Bad news everyone: my camera broke. I had just taken a picture so the lens was extended & someone knocked into me & it flew out of my hand & right into a rock. Dented the lens & put a big gash into the side of it so the lens won't close. :( so sad. BUT thank God for memory cards; I still have all my pictures & I'll just have to buy a new camera in Alice or Perth.
Luckily, James has the same camera & has been kind enough to let me borrow it so im still taking a few shots & I'll get more from everyone over email.
Before we got too far on the highway, we stopped at the Breakaways, a beautiful valley that's very significant to the aboriginal people. It was just us & the still early morning air. We had to drive an unpaved road to get there & ended up with a flat tire. The boys (heroes!) changed it, only to find the spare was flat too. James & Erich joked it was like the beginning of a horror movie & I did NOT find that humorous.
We managed to drive the two hours to the nearest repair shop without a problem tho, and in the bathroom there I was surprised to see two beautiful swallows, a good omen. :)
Drove and drove and drove and drove.
Crossed the border into the Northern Territory; by December, I'll have been in every state in Australia.
Had another good conversation with Sandeep; its so interesting talking to him bc he comes from an entirely different perspective. He called our tour guide Jen a "scandalous woman" bc she said shit & she's not married & does this sort of job. At the bar the other night, he kept telling me I'm a good girl & patting me on the head like a dog! Y'all know I'd normally slap someone for that, but he doesn't mean it offensively, he's just from such a different culture. Until this trip, he'd never washed a dish or made a cup of tea - he has servants at home for that! But he wants to learn; he's curious about everything. Everyone laughs about it but we all love him for it. :)
Anyway, we talked about our futures, our plans (and lack thereof), our expectations & societal pressures. It really made me think...
Quick stop at Mt Cooper, which is oftem mistaken for Uluru by uninformed tourists, and then we finally arrived at our campsite at Yalara.
After a much needed 5 min dip in the salty pool, we drove to Uluru (fka Ayers Rock) for sunset & bubbles (Yellowtail sparkling wine - ha ha!).
Uluru is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world & it is certianly impressive. Its gigantic, much larger than I expected, and so iconic. Driving up to it, with the red sand in front of it & the blue sky behind, I just kept thinking: THIS is Australia!
We took a group shot in front of the rock & then started taking silly posed pics. I got a great one of me jumping mid-air (expect it on facebook!) and totally started a trend. :)
Night fell & we headed back to the camp to cook dinner, which everyone helped with - it was a fun atmosphere - and set up our swags & sleeping bags outside.
I'm sleeping under the stars in the outback!
There are more stars than I ever knew possible. The more I stare at them the more they seem to encircle me. Its a warm night with a perfect cool breeze & I'm sleeping with a swag for a bed & a sweatshirt for a pillow, needing no blanket but the stars.
Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ outback camping
~ perfect weather for sleeping outside
~ interesting people
~ the wide backseat of the bus