Visiting the Olga’s (Kata Tjuta) and life here

Started off my day having breakfast and chatting with a guy from Israel. He was expressing how expensive Australia is. That doesn’t surprise me, I told him many Australian’s would agree, we have duopolies in food retail (Woolworths and Coles) and they keep the prices at parity and high. There has been an inquiry into food prices and an acknowledgement that prices are high. Also greed is prevelant as it is around the world. People do try and make money out of tourists, I don’t like this exploitation and have experienced it on my own travels. However, I see it across the board and getting worse. We talked about the world, freedom and exploring life. Not to worry about the money but to really have a good trip. I gave him some tips on saving money. We also talked about the middle east, the wall that keeps people apart, the funding of Israel militarily and the importance of conflict resolution to really resolve issues rather than negotiated settlements. I encouraged him to meet Palestinians here as in Israel they don’t mix. He agreed, he was open minded and wants to see a world that is not so controlling, more free. Travelling has opened his eyes. He told me loved New Zealand and it was much cheaper, he could hitch hike and stay cheap, even food was much cheaper. So at least he got a good deal there. We had an inspired chat and I noticed a South Korean guy trying to join the conversation, he politely just stood near but didn’t enter the conversation, I tried to open it up for him but he was enjoying the conversation and perhaps felt he was intruding. When we spoke of political issues and the corruption we are seeing around the world he was particularly interested I noted.

I then caught up with some young people I’d met the day before, who I planned to teach juggling to. They were in their early 20′s sold their cars and bought a truck and headed off to find a place to live or just travel. Their families were worried but they want to explore life and they said people say don’t speak to strangers, but they met so many incredible people on the road, they realised this life was very dynamic, they said they are having a great time. They were a bit worried at first, but their fears are gone now. They are from Melbourne.

So they dropped past my tent and I pulled out the juggling balls and juggling batons. I showed them the techniques of juggling and they really enjoyed having a go. I always note the self talk like ‘can’t do it’, ‘that’s hard’, or words that indicate they are no good. People are a bit hard on themselves and I said to them to note the words and realise they apply it to life. Just give things a go and don’t worry if you don’t get it right. Took me 3 weeks to learn. It is just having fun with trying and being patient. I showed them my world trip presentation and we all hugged. We had some stimulating conversations and they felt inspired to really get into life, I love that. They then headed to Kings Canyon about 300km away and I headed to Kata Tjuta (Olgas). I felt quiet excitement about this.

Kata Tjuta is about 44 km from Uluru. It is part of the same mountain range that emerged into a desert environment. It looks foreign and when you get up close it looks like the surface of Mars, I can easily imagine a planet in front of me. They are huge domes that roll one into the other. They are formed by little rocks and fused. They appear smooth and the indigenous forbid anyone walking on them. I agree with this and certainly after my dream where indigneous came to me and suggested I walk around Uluru, I no longer doubt the spirits/ancestors exist. In fact I met a woman on my walk who told me she is Christian and asked Jesus to guide her whether she should climb or not. She said she got up to what was called chicken rock just before the handrails at Uluru, and the wind picked up. Her kids were there but then the Ranger starts tooting for everyone to come down. She believed that was the signal for her. I said I think so.

I did the 7.4 km walk and found myself walking over many small rocks, it was not a smooth track, it undulated and was peppered by a range of micro habitats and flowering plants. There were what I would call schools of birds (not flocks), very tiny flying in formation to trees and landing on the same branches in a cluster. Like one body they moved, so in tune with each other and their flying was precise. They had little red beaks and were tiny. I saw no other bird life or lizards there. The energy of the place was immediate and my walk was through the Valley of the Winds, so the winds just rushed passed you and cooled you. Thankfully the temperature is perfect, so even in the middle of the day you are fine. Plenty of water stops along the way. It was wonderful to climb rocks and discover more Olgas, huge dome like structures, so different from other mountains, almost other worldly. Trees, grasses and flowering plants lined the path and surrounded you with nature. It was beautiful and inspiring.

As I walked I realised it is not the site that is sacred it is us. I do know this. How can you even know a site is sacred unless you feel it is. You are tuning into the site and it is you that is the spirit recognising the created and picking up on other energies most probably subconsciously or at the soul level. I certainly feel the connection. The rocks themselves are not sacred unless people are there, if they are not there then who is to call them sacred? So now I look into the eyes of people and see the sacred site is them. That I am certain of. When I cried at Chichen Itz in Mexico (Mayan Pyramid) I am picking up on energy there. People have conducted ritual to express the spiritual, the place, rocks, soils become embued with this energy. Moreover, the planet has grid lines which do enhance energy and again we pick up on that. It is fascinating to reflect on.

After two hours I reached my car having felt I had picked up the energy of this place, enhancing my own energy. I drove back along the road towards Uluru. I started to see it emerge in the distance and again could feel the energy of this place. So instead of going to the caravan park with dinner on my mind, I turned right and headed again to Uluru, I wanted to see it one last time and say goodbye. I quietly drove around the perimeter taking in the crevasses, holes, slopes, waves in the rock, caves and nature, again just feeling in awe of this place. Indescribable really. I can post up photo’s but it is not the same as actually being here. People do fly in and fly out of this place, but there is something in the journey and arriving at such a sacred space. My feeling for indigneous people just grows as I barely know their greatness. The survival we look at with interest but when you imagine the knowledge they must have had to survive in such a harsh arid environment, the knowledge would be intimate.

I went back to the campground and organised to cook dinner at the BBQ area. Always people in there, lots of characters to meet.

I chatted with a mechanic who told me he had driven from Rockhampton (Queensland) 7,000km on his holiday. He had helped many stranded travellers along the way and saved them money. He says he gets lots of hugs and kisses. I said I can imagine they are thinking their luck to find a mechanic in the middle of no-where. He gave them advice offered to fix their cars and then they were on their way. I really love that Australian spirit of helping people out. He was filling up water bottles as supplies. He had jerry cans for fuel and he was telling me that in some places it was $3.30 per litre, thankfully here at Uluru he said it was $1.70 (when I filled up it was $1.83). I was worried it would be high only one petrol station. So that is workable. He was a typical aussie and a good bloke. I really enjoyed chatting with him.

I chatted with a guy was having his 60th birthday and his whole family were joining him. He was from Perth, one son had travelled from overseas to be there. He was so happy to have family around him and he said he heard their stories, he didn’t think he had done much (as a father) but realised he had. Great realisation I thought. Also he had survived a double heart bypass and said he felt great.

I met a really nice couple from Canada. He was working here for 3 months as a nurse and his girlfriend had travelled from Canada to be with him and have a holiday. She is a financial planner. Quite different in many ways but they seemed a lovely couple. He and I had a good chat about hospitals and he said the rural hospitals were much easier then big city hospitals like Toronto. Sometimes doctors didn’t turn up or the flying doctor service was too late. The latter he said was a great service. He enjoyed being a nurse. I asked him why he chose it. He said because it was stable work and he found as he got into it he loved it. He said he particularly liked Emergency. I asked if it was like the program ER, not that I watch it, but it popped into my mind, he said yes. He liked the excitement and fast pace.

He told me a story where this doctor had a heart attack whilst having a smoke. He was particularly fond of this doctor. He said the doctors did CPR on this guy for 30 minutes but couldn’t revive him. He said the nurses spent a further 15 minutes and brought him back. Out of love they were trying. They cracked his ribs but he is alive today. I was so impressed, they saved his life. He said it was a harrowing day and he was tired. He stood outside in the early hours and had a cigarette. He said then this woman turned up, he didn’t think she was part of the hospital. She could have sat anywhere but chose to sit next to him. She asked for a cigarette and he gave her one. She then proceeded to tell him about life. She encouraged him to live his life and many more thoughts he hadn’t considered. At first it didn’t register, later on he started thinking that there is a world out there. He noted how consumed he was in his work, he did like it but was missing out on life. This lady changed his life and he said this trip came out of that. To live his life.

We then talked about near death experience. I told him about my former brother-in-law who was a anaesthetic technician from Auckland hospital, New Zealand, and how he told me they would have people die on the table and then revive. The patients were able to detail what happened whilst they were technically dead. So after that they stopped joking or thinking the person was dead, realising the patient could come back to life. He also believed in another world. He said he believed things are meant to be. He said as a nurse when people were dying he was often priviledged to hear their words or insights about their life. As they were dying they would communicate their thoughts and feelings. I asked him how people handled death, he said most were peaceful but some were really frightened of death. Sometimes families would hold on. For example one guy said to his family if he was a vegetable to turn off the machine, when that happened they kept him alive. He said he viewed families as patients as well.

We had a really great chat and he shook my hand and introduced himself. His partner as well. We all hugged and then said goodbye.

As I left I jumped in my car which was near the BBQ. As I drove I saw a car with education on it. I stopped and headed to the driver. Turns out she is head of curriculum in Western Australia near Koolgardie. They are having a convergence of schools and I said maybe I can come as a clown. So she and her colleagues will confer tonight and see if it is possible. The event is on Wednesday. I asked how long to get there she is saying 3 hours. I think that is off the beaten track. So they will need to take me in a four wheel drive. I am told parking at the airport is free. So this may happen. Will find out tomorrow.

I then headed over to the Resort to check out the music. I went to the wrong one first and walked into air conditioned comfort. I was not lost on the contrast with the Olgas and the idea of art mimicking life. They had circles on the floor, aboriginals have designs for waterholes using concentric circles. The floor was the colour of Uluru. There were aboriginal paintings everywhere and expensive restaurants. This was for the wealthy tourists. They had the pool, deck chairs and luxury. I was flicking in my mind between indigenous survival with nature and the luxurious world of hotels. Yet my feeling was with the natural world. They didn’t need police, hospitals or restaurants, nature had its own chemistry set, they could eat from a smorgasboard of foods, they had community and love and ritual. A rich spiritual life and much travelling around their land. A truly natural and beautiful life. Very healthy. I am sure there are downsides to it, but on the whole I feel it to be the real life. This life of hotels, restaurants, entertainments fill gaps that are impossible to fill. We try to capture the spirit of indigenous culture but I don’t think we touch the surface.

I went to the information centre and asked the girl why there aren’t any indigenous people anywhere to be seen at Uluru or the town. She said they live at the village nearby and whites are not allowed there. I said why aren’t they cultural guides at the Cultural Centre at the rock, she said there are a couple of elders there. I hadn’t seen one. She said the Land Council had bought up the resort called Voyagers and there will be more indigenous people. She said they have to be trained. My feeling was not as staff but as cultural advisers. There is always the worry that the Land Council becomes like the previous owners and exploits the culture as they make more money. I would like to have spoken to one indigenous person to find out more about the significance of this land and their culture. Uluru opened in the 1950′s so you would think over a period of 61 years that indigenous people would be involved in a icon that promotes indigenous cultural life and history. It is used always in the marketing of Australia, as part of our cultural heritage. Very interesting I thought as I walked away.

I ended up at the resort with the music. Had a read through The Guardian to catch up on international news and to listen to some music. I noted more oil leases are going to be released to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. I recalled my heart sinking at the memory of that. Apparently 5 million barrels were released into the Gulf through the oil spill. They are also looking at Alaska, a pristine environment. I shook my head. I read about the Libyan rebls and NATO forces conducting 19,751 sorties. I wondered about the UK involvement and the Lockerbie issue. I wondered how the rebels would go running Libya. I also thought of the people’s movements emerging around the world. I read of the anti-nuclear position of the Japanese to my joy, experience is a hard task master but an important one. Interestingly enough I will be heading to Woomera (South Australia) which was a former long range missile site, it is a restricted area, covering an area of 27 million hectares. The biggest in the world. Nuclear tests were carried out there. My mind shifted to the next story where I learned that Vietnam was fearing a 1 metre rise in ocean levels which will flood 40% of the Mekong delta. Salinity was the key issue and the destruction of crops. I read on to find out more about Somalia and 10 people dying of starvation every day and the group Al Shabaab who had previously banned aid, I reflected on the politics and power games that affect millions of people. I felt for the people and the heartbreak of seeing their children die. Apparently 500 children had died in less than 2 months. I then turned to American politics to look at the presidential candidate who wants to appear unpresidential according to The Guardian. I reflected on presidential and to me it would appear statesman like (a male image of course) and intelligent. I have asked in research about leaders and mostly people see males. However, in the future we may find we have great female leaders who are feminine in terms of revealing emotions, feelings and nurturing society. I see this as a strength. Anyway the Republican candidate is Rick Perry and is connected with the Tea Party. I noted the journalists at The Guardian reflected concern about if the Republicans came into power. I found it interesting to read that the political strategist for Rick Perry was Karl Rove who had promoted Bush into the Whitehouse and throughout the war in Iraq. Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good spin. It is about the marketing of politicians and perceptions. Just get them across the line. It indeed works, until people start to question. I saw this next election as unimportant as my mind turned to financial collapse in the United States and a changing world order.

I drifted back to the music around me and felt happy to hear some familiar songs. I tapped my toes and hands. There is one called Great Southern Land, I listened to it with renewed understanding about this vast country. The sacredness is no longer a word but has real meaning for me now. I enjoyed a beer and headed back to my tent having plotted out my course for tomorrow.

Tomorrow head towards Adelaide via Coober Pedy. I have to check the kilometres on that. I know it is about 1,500 km to Adelaide so I am guessing half the distance. May have to do it in 2 days.

I find the contrasts very interesting as I move from one reality to another. In the news who is to know what is true and if it is reported with balance. It just creates impressions. The world I was in today was peaceful and felt like home to me.

I had a wonderful few days here and feel deeply inspired that I came. For me I felt the call home, which I have for some time now. It feels much stronger. Home is back to truth, back to what is real. I am on my way home and this has been an important visit.

Sweet dreams and may you awaken to peace which resides beneath the thoughts. It is the reality and the truth of who we are.

Much love to you.

Mohandas Gandhi

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”