Sunrise

At 5:15 am we were picked up by AAT Kings Tours for a sunrise show of Uluru. Thank god for the jet lag, no problem getting up at 4:30am.
We were brought to the same spot where only yesterday we were watching sunset. The brochure advertised breakfast, but all we got was drinks and cookies. A strange choice of breakfast even for a confessed sugar-addict like myself.
So we were watching the last night’s light show in reverse: the dark mass slowly coming to life in flaming red, shadows slowly spreading over the rock, and finally, all this mass of stone coming to life in vivid ochre-red.
Then, we got on the bus and headed to the rock for a walk around its base.
Getting to know Uluru close and personal is a must thing to do here, in Australia. Uluru is Outback’s Sydney’s opera house. We circled the smooth red giant, peered into caverns and crevices created by erosion, looked into the ponds of rainwater in giant natural stone chalices, admired carvings created by the artist-nature on smooth red canvass of the rock, the magic of this place defies description! No wonder, the aborigines consider it sacred. You feel the spirit here, like in Jerusalem or Sedona, you can call it god, nature, or…..the Computer….
From the rock, we we driven to the aboriginal cultural center, where we went a bit overboard buying aboriginal art.
I am not at all into ethnic art, but this one took my breath away. Move over George Serrault. These people have been doing dot-painting for 20,000 years! Granted, they used to do it on cave walls and on the sand in order to tell stories, teach morals and skills to the younglings, and they only started paining on canvass in the seventies, but this art is both ancient and modern and as beautiful as their desert. I just love the composition, color, and texture! I hope, only, we didn’t overdo it like we did with the Greek urns :-).
At night, we went to a tourist-trap activity called Sounds of Silence.
We were driven to a platform in the desert with a distant view of Uluru on one side and Kata Tjuta on the other, where we were served champagne to the sounds of a musician playing didjeridoo, and watched the most spectacular sunset over both rock formations.
Then, we were escorted to the dining area and, under the stars, were fed a fairly decent bush tucker complete with crocodile, kangaroo, lamb, and waddleberry apple crumb.
After dinner, an astronomer pointed out the South Cross, the Orion, and a rare occasion, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, all four of them visible in the sky. Unfortunately, the moon was full, and its bright light obscured 80% of the stars seen here during new moon. We then looked in the telescopes and saw the blinding face of the moon, Orion Nebulas, and best of all, Saturn with its perfectly formed ring.

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