Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 110 - Outback Day 1: Acclimatisation and Watarrka

Let's go!
This morning we were picked up at 6:50 AM in front of our motel. We were the last persons and the only seats left were those at the very front of the 20 seater bus. Lucky or not? Good view and good company by our driver, Ross, a bearded bear with long curly hair. He looks like the type of person I could trust in emergency situations in the middle of nowhere. He was doing tours since 2010, already.

Before that, btw, my dad and I had a good conversation at breakfast with a lady who is a social worker here in the outback aiming to reduce domestic violence in indigenous villages. In former times she was working in Cambodia until she was bitten by a spider and nearly lost her arm. Good that we learnt about Cambodia's wildlife not before our visit there.

On the road sign you can read the distance to Adelaide, our final destination, and the side trips that we will be making: Watarrka and Uluru. The first stop however was a camel farm somewhere between Alice and the Erldunda roadhouse, where I rode my first camel (seven dollars for two minutes, but anyway). The Australian camels are said to be stronger and taller and better than the original breed from the middle east, if you believe our guide. It was awfully shaking, especially when we turned at a full gallop at the end of the ride. But I believe the guy on the other camel had a few more problems than us girls..... On the way towards our camp I saw three dead kangaroos along the (paved) road.

Next service in 132 kilometres - in between: bush.
Kings Creek is btw the camp where we stayed.

We arrived at our camp after around five hours of driving and had lunch at first. Ross had prepared a cool playlist of all the new charts, and was always singing along (very good). Fortunately, because after such a long time in the car next to each other you run out of topics to talk about. For lunch he had all the important stuff with him, of course, like three heavy Eskys and several boxes filled with metal dishes, cutlery, spices, tins and sauces, kitchen equipment..... Today's menu was: Wraps. Today's menu for dinner was: Fajitas. Biiiig difference ;-)

About our tour group: 20 persons, 1 guide, 16 women, 4 men. All backgrounds different and interesting. I was the youngest, my dad the second oldest, most of the people were between 21 and 29. Two of them were already with us on the flight, and on the Monument Hill in Alice Springs, yesterday :P

After lunch we had a short walk through a quite hot valley of Watarrka, the Kings Canyon. Wasn't too impressive, but we already had a first impression what we will be experiencing tomorrow morning, and to acclimate a little to the heat and dry conditions. Later we played Uno :-)

After a quick wash, our
stuff dried really fast, because of the
hot, dry desert air
This is our camp. Our beds? They call it swag. It's a roll of strong fabric as the top, strong plastic as the bottom (because of the morning dew), strong zippers on the left and right top side to not let the creepers in and it contains a 5cm mattress (like a thin futon). We chickens ordered not only a sleeping bag in addition, but also a tent. But because the night sky was so incredibly breathtaking, I decided to spend the first night outside. In French: une nuit à la belle étoile, literally.

Can you see the milky way?

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