the same John
Wayne film where he'd got his dress tips. The normal to and fro of the chats I'm used to, interspersed with the odd witty remark or bit of banter were sadly lacking as he would say something to which all i could respond to was "Ah" or "Um". "The black man come here for many moons and keep this earth well", "Ah", "The eagle flies here today- that is good sign, our future is safe", "Oh", and so on (all in an aussie accent). He said his name was "Running Rock" (surely an oxymoron) and I eagerly waited for him to say "white man speak with forked tongue", but unfortunately in vain. He raised his hand like in the movies when we parted and I can't believe I said it, but i responded by saying "How!" just like in cowboy films, perhaps some secret ambition from childhood cowboy an indian games. He didn't blink an eye, returned the "How!" and left me feeling slightly stunned.
I also walked at the Olgas (amazing views) in the "valley of the winds" and
saw the rock at sunrise and sunset. All in all I really enjoyed the two days
i spent there, the heat wasn't a problem and the sights were great.

Now i'm in Cairns and staying with my auntie. The centre of town is totally
backpacker orientated- dive centres, hostels, tourist infos, pubs, restos,
etc. Haven't been here long enough to form a view yet but am planning to go diving and learn all that stuff- will cost heaps though. Bugger. Seen a
couple of Bogans but no other tropical wildlife except the introduced
variety of "English Beaver" that has apparently adapted very well to this
climate, changing colour to lobster red and being mainly nocturnal, drinking
beer by the jug at watering holes where they frequently attract a mate (or
two). Apparently Aussie men don't mind this introduced species........

All the best

Daniel Walder

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