Saturday, April 11, 2015
Ayers Rock is located far north of Melbourne in the midst of Australia's vast "outback" or desert. Flying within Australia is incredibly easy. There is no customs and no security check points. Australians have the innocence of not feeling that they are a target for terrorist attacks and thus there are no full body scans, no removing your shoes and belt. You just board your plane and enjoy the flight. There was a short delay. I joked with Terry as we boarded that they might have to hold the plane together with Duck Tape. Amazingly my tray table was Duck Taped to the seat in front of me. Scrawled on the Duck Tape with a sharpie, I was informed, "TRAY INOP DO NOT USE." Flying over Australia is very different than flying over America. America is cut up into a definite grid with farms and cities sprawling out in a checker board pattern. In Australia there was only an occasional road stretching off into the infinite distance. The entire country outside of the coastline seemed to be an endless expanse of rusty desert.
When the plane approached Ayers rock, it was the only landmark we had seen the whole flight. The size was hard to distinguish since it was unclear how high the plane was flying. The airport was a bit larger than a shed and the heat assaulted us when we walked off the plane onto the tarmac and then inside. The only features inside the airport were the luggage claim area and a car rental counter. We rented a car so we could explore the area a bit. About a quarter of a mile from the airport was the only civilization in the area, the huge Ayers Rock Resort. We stayed at Sails in the Desert which was a very environmental friendly resort. Solar panels supplied the power and water was conserved. The bright yellow buildings glowed against the blood red desert. The central resort area seemed like an unlikely oasis with its pool and palm trees.
I ordered some room service and relaxed while Terry explored the resort. Flies are abundant in the outback. The best investment Terry made was in two nets that fit over our hats. I felt like a geek at first but without that net, I never could have sketched because flies know how to bug people by flying in their eyes and buzzing in their ears. Within a minute it is maddening. The next day we would head to the Rock.