Alice is a wonderland
I am writing this from the cozy location of an internet outpost in the most bizare place I have travelled too thus far. I am currently in Alice Springs...often described as a desert oasis.
After a what felt like a long 3 hour flight across the simpson desert and into the 'red centre' of oz...we arrived in the city of Alice Springs. This is a small city with a dry river and bustling backpaker scene. It is used as the base of further travel into the outback (specifically to Uluru which is about 5 hours away).
I find this place slightly disturbing.
As you look around Alice you see two things: white travellers and shop owners selling souvenirs ...
and dirty, barefoot, unoccupied Aboriginals. These Aboriginals, who have easily and peacefully lived near this land for thousands of years now sit (often drunk) outside the shops (run by white owners) who sell the products they make.
The government, in an effort to acknowledge this obvious situation, has gone to great lengths to include Aboriginal influence in all tourist attractions. This includes a push to use the Aboriginal name Uluru, in place of the european named 'Ayres Rock", a culture centre explaining the significance of the area, and an attempt to persuade visitors NOT to climb the rock.
Yet, despite these good-intentions, one thing remains clear: the aboriginals are talked about, but never directly involved.
In the cultural centre, the town, the shops that sell their amazing artwork, personal representation does not exist.
I know little about the Australian colonization, or the full effects of this tremedous exploitation, but what I do know is that being a tourist in this land illicits a feeling of uneasiness.
Charles and I chose not to climb the rock...we felt (at the very least), we could pay that respect...