Our penultimate Oz experience was nothing short of a red rock smorgasbord. King's Canyon had a steep start and a smooth finish as we hiked around this fault line in the Earth's oldest crust. Nature and rock are gorgeous themselves, but for some reason, we felt it necessary to complement the experience with our own humorous interpretations of the red rock. Chris made it very clear he knew absolutely nothing about the terrain, and I had a ball feeding him lines like "This looks like Grandma's Elbow Red Rock" or "This should be entitled Teenager's Complexion Red Rock." We're so global and mature.
Descending the canyon, our fingers swelled from the blood flow and feet ached from stomping around six kilometers of hard rock. We happily boarded our luxury overlanding vehicle to sleep and relax for the five hour drive back to Alice Springs. Upon parting with our tour and very cool guide, we had two objectives for the evening: to buy mad loads of internet minutes and to eat the most uncommon meat we could find. In between our feverish bouts of work all night long, we took the much needed break to have dinner at Bojangles, the local famous saloon that served the meat lover's platter with our names on it.
We chewed around some kangaroo, crunched into a crocodile spring roll, sawed into an emu sausage, and topped it all off with two pitchers of beer we mistakenly ordered. Who knew "lost in translation" moments could happen in countries that speak your native tongue! Two beers please. Two pitchers?! Well, okay, that will have to do!
We made the long walk back to our hostel (the fourth time I made this jaunt that evening since I forgot my ID and needed it to get into the ever-so classy and popular saloon) and passed some shadowy characters in the night. Someone on our Fiji tour announced to us that Alice Springs wasn't the safest of destinations, and I think we figured out why this was the case. Unfortunately, the stats on Aborigines in local society do not describe great birth rates, high literacy, or many things positive at all, and considering the fact that Australia only formally apologized to the original Oz inhabitants only LAST YEAR for their horrible treatment for centuries, it's understandable that they are hurting as a group.
And then began the process of sleeplessly uploading our many, many blogs, photos, and videos from both Fiji and the most recent tour. We froze outside near the only wireless hotspot, trying to meet our deadlines, but ended up getting slap-happy and playing games of "Slap the Bag" with the boxed wine our tour guide gave us. What professionals we are. We boarded a bus the next day at 11:45am, which started our 27 hour transit period between the smack-dab center of Australia and the steamy capital of India. For 2 hours, we were bumping and cramped, sleepy and hungry, disoriented by time and location, and increasingly concerned for Chris' swelling ankle. That thing got massive, and he developed a disturbing limp.
But that all didn't matter. We were heading back to a country both of us have not only experienced but grown to love. We were destined for the Subcontinent. Hindu country. India. Oh, and on the way...we saw Mt. Everest.