— 15 Aug 2012 —
Another early rise today.
Everyone decided that we should get up earlier for the Uluru base walk to avoid the heat later on. Oh you know, just a 10.6km stroll at 06h45!!! Despite all the complaining, the walk was a great way to wake up and get the blood flowing. Also a great way to see the whole of Uluru. Every single grain, rock, crevice and blade of grass.
Sorry to cut in like this but this is what they call ‘the brain’. Natural erosion or man-made? No one knows. Either way, it looks pretty darn awesome.
As we walked, we awed at being so close to the rock. It was a major privilege to be at the sacred site of the Anangu people. The site where they have decorated with ancient rock paintings. Where they, to this date, still perform ceremonial rituals. It was just beautiful to be there. And I even made my mark (footprints) on Uluru. I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to (after thought). Oops.
And because you’re walking right next to the rock, people (me) tend to oversee the vegetation. Note, the rock is surrounded by vegetation. Not just red dust, which is what most people assume. The vegetation changes as you walk around the base, if you take a chance to observe.
Some interesting facts about Uluru:
1. The traditional owners of Uluru are the Anangu people. Anangu is the term the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people refer to themselves as for the western world.
2. The rock art they have adorned at their sacred sites are created for ceremonies and teaching the younger generation on basic survival skills.
3. There are sections around the base where it is considered as sacred and visitors are not allowed to photograph in the area. This is to prevent people (me) from putting it up on social media, as it poses a risk that the Anangu people might see it.
4. The Anangu people believe there is a path crossing a sacred traditional Dreamtime track, along the climb route. Thus they request tourists to not climb the rock.
5. The government is currently leasing the Kata-Ujuta National Park area. The lease runs out in year 2082.
After the base walk, we met up with Sara who casually informed us we had half an hour to rest before our next walk. !!!. This time it was going to be a shorter one (thank God!) with a local (Valerie) and an interpreter (Kirumu – lives with Valerie and her tribe in Yulura – 5 years and counting – and goes back to Tokyo once a year, as she can’t be away from the metropolis life for too long). Who happened to be Japanese AND could speak the local language. I could not get over it. It was just BIZARRE. How does a Japanese girl end up interpreting Dreamtime stories from her third language into her second language? Bizarre, like I said.
We learnt how to kill an emu, a Dreamtime story about a black dragon-like figure who slaughtered 5 men and 1 woman from the one tribe, the meaning behind some of the rock art and how the people used to live and trade goods.
Once we got back to the truck, it was thanks and farewell to Valerie and Kirumu, then off on the road again.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post.
Uluru deserved a post of its own.