The Red Centre
Another truly dreadful night in the Melanka Backpacker. Words cannot adequately express how truly bad this place is. It should be either totally refurbished or pulled down. The common spaces and the bathrooms have not been cleaned in two days; our room was filthy and the floor has not been swept in weeks; the outdoor kitchen was a disaster - no bowls or spoons or any other utensils - we had to eat our cereal with a plastic fork out of a mixing bowl. There were filthy plates everywhere and goodness knows what bugs where making a home there.
Adventure Tours picked us up at 6.15am - again in a minibus and continued to pick up others until once again we were full and squished in. Immediately our guide Clark racked up the horrible rap music so loud it was assaulting. Several of the other passengers put in earplugs to escape the din.
One nice surprise was that this trip had a cook - a lovely French girl called Natalie. We drove for 5 hours to get to Uluru with a few short stops for morning tea and petrol. The BOSS refused to get on a camel even though they looked really cute. Our second pleasant surprise was the permanent campsite at Yalara - proper beds with mattresses and lights and pillows and linen. Clark told us we had actually been upgraded from basic to luxury because there were only 4 people on the basic tour. Lucky us!
Once again, the minibus broke down so Clark had to swap it for a 4WD bus - unfortunately he remembered to transfer his 2 CD's from the minibus - M&M rap and Credence Clearwater Revival.
After lunch we drove out to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and walked the Valley of the Winds. It was a good test of my dodgy knees which had been slightly rested for the past 3 days. I managed to walk over the rocks and up the hills for 2kms before my legs started wobbling. It was a really lovely walk in the early afternoon.
We then drove over to Uluru sunset viewing area with 50 other buses and 1000 other people. Clark dragged out the champagne and munchies and a wonderful civilized time was had by all. The third lovely surprise of the day was the return to the campsite to a ready prepared meal and a table set with wine and a tablecloth!
The final group is more interesting than our previous two tours. There are 6 Aussies, 4 Irish, 2 Taiwanese one Swiss lady and an American girl. They are quite an entertaining bunch but unfortunately the American girl is so loud and never ever shuts up. Her voice cuts through all conversations and can be heard at least 1km away, which is very annoying when doing walks through canyons. The Irish girls can also talk the hind leg off a donkey but their lyrical tones are quite pleasant to the ear - unlike the American twang, yaking on and on and on about the fleas on her cat or some other such rubbish. She has something to say on EVERY topic - the most inane crap comes out of her mouth.
Here's a hint people: when traveling in groups it's a good idea to shut up!
Shut Up and Listen!
Listen to silence - it's much more interesting than the fleas on your damn cat.