Tête en bas

Down under wandering. Archipelagoes to islands; beaches to deserts; mountains to cities.

Uluru, the big red rock


  • English: Uluru, the big red rock
  • Français: Uluru, the big red rock

Guided tour… those words kind of frighten me. I see a giant bus, dropping hundreds of old people, in view point and touristic shop. I see the complete impossibility to take picture with no one, people always complaining and never happy. A slow moving group with an unbearable inertia. But at the same time, Cassie told me that it worst it, and that it was great. And I totally trust Cassie. When I saw the old bus coming, when I heard the engine, sounding like it could die anytime, I start thinking a different way. I start thinking that I was right to trust Cassie.

Alice Springs to Uluru. Around 400k. Bus often stop. Pee pause. Emu pause. Pee and gaze pause. Photo pause. But the dynamic is still interesting. Life in the bus is nice. It’s my turn to be the copilot. I’m not use to that! I do my best to help Cassie. As it was in the van, life in the front and life in the back are completely different. In other circumstances, I would probably have try to spend more time in the back, learning to know my fellow travelers. But being quiet with Cassie is ok for me.

There’s a lot of different tour company in Alice Springs. The Rock Tour seems to be the cheapest one. Because of that, people are younger. The bus is full. It means only 22 persons. Still a bearable size group.

I’m fouled by the first rock I see far away. Thought it was Uluru for a little while, before Cassie told us that it’s not. Well, that’s true… Uluru is way more organic than that!

But we finally arrive. This time, I recognize the shape with no hesitation. Of course this is it. I love traveling. It remind me, each time, how amazing the world we’re living in is. I’m happy to be here, in Uluru. It seems unexpected to me. As it was to arrive at the top of the Empire States Building, to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, to see Sydney’s opera, to discover Death Valley, or to dive on a wreck in Bali… my life is full of surprises. And I love that !

My first reaction is balanced. From far, it’s a nice impressive rock. But nothing exceptional. Uluru starts to be awesome when you get close to it. “I saw it hundreds of time, I still love it. It’s always different”. I quickly understand what Cassie means. Every two minutes, Uluru is different. It changes. Constantly. We could almost feel him alive as those change are quick. She drops us at the foot of the rock, with the mission to walk around it. She warns us. There’s sacred place, where it’s forbidden to take picture. I always have trouble when I can’t take picture. But quite often, I keep the camera off. There’s amazing part of the rock that you won’t see. Not on this blog at least. He’s waiting for you anyway. Just come, and you’ll see.

Long story short: like everywhere in the world, white men steal the land from the people who were living there when he arrived. Ayers Rock and the area became property of the crown. Lots of aboriginal people where strongly suggest to move away. Once again, I want to wait a little bit more longer before talking about aboriginals. But I will. I promise. Collecting information is still going on… anyway… in aboriginal tradition, the land you’re living on is one of the most important thing. In such a hard place to survive, knowing everything about your place is a matter of life. Aboriginal wanted to come back. It took time. Lot of time. But at the end of the 80s, australian government finally give back Ayers Rock to the tribes who were living there. Those four tribe merge to become only one. In exchange, aboriginal agreed to rent the area to the government for 99 years. Since that day, the site is managed by a council formed by 6 aboriginal and 4 australian.

Little precision: making a difference between “aboriginal” and “australian” is definitely a mistake. If, until the 70s, aboriginal were not seen as human (they were protected by the ministry for fauna and the flora), they are now seen are australian citizen. Maybe I should say “6 aboriginal and 4 white men”. But once again, it won’t be exactly true.

Uluru is in the middle of Australia. Straight in the middle. Uluru is red. Uluru is often seen as australian spiritual heart. I easily understand why. There’s something you can feel around the rock. Something spiritual. Of course, you’ll feel it only if you want to feel it. It’s totally possible to work around the rock, and just see a giant red thing, quite impressive, with hips of strange shape. I wanted to see more. I wanted to see more than just a rock. I closed my eyes. I touched it. I felled it. There’s something more, and it’s really easy to feel it. My flute, of course, was really happy to share sometime with the rock.

The day ended with what seems to be a must do. Sunset on Uluru. Cassie warned us. Other tours, who are way more expensive, give a glass of wine to there traveler. So she invited us to by her own bottle to celebrate the sunset. Celebrate, really? With a little bit more than 10 cars gathered, almost 500 tourists on a parking… with table, everywhere. And tourists, drinking sparkling wine in fancy glasses… I tried to do a time lapse, with some difficulty. The result is not that good. If the rock changes color, it’s not as impressive as I though.

I remember… a few days ago. Almost the same number of people, climbing a hill, for an other sunset. Being happy, and screaming when the sun finally disappear. Here, people seems to try to be as stupid as they can while taking picture. They don’t mind about the sunset. They just want to have a photo for there Facebook page. I find it very sad. But can’t change anything about it…

Sun away, diner eaten, we go bak to the campground for the night. There’s a big bonfire waiting for us. I take my flute and my didge. Play the first. Play the second. And went away from the light, taking a few picts of the stars. The rock, of course, is there…

2 Responses to “Uluru, the big red rock

  1. May 19th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    alex says:

    un petit tour et me revoilà, tu as fait du chemin, j’ai de la lecture en vue :)

  2. May 19th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Sébastien Chion says:

    Welcome back :)

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