On the road again (Back to Alice Springs)

Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
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Trip End Jun 20, 2006


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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Uluru was definitely the highlight of the second day, so after reaching the climax, the rest of the day was basically a travel day with a few stops along the way. The next stop was Catta Juda (only for an hour) where we walked into a split in two 600m tall rocks and settled in a valley of sorts to admire the view. The distinct part of Catta Juda was the shear size of the rock walls going strait up. Quite a sight. It was as if we were at the bottom of King's Canyon looking up.

Then we moved on towards a rest area that overlooked one of the great salt lakes in the area, though being in the desert, it was more like a pile of salt (80% salt, 20% water). Also we had a view of Attalla (a rock similar to Uluru) but it wasn't as famous because it didn't have the same significance to the aboriginals. Also, it's privately owned and thus very expensive.

We then made our way to the Aboriginal Art Gallery, but were stopped short to admire the wildlife. First we saw a wedge-tailed eagle feeding on kangaroo road kill. This seemed to be the greatest thing ever, until we saw a second eagle, laying dead next to the roo. The reason this is so horrible, is that these eagles mate for life, so as Diesel put it, if you kill one, you kill two, because soon after the other eagle will go into shock from being alone, and starve itself to death. So we were literally watching the eagle's last meal. Diesel went out to check the kangaroo for joeys; there were none, since it was a male. He also ended up bringing back 9 feathers and one eagle's talon from the deceased eagle, one feather for each of us, and the talon for himself, similar to a rabbit's foot. We then moved on, and stopped about 2 KM down the road for a group of camels! (See pictures)

We then stopped at the Aboriginal Art Gallery (more of the same type of stuff, just cheaper). Soon after, we stopped at a random truck stop to see the internationally famous Dinky Dingo, the singing Dingo. He's even featured in Trivial Pursuit. Another random fact is that he's royalty (on the same standing as the queen of England) thus no petting of the royal dingo J.

By this time, we were pretty close to Alice Springs, and we arranged to have dinner and drinks at the hostel's pub. We ended up being such a close group after only two days, that everyone showed up, for a meal and night of partying, it was good times.

The next morning, I went on my hot air balloon ride! I was up bright and early at 4:45am so we could be in the air by sunrise. We ended up driving to 3 different locations until we flew, since the balloonists needed to check the wind conditions such that we would fly in the direction we wanted. We took off just in time to catch sunrise in the outback. It was even more amazing from the air. I could see everything for at least 50 KM in every direction. The pictures turned out amazing, but nothing compared to the real sight. We then came down a bit over an hour later, right on top of the planned landing site, greeted by champagne and quesh (vegetarian even!). We enjoyed conversation about how the pilots flew the balloon with such precision, the training needed, etc. At that point I got a ride back to the hostel just in time to catch my 10am bus to Coober Pedy (my next entry) arriving at 6pm that night. It made for a great start to the day!
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