Saturday, November 17, 2012

Now THAT'S a Rock

Ayer's Rock, that is.  Largest single rock in the world.  In the middle of the Outback.  PRETTY outstanding at sunset...and at sunrise...and the middle of the day...prolly at night too, though I wouldn't know...

Salt Lake in the Outback

  Apparently there was an ocean here at one point...which apparently dried up.   Who knew??

Beating Around the Bush

The Outback described in 6 words or less: Red sand. Green bush. Blue sky.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Captain's Log. Day 1 in the Outback. 09:00 hours. Ants are Assholes and the Devil's in the Dust

Captain's Log. Day 1 in the Outback. 09:00 hours. Ants are Assholes and the Devil's in the Dust

This just in: Ants are assholes. Ants in the Outback, that is. Their relentless attempts at swarming one's shoes and ankle biting are tiring and pretentious. Score 1: Outback. Manhattan: 0. However, in other news not even ONE of us in the Groovy Grape magical mystery bus tour was bitten by a snake, spider, scorpion or mowed down by an angry mob of kangaroos. Therefore, day 1 in the Outback is going down in the history books as a resounding success. With any luck, our success will continue throughout our trek. Additionally, with the exception of contending with swarms of ants (AKA: assholes) our 10K hike through the Flinders Ranges was fantastic. Views of the desert and surrounding mountains were unparalleled, and not even the blister on my right foot, a happy memory from the 6 inch heels donned at the Melbourne Cup, could put a damper on the experience.

Oh and what BETTER welcome to the outback than a dust devil nearly blowing us over upon embarking on our trek? Don't know what a dust devil is?? You're not alone. After our tour guide clarified that what we had experienced was not, in fact, the spirit of some long deceased aborigines tribe come to warn us off their territory, we were enlightened to the true nature of this mildly disturbing phenomenon. In reality, they are miniature tornadoes formed by the collision of cool and hot air that come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. So that just happened. Check. Cross dust devil off the list.

Sleeping under the stars in a swag (an Australian invention resembling a sleeping bag made from canvas, containing a mattress) was an intriguingly new and interesting experience. With the exception of a local cat scaring the living shit out of everyone by howling like a bat out of hell, the sleeping arrangement was surprisingly enjoyable. The sky was white with stars, with shooting stars rocketing across the horizon with reckless abandon. An added bonus: we awoke with a distinct LACK of spiders, snakes and/or other deadly critters which Australia is so fondly known for in our sleeping bags. Living to see another day = Winning!

As our magical mystery tour careens towards Coober Pedy, the Opal mining capital of the world, we look forward to a true "wild Wild West" experience, including an overnight stay in dugouts underground...which are apparently necessary to shield from the extreme climate of the place. In the meantime, in preparation of our invasion of this "ramshackle" outback outpost, we continue to fine tune our cowboy impressions in order to blend in with the locals. For example "This town ain't big enough for the both of us" in an appropriately twangy drawl is close to being perfected. Will the locals appreciate our efforts? Only time will tell. But the many Germans in our little group are ready to give it a go. "Veez taawn eent beeg enouv faw zee boff of uz" is SURE to go over well.

Captain signing off. Over and out for now. More updates to follow (unless we have grossly miscalculated the welcoming nature of Cooper pedians and are gunned down by angry locals who happens to mistake our lame cowboy impression for an actual challenge to a duel...)

Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 12, 2012

Captains log. T minus 1 till trek through the Outback. O4:00 hours. Its game-time. May the best man, or kangaroo win.

Captains log. T minus 1 till trek through the outback. O4:00 hours. Its game-time. May the best man, or kangaroo win.

After a successful 3 week invasion of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, we prepare to backpack through the outback. All on our lonesome (god help us). Should I not blog again, assume the worst: that I was taken out by an angry mob of kangaroos. And send help.

Until now, we have stuck to civilization. Wrapped in the comforting blanket of street lights and restaurants. The familiar scenes of pubs and clubs, night life and city sights. Friendly faces and well lit spaces...Until now....Dun dun!

Yes, my dear friends, tomorrow we venture out into the Australian outback...throwing caution to the wind! Living on the edge... To may or may not return. At least in the same state we left. Cause lemme tell ya...yours truly was never much of a camper (my definition of roughing it MAY be categorized as staying at a Holiday Inn with no working hair dryer) and only time will tell whether I finally lose it after 9 days of wilderness. With no porters in sight, no concierge to speak of, no Melbourne cup hats or dresses, no civilization for ages...only time will tell whether you see me on the evening news mistaking a cacti for a taxi in the middle of the desert in some lame attempt to hail it back to humanity... Or potentially asking a camel for my check please in the nicest  possible manner before calling over the manager, wallaby in waiting, to complain of poor service. Or perhaps it will be a slightly less extreme epic fail in the wilderness. Such as merely attempting to board Ayers Rock as if it were an airplane and requesting an upgrade before takeoff.

Or MAYBE. Just MAYBE we will witness an epic success in turning over a new leaf in ruggedness! We can only hope the answer is YES. (hope springs eternal)

However, if my backpacking experience thus far is any indication of what the future may hold, I wouldn't hold my breath. Because my bed broke right through last night, my bag is larger than life and even with the mailing of clothes and feathered hats back to the USA, the bag remains neither manageable nor neccessary in the outback. At the very least, yours truly has perfected the pronunciation of "now THAT'S a KNIFE!" So we have that going for us...which is nice.

So cheers to our big outback adventure. And stay tuned for Manhattan meets outback. Who will prevail?? Only time will tell...but in the meantime, its time to get my gameface on...smear kangaroo blood as warpaint, throw a drop bear rug around myself as a cape, befriend a few dingos for protection and throw some shrimp on the barbie for good measure...and may the best man, or kangaroo, win. Over and out for now. More updates to follow (and again...if no updates follow for some number of weeks...send help at your earliest convenience).

On the road again... The Great Ocean Road, that is...

 Bells beach. Just like Point Break