i'm in melbourne, australia for a week. over the weekend, scott
was nice enough to join me on a trip to ayer's rock, now known by
its aborigine name of uluru.
uluru is really big, and it stands all alone in the desert. it's
over 1000 feet tall, and 2 miles long. kind of flat at the top.
since it's the only thing around for 20-30 miles, it's really magnificant
to look at.
uluru is sacred to the local aborigines, so they aren't too keen
on people climbing it. there are signs posted around the area, warning
of the dangers in climbing. numerous people have died of heart attacks,
or slipped off, or were blown off, while climbing up.
scott and i decided that we would tempt nature a bit, and climb.
it's only a half mile each way, and we were told that the return
trip would take us 2 hours. since it was 2 1/2 hours before sunset,
we thought we'd give it a try.
it was very steep. unbelieveable steep. for the first two hundred
feet, it's about a 60 degree slope, with no handholds. that's pretty
steep. did i mention how steep it was? at 200 feet, a chain link
fence starts, and runs up the face of the rock. then the slope goes
to about 70 degrees, and you really need to hold on to the chain
we started up the face. after 100 feet, i was breathing pretty
heavy. i was also leaning way forward, trying to keep balance. but
i couldn't stop, because i was afraid that with no momentum, i'd
slip down the face. i began to panic a bit, wondering if i could
reach the chain without stopping.
100 feet above me, i could see the chain. so near, but so far. my
legs were burning; i was now crab-walking with both my hands and
feet. and up and up i climbed, and didn't stop until i reached it.
did i make the top? only in my mind. the summit for scott and i
was at the bottom of the chain. we were content with the view from
there. and we didn't miss the sunset.
we were told that the best times to look at uluru are at sunrise
and sunset, because it was at these times that the red rock caught
the sun's rays, producing some brilliant shades of red and orange.
since it's so popular, they have dedicated parking for those who
wish to see it. it's not the same as events in america; this was
a bit more tame.
here's 10 differences between an australian uluru and an american
1) if uluru was american, you'd have parking meters at each sunset
2) if uluru was american, you wouldn't get on the roof of your car
to watch the sunset; you'd have a grandstand to sit in to watch
3) if uluru was american, you would have speakers every 50 feet
or so, and you'd listen to the star spangled banner as the sun set
4) if uluru was american, you wouldn't have to climb; there'd be
a chairlift or gondola up and down. maybe a tunnel to the center,
with an elevator
5) if uluru was american, the native people living around it would
have erected a casino right next to it.
6) if uluru was american, you would watch a multi-media patriotic
laser light show
7) if uluru was american, you would get bumper stickers on your
car saying "this car climbed the rock"
8) if uluru was american, it would be surrounded with "limitation
of liabilitly" notices stating "climb at your own risk"
9) if uluru was american, there would be a "top of the rock" restaurant
complete with rude waiters and gift shop
10) if uluru was american, it would be lit up all night long, with
waving american flags casting shadows along its face
actually, it was very impressive. very natural. and very beautiful.