T e x t, a u d i o, v i d e o,a n d i m a g e s b y S e a n D o y l e
The hot, flat, hard ground of Australia's Red Center repels the casual visitor with an inhospitable landscape of sunburn-red rock, dirt, and scrub bushes. The only water out here is hidden deep underground, and only the Aboriginals know where to find it. Their tribal songs teach them this and other vital desert survival skills, as well as mythology and spirituality.
I went to Alice Springs, the only town out here, and traveled west, then south, towards Ayers Rock in World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Aboriginals "own" all the best of this real estate - it's sacred to them, yet they let tourists like me walk all over it.
There are, of course, negotiated reasons, but basically, curious "whitefellas" loaded with gizmos and New Age pretensions can't touch the land's soul. Where we see interesting rock, they see ancient and epic legends, woven into the fabric of everday life. The Australian outback - in from the beaches, out beyond the bush - is another country, and its language is subtle and seductive.
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