Experiencing the Outback and getting cultured

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Getting a free ride in Sydney

My hostel was a total dump. I expected little but no toilet paper in the restrooms and no light bulbs in the lamps were a bit too much. The place was filthy.
I had trouble finding my room. Well that’s all my fault because I didn’t realize second floor meant THIRD floor.
Among other things a blanket was actually just a second bed sheet. The showers were awful and I didn’t dare to find out whether they had hot water. I just took off. Yes, I’m a bit of a princess.

They also took a $50 key deposit. Bastards! The reception was closed when I tried to check out at 7 AM to get to the airport. So I kept the keys and hope I’ll get my deposit back this Sunday when I’m back from Ayers Rock.

My back was still hurting when I walked and getting to Bondi Junction to meet Canada was a pain. I started walking towards Bondi hoping that I’ll find a bus stop along the road. I covered about half the distance until I managed to hop on a bus but the driver said “only prepaid tickets are allowed on this bus”…. I used my highly developed skills of persuasion and said “OK, sorry” and stepped off the bus. It worked like a charm! He waved me back in and gave me a lift for free. That’s how it’s done bitches!

Last time I saw Canada was in December on our road trip from Brisbane to Cairns. A lot has happened since. We had a pleasant polite conversation, drank lots of maple syrup and made fun of each other. Aaaaahhhh! We’re so mature! It was great to see her again.

A walk in a park

It was a Friday. I landed in Ayers Rock/Uluru – right in the middle of Australia. A bus took all the Australian Outback marathon runners to their hotels. Looking out the bus windows we could see Ayers Rock in the distance.

Some of my friends worried I’d end up in a wheelchair after the race. One of them sent me an email with information about back injuries. My symptoms were closest to sciatica – something was pressing on the sciatic nerve when I was walking which was causing my pain. I felt that I could do the 11 km walk and changed my race. Hey, I wasn’t able to run, even walking was painful. Sure, I’m stupid but not suicidal. There will be other marathons.

The best part of the day was the carbo loading dinner – mmmmm lots of all you can eat food. Nom-nom-nom-nom!!!

The next day was race day. It was pretty cold in the morning – around 2 or 3 degrees but about 1 hour into the race and it warmed up. I walked barefoot and was very very slow. I shared parts of my route with the half and full marathon runners. As the runners passed me they kept asking me whether I was OK. I understand why they did that – after all I was walking at the pace of a turtle. For a while I kept telling them I was alright but it got old really quickly. Then I opted for a different tactic.

Every time I heard a runner approaching from behind I turned over and clapped and gave them some encouragement e.g. “Go, go, go!” or “Have a good run!” or “Only 26 km to go!!!”. Most of them smiled then I did that so I continued with this until the very end of my 2h 47 min walk.

Several runners actually stopped and walked with me. Some of them just needed a break form running, others wanted to enjoy the scenery and some were just curious why I was walking barefoot in the desert.

FYI walking on “red earth” was really quite pleasant. It was very similar to walking on a beach – on nice and soft sand. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies and a 20-25 C temperature. You can’t wish for better conditions for a walk!

My finish was awesome! I had to do a 100 m semi-circle around the crowd before crossing the finish line and everybody kept cheering me on the whole time. What can I say… you get what you give! 😀

Even the commentator walked up to me with his microphone and asked me a question or two about the race! I felt speeeeecial! 😛

The Australian Outback marathon was a great experience!  I highly recommend it!

After the race I did some touristy stuff. I booked a helicopter tour around Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta. This was my first ever helicopter flight. I was more excited about being in a helicopter than seeing the rocks in the desert.

I thought the helicopter would have a lot of turbulence since it was such a small aircraft, but no. To my surprise the flight was very smooth.

Luck was also on my side – I got to sit next to the pilot and had a much better view compared to the people in the back. The tour was pretty cool!


Next day I thought my back would be killing me but I discovered I was virtually pain free instead. Good way to start a day! I didn’t do much until my flight back to Sydney.

Fat women screaming

After checking in to my second hostel I went back to the first one to give them the keys back and to collect my key deposit. Didn’t have any trouble doing that. Success!

One of the things I’ve been wanting to tick off my bucket list was seeing an opera at the Sydney Opera House. Several weeks ago I bought two tickets to La Traviata ($155 a pop) and got Canada to join me.

Fast forward to the opera, I picked up the tickets and waited for Rachel to arrive. She was late. The problem with that was that you can’t get in once the fat lady starts singing. I had to leave her ticket to the “doorwoman” so that she’d give it to Rachel. Usually they’d put the latecomers into a restricted viewing area where they could only hear the opera but couldn’t see anything. They’d have to stay there until the break. Canada was lucky to get in and see the opera from somewhere above me.

She found me during the break and we continued enjoying the show. OK, we didn’t really like the opera that much. Not exactly my thing but we had a good time commenting on the bloody thing.

Later I had to say goodbye to Rachel – this time probably for a very very long time, if not forever. I will remember her as the most captivating, ravishing, lovely, incredible, overwhelming, adorable, alluring, enticing and radiant girl I’ve ever met. I’ll remember her eyes which constantly shine with joy. And most of all I’ll cherish the memories of her unique ability to make me laugh like this:

laughing

I will miss you Rachel!

Ivar McDicks