Everyone who knows me, knows that I have always wanted to live in Australia. But, more so than that, I have always wanted to see The Outback. So, finally, I booked a trip and off I went.
Accompanying me was my co-worker Felicity, who basically got the benefit of 1.) a pre-planned trip and 2.) having the best travel mate ever. Fact!
Anyways, I flew into Uluru in the middle of the desert and spent the first night at a "Sounds of Silence" dinner in the middle of nowhere and I truly realized that there is a God when by fate, I was seated beside a tour group from the great state of Alabama. I heard them dropping the "y'all" bomb like it was nobody's business and I jumped over and introduced myself. It was as if my relatives had all gotten on a bus and showed up, just for me! One old woman went off to the unisex bathrooms and as I passed her on my way up to them, she proclaimed, "Be careful! Those bathrooms are bi-sexual!" At this moment, I nearly urinated right then and there. I laughed so hard and I do not know if you have ever laughed with a full bladder but it is tough. God Bless, Alabama!
The next day, it was a full day trip to King's Canyon. So, this involved a trek of about 3 hours in a van. That van had some magic, comatose power over me because I fell asleep every 4 minutes. I could not keep it together. Anyways, I explored the canyon with my travel posse and it was hot. Like, almost 100 degrees kind-of hot. I had water and a prayer. It was beautiful though. You could look out for miles and miles and see nothing but the red dirt and green that poked through it.
After that, my trip continued on to Uluru/Ayer's Rock and The Olgas. My tour group today was priceless. The average age was probably 65 and I had them eating out of the palms of my hands. I have realized, my key demographics are: old people, toddlers and non-English speakers. Those three groups will always find me to be adorable and the funniest person on the planet. Again, fact!
It was stunning. The landscape is a stark contrast to anything that I am used to and they recently had good rainstorms, so little yellow and purple flowers were abundant. We ended the day with a sunset dinner overlooking Uluru in which I entertained the group with stories of my Australian English mistakes. Again, did I mention they adored me? I now have some new sets of grandparents!
Speaking of grandparents, get this! So, I stayed in a dorm/hostel because I was originally going alone and I thought that if I shared a place, it would be easier because it would allow me to meet people. Anyways, who were my roommates?! None other than a 70+ year old, Chinese couple! Now, don't get me wrong, I love sweet and sour chicken as much as the next guy but Grandma had it out for me from the start.
So, I walk in the room and she is lying in her bed and looks absolutely petrified and I say, "Hi, how are you?" And she stammers out, "Hi, me China. My body no good!" I thought, "Wow, how did she know I intended to sell her into the sex trade already?" Moving on, her husband comes in and they have the air conditioner set on 86 degrees! So, I go and turn it down. She barks something in Mandarin and I knew it was on and popping. She turns on this massive flashlight and starts hitting the air conditioner and says, "My husband so cold! So cold, my husband!" So, I make a gestured compromise and I turn off the A/C and I open the window. She walks up behind me and closes it halfway! Ohhhhhhh hell no, China Grandma!
I let it go but during the middle of the night, I wanted to curl up in her bed next to her and ask her to sing me to sleep with a story about how she killed her first born because it was a girl. Would that have been wrong?
So, this morning was my last morning and I was supposed to go on a camel tour. But, it stormed and camels apparently are primadonnas, so it was a no-go! I am a little disappointed but what can you do? I guess I will just have to find another time to make jokes about camels spitting and their toes.
With all of that, it was a great break and a great adventure. I saw things and places that I had only dreamed of, so I walk away 100% grateful and looking forward to the next journey...minus China Grandma.