OZ TRIP – Uluru

27th December 2016

 

On the 4th day of my new adventure, I can finally sit and write down something.

Not much has happened so far, I have to say.

I basically dealt with heat, dust and a billion flies, but let’s start from the beginning.

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Whoever knows me even just a little bit, is aware of how much I love this Country and that Australia is now my home.

I would love to explore every centimetre of these beautiful big Island, therefore in the attempt to achieve that, I decided to spend my 2 weeks of leave for Christmas on a road trip to see the heart of this land: Uluru.

Nobody knows how that freaking big red rock ended up there, right in the middle of nowhere. It is actually like a tip of an iceberg. A monstrous rock formation lies underneath for hundreds of kms.

I packed some stuff, my camping gear and a lot of water, and in the early morning of Christmas’ Eve I left my nice and cosy apartment to hit the road.

I started to get ready a few weeks before, checking roads, sightseeing and various survival tips to get through the desert.

But like every trip I have made in my life, I didn’t expect it to go precisely like planned, and I know that most of the times inconveniences can mess up things. But not for me. If you keep your mind open, you have more chances to find a solution for every nasty situation.

I should mention that I drive an old piece of junk, a Daewoo Lanos 2001 that doesn’t even have air con.

The car has been checked a couple of months ago and everything seemed fine. We’ll see…

Around 10 a.m. I finished to put all my stuff in the car and headed to the petrol station. I filled the tank and finally set the navigator to my first stop: Coober Pedy, 2106 kilometres.

I knew I had to drive a lot and I knew exactly how many kilometres I would have to drive, but to see it on the GPS is different.

Full of excitement I started my trip, trying to avoid any possible contact with any human being. I don’t want to see anyone, don’t want to talk to anyone, this time is going to be only for myself, finally.

The first few hundreds of km went slowly because I passed trough the Blue Mountains so every now and then I stopped to take some pictures.

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After 300 kilometres, your butt becomes one thing with the seat, you don’t even think anymore, you just drive, and drive, and you see nothing but trees around you.

The first day went by without I even realised it.

At 8 p.m. after 600 kilometres I started to feel tired and stop in one of the biggest towns around the highway A32. Nyngan. 2500 people live here. The previous bunch of houses was 126 km before.

The weather is pretty nice with a nice breeze that makes me shiver and forces me to wear a jumper at night.

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The morning after, around 6 a.m, I am ready to hit the road again and the navigator tells me I needed to drive another 600 kilometres before the next intersection to reach Broken Hill. To be precise, 585 kilometres. Straight. Nothing else. No red lights. No turns. Nothing. 585… Jeez…

After 100 kilometres I stopped to get fuel in a small town called Cobar. The woman at the counter looks at me and says: “Hawaia! Merry Christmas!” .

Crap, it’s bloody Christmas. Again. Every year the same shit. I hate Christmas.

I love myself for the great choice of turning this useless bullshit into an amazing road trip in the middle of nowhere, where the main interaction that I have with people is: “Pump number 3, and a pack of Rothmans blue, thanks”. That’s it.

A triple shot mocha will be my fuel for the next 8 hours and my Christmas lunch consists of a couple of hash browns I scarf down while driving.

My goal for today is to pass Broken Hill and cross South Australia’s border. 750 km.

From here I start to really feel I m going in the middle of nowhere. I see fabulous red soil along the highway, that is that tiny road you see in the pictures. And I don’t see a soul, except the snakes I occasionally run over and dozens of dead kangaroos on the side of the road.

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All I see in this a 585 kilometres is a surreal landscape.

I drive and smoke a lot. After few years without a cigaret, 2016 brought me nothing but pain that I try to exhaling together with that poison from my lungs. It actually works.

I think about the good and bad things that happened this year. I think that after all, I am lucky.

Thinking and driving, driving and thinking, I finally reach Broken Hill in the late afternoon. The sky is beautiful and I would have loved to see the Living Desert and the sculptures, which offer a great chance of nice pictures, but unfortunately, I don’t trust my car enough to drive through unsealed roads. I’ve done that before, several times, but not in the middle of the desert.

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This time I can’t force my little companion and unfortunately is too late for the 18 km return hike to get there. Nevermind. The Living Desert won’t go anywhere. I might have the chance to come back in the future.

Everything is also closed because it’s bloody Christmas day and people really doesn’t feel like working today.

Fuck Christmas.

Fortunately, I have a 20-litre petrol tank so I’ll be ok for a while. I keep driving, crossing the border and stop in Yunta to get some rest, fighting against the heat. And I lost …

Only now I realise that I drove 750 kilometres with 40 degrees outside and my right arms burns like hell from the sun. I also discover that I am hungry and buy a sandwich from the petrol station nearby as I am too lazy to take out to the portable gas stove and cook.

The heat is killing me and I keep pouring water all over me.

A light breeze starts to blow but some unidentified creatures pop out from the bushes and I feel no longer safe sleeping on a camping chair, so I lock myself in the car. Jeez, it’s hot. But I am such a smart cookie that a few weeks ago I bought a portable mini fan that works with USB so I take my portable charger and hang the fan on the steering wheel. That’s how I enjoyed a few hours of sleep.

Once the sun came out I had a big disgusting coffee at a petrol station nearby. They did’t even have soy milk so I got a normal one. A decision I would really regret a few hours later, but it’s ok, you know what? You will may be a little grossed out by this, but there’s no greater satisfaction than taking your pants down wherever you are whenever you want and do what you need to do with no worries because there is absolutely nobody around. Seriously, nobody.

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Just a couple of small ghost towns and after a whole day I finally reach my first stop: Coober Pedy.

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This small place is the world’s opal capital and it’s popular for its underground life. When I say “underground” I am not trying to use fancy terms. I really mean underground.

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The weather here it’s so harsh that people started digging holes in the ground, and living in them. Everything started with some Opal discoveries back in 1915. Since then, some people settle down and built a new, unique town.

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I really wanted to take a look around and I also needed to give a break to my car. And most of all, I needed to stop because of the storm. Some heavy rain hit Uluru and whole centre Australia, so all the roads (well, there’s only one) were closed. Something so bad that happens only twice in a century.

I go to the desert and a freaking storm comes. Can you believe it?

But the biggest thing is that I finally, after 3 days I have a shower!!! I was so exhausted I had to drag myself to the car to grab my stuff and after I rinsed off all the sweat and the dust, I passed out and slept for almost 13 hours , until I was awaken and by the sound of a broken glass, followed by some swearing. The storm reached South Australia and the town of Coober Pedy became in few hours a big pond of mud.

Heavy rain and an unbelievably strong wind lasted till early afternoon, when the sun came out and everything went back to normal.

It will take another day for the sun to dry out the flooded highway so I take it easy and have a pizza while writing my journal. Tomorrow is another day.

2nd January 2017

New year, same shit. At 10pm on 31st December I was already sleeping after watching Mortal Kombat.

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I never believed in those “new year, new life” bullshit. It’s gonna be another 365 days full of shit to put together. It’s just a matter of how you deal with that. I’ll face another shitty year with the biggest smile, not giving a fuck about anything except what really matters to me, which is getting my permanent visa. All the rest is a collateral effect.

I left Coober Pedy and after 750 km I finally reached Uluru-Kata Tjuta, National Park.

There’s no such thing as a town, but just a big resort that offers any kind of accommodation, from unpowered tent sites to bungalows to luxurious rooms, together with a supermarket, a petrol station, a swimming pool and a shopping centre.

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I arrived at down and quickly set up my tent before it was too dark. I immediately learnt that my worst enemy here would not be flies like I expected, but ants, instead! Those little pieces of shit were absolutely everywhere and were insanely aggressive, not giving you a break.

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I tried to embrace the situation and make a good use of my animal-friendly attitude, but at some point I could not take it anymore and sprayed a whole bottle of insect repellent on the ground and got rid of all those little bastards.

After winning that epic battle, I slept like a baby. I was exhausted.

The morning after, here I am, ready at 6 am in front of the big rock, only to realise I left the battery of my camera in the tent. A series of unspeakable swearings broke the magic silence of the holy aboriginal site.

The resort is a 15km drive so going back now is not worthy.

I am already here. So I take the chance to get close and have a good look around to find a good shooting spot for the next day. Being in front of that big thing that pops out from nowhere is quite impressive.

No wonder why aboriginal people consider this place sacred.

Back to the resort I chill a few hours by the pool and go to the park again to see the sunset.

I couldn’t miss that. A little crowd gathers around, we all look at each other and smile. For a few minutes, piece and silence are kings.

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This is the place to come to switch off your brain and let everything go. Because there’s always something bigger than you. Nobody’s special. The world is special, but not people. Not me, not you. Go with the flow, don’t fight against yourself.

This is the place to go to re-calibrate your values and search for the right metric which defines your achievements.

I work as a waitress in a cafe. That must not mean much for most. But I left everything and went to another Country with a luggage and a thousand dollar in my pocket, alone. In four years I travelled to 11 Countries in four different continents. I started to work out a lot and my body looks amazing. I’ve never felt better, both inside and outside. And within few months I will have the visa that will allow me to stay here forever.

You see… that’s another story. Depends from the point of view.

I crossed path with inspiring people, but also with looser I’ve learnt to stay away from.

Take whatever good you find around. Leave the crap. There’s no space for that.

And whit these deep thoughts I peacefully slept for few hours.

I woke up at 3 am to see the sky in his whole beauty. Oh God, what a show. One of the most beautiful skies I’ve seen in my life, something beyond your imagination.

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I then slept a bit more, and after making sure I had the battery with me, I drove to the National Park again to catch the sunrise. I wasn’t lucky enough to have the colourful sky you often see in travel magazines and brochures, but it was spectacular anyway. Very impressive.

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The atmosphere makes every moment special, regardless weather conditions, company, or whatever is in your way. Anything can happen, but I assure you that everyone enjoys these moments in this magic place.

With the sun up I head to the feet of the big rock. Touching it was weird. Gives you a sense of freedom, don’t know exactly how to explain it.

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The storm that hit NT few days before left quite a damage and unfortunately the track that brings you all around Uluru was closed. I hang around a bit more until it becomes so hot I can barely breathe. The hours passed by quickly and the morning after I pack my stuff and get ready for my next destination: Adelaide. I have no idea what to do there. I don’t even think there’s much to do.

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I say goodbye to this place.

The navigator tells me Adelaide is around 1500km. I need a couple of days to get there. At some point, the indication is:”drive straight for 1015 kilometres”. Again. Last time was around 600km. This The storm that hit NT few days before left quite a damage and unfortunately the track that brings you all around Uluru was closed. I hang around a bit more until it becomes so hot I can barely breathe. The hours passed by quickly and the morning after I pack my stuff and get ready for my next destination: Adelaide. I have no idea what to do there. I don’t even think there’s much to do.time is almost double the distance, no bothering to take the wrong turn because there’s no turn at all….

Halfway I stop again in Coober Pedy. I really like this freaking place! It comes directly from space, seriously.

It’s 31st December. New Year’s Eve. Like Christmas, fuck NYE. I hate it. It’s the day when people think they’re entitled to get wasted and be assholes but they don’t realise they’ve been assholes all year long. Fuck people.

What better way to spend the most useless day of the year if not trespassing a restricted area and wander around an opal cave. I better watch my steps cause it’s full of deep holes around and I don’t feel like testing my climbing skill today. Too hot for that.

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Once in town it’s dark already. I watch a movie and go to bed. Best NYE ever.

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The new year starts with a 800km drive to Adelaide, with some creepy encounters along the way.

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Once in Adelaide, I drive around like an idiot trying to find the Botanical Garden but there are road works everywhere and absolutely so signs to help you at all. After 40 minutes driving around, I think: fuck off the garden, so I went to Springfield to see Carrick Hill, which is a property owned by a rich Australian couple back in the ’30. They got some old furniture from their honeymoon in Europe and decorate their house with exquisite taste. The mansion became quickly the main meeting point artists and rich Australians who enjoyed the endless parties in the most exclusive house of South Australia. The property was left to the state at the death of its owner, in the early 80′, and now is one of the must-do stops in SA.

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The beautiful garden is a real treat for your soul. There’s just one disturbing thing: people. Families. With kids. Horrible ugly and noisy kids. Society.

Fuck. This is the sign my outback adventure is really over.