What's wrong with Uluru?
On the one hand, nothing.
It's a big rock in the middle of the desert, just like it has been for hundreds of millions of years.
On the other hand, it's a bit odd when you can go days and not see a single Anangu, or Aboriginal person in the area.
All the hotels seem to be staffed primarily by Koreans. The tour guides are all white Aussies, with the exception of the dozens of Japanese guides who exist to ferry the hundreds of Japanese tourists seeking to climb the rock daily.
Of course the locals don't like people to climb the rock. Not that the Japanese give a shit. They're not interest in Anangu culture (just as well, as the locals and their culture are quite hard to encounter out here), they just want to conquer the big red rock.
Everything is preposterously priced, as you might expect in the middle of four deserts. But that is disappointing given the poor level of service going on.
I'm not like those pampered Yank tourists who go to Third World countries and whinge non-stop about the conditions. Really, I'm not.
But this is Oz, and the prices are eye-watering: $45 just for a lift to go the four kilometres from the accommodation to the rock and back in a bus. And that's the cheapest way to do it. Tours (with 22 year old Sydney born guides reading from scripts) and food (mostly fast) are also four times the price they ought to be.
Continually, I'm hearing and reading the lip-service paid to embettering the Aboriginals of the area with bemusement.
Why isn't there a college out here to teach the locals how to work their own land? How to run accommodation and tours without Whitey as middleman to claim all the profit? Why do they still live off handouts in a place that's clearly minting money?
And why does all the staff in the hotels and tour firms rotate with such frequency that a person here for 12 months is considered a veteran?
Uluru may be big in Japan. But for me, despite its awesome beauty, it has been a disappointment.
Australia could learn a lot from some so-called Third World countries about how to assist indigenous populations rather than simply throwing them a bone like token land ownership then going on to rape their history and culture for tourist bucks.
Photos to follow once I reach Melbourne.