Sunday, 9 December 2012

kata tjuta

awaiting sunrise

the first thing S said to me as we began our annual summer trip was that her heart has been broken too and this can be our mend-a-broken-heart (mend 2 broken hearts?) holiday.

all i can say is, if you have watched crying out love in the centre of the world and reckon seeing a big rock would make you feel better, you're wrong. especially in summer.

this is the worst season to visit the desert, as one can imagine. we only did it because S was slated to go home in March.

the movie didn't capture the heat. the sun which burned so intensely S had to apply sunscreen on her legs despite wearing leggings. the flies. the flies (!) it was also extremely dry and my tongue swelled as my body tried to adapt to desert weather. 

we felt even sorrier for ourselves after the first day, and this was with us booking a Glamping tour which costs nearly double what backpackers pay, just to have a bed and a fan inside a safari tent, as well as a chef.

however, on hindsight, it was probably due to the heat and too much sun. (we carried umbrellas throughout the trip, and on the last day even the angmos were telling us they wished they had thought of bringing one.)

day 2 onwards, we woke at 4 am so we could hike in relative coolness (low 30s) before the sun came out fully and the trails closed at 11am. it was heaps better.

here we are waiting for the sunrise near Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). 

we missed it as there were too many clouds.

here's a panaroma shot of the landscape, gotta love iphone 4s! ((fan-girl mode ON

the rising sun.. behind clouds.

after the so-called sunrise (well, the sun did rise, we just couldn't see it properly) we were driven to a 6km hike at the Valley of the Winds, about 20 minutes away.

i dreaded this terribly, and wallowed in self-pity as i thought about the impending hike, heat, sun and dryness; the ex; the law paper i wasn't sure i could pass (i passed, by the way); the fat jiggling all around my body (it's still here).. but because of the coolness provided by the winds, i quite enjoyed this hike.

hiking, when not done with parents (who are so fit they run through the hills, and i feel like a slob when i can't keep up with people in their 50s) is actually quite calming. there's not much to think about apart from focusing on moving forward without tripping. and it's nice to escape the city and stretch my legs, sweat a bit. i hiked with one hand holding an umbrella and another fanning myself-- both to keep myself cool and to drive away flies. i highly recommend this hiking mode. or you could buy a fly net to attach to your hat.

 on the way we stopped to listen to Jessie talk about native plants.

learned a bit about aboriginal culture during this trip, though there's so much they decline to share because we do not have their blood. i might be doing another RARE project with/for indigenous people next semester, so it was good to listen to some stories.

the indigenous still punish the traditional way-- by driving a spear right through the thigh. except now they have doctors supervising the punishment and treating the wound straight away. orz

another pointer-- a good-morning towel is also necessary. i dampen it and drape it around my neck to keep cool. it's also perfect for wiping yourself down in public toilets. yes it looks quite vulgar rubbing yourself in public but it feels so good i don't care.

here's the end of the hike. where some people enjoy the view with a cigarette. why?! it's a bit hard to appreciate the zen-ness of the valley with the very city reek of cigarette smoke wafting around.

on the way down we spotted this monster-like tree and couldn't resist!

after the hike it was time to go back to the campsite for lunch before a 5-hour drive to Kings Canyon, with a break at the supermarket.

i must talk about the supermarket trip because we bought a chunk of watermelon each and at the first bite i thought i had died and gone to heaven. i swear, it felt better than being skinny does. the cold, sweet taste oh my gosh!

here's the campsite in 42-degree celsius heat. hell, you can see the heat waves radiating. gosh this photo makes me dizzy.

before we left, i quickly snapped a photo of our dining hall. it's uncomfortably hot here at noon-- i don't even want to start thinking about where my $350 counterparts eat lunch.

on the way to Kings Canyon we stopped at something like a rest area, with a pool and public showers.

this is our second campsite. quite striking, against a dramatic backdrop of red rocks.

after unpacking, everybody had some downtime-- reading, playing guitar.. as Adam busied himself in the kitchen cooking dinner for us.

this is our luxury accommodation. not being sarcastic here. people expect me to love camping because i was a girl scout, but no i beh tahan the discomfort and the inconvenience! a real bed and a fan in the middle of nowhere, i can't ask for more!

yes that is my ipad charging on my bed.

and yes i was the only person lazing on my bed watching k-dramas while waiting for dinner. too many flies outside.

finish up this post with a photo of our bedside table, stocked with ridiculously expensive stuff we bought from the supermarket.

good night!

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