Simon Benson & Alison Edwards
A Short Trip to the "Field of Light"
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We have flown up to Yulara - the resort beside Uluru, formerly known as Ayer's Rock. We have come for 3 nights. A short jaunt, thought I; until I was talking to another passenger on the 3-hour flight from Melbourne, because she was coming for overnight only!

It is, for us, a holiday; though a strange holiday because it means taking no time off work. It is a holiday, with holiday feel, neverthe less. We are staying in an apartment with access to four swimming pools, and with temperatures of ~ 40 degrees under blue skies. We haven't actually been out to Uluru, 18km distant, and we probably won't. We look at it in the distance from various lookouts.

Alison - it is a funny thing with birthdays - the ones ending in 0 seem to get more attention. I am not a party person and decide that for my 60th, I would like to see the Field of Light art installation at Yulara. October somehow got busy and it didn't seem possible but then in the long hot days of January, the temperatures at Castlemaine were the same as Yulara and being the off season, flights and accoodation deals were tempting, so we simpy booked.

It feels like a holiday to me -we can swim in lukewarm water many times a day, we can eat out or in, we can even go shopping!! There is almost unlimited time for reading and relaxing as from mid morning to late afternoon, the temperature makes just sitting very appealing. Early and late we have been exploring the walking tracks, looking at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, finding lizards and flowers and birds and just experiencing a green centre. The spinifex is all in flower and it softens the whole vista . We walked out to the camel farm yesterday and met some of the 50 residents there and talked with the staff while they saddled them ready for their working day.

We have discussed going out to the rock (20 km away) but hiring a car or being restricted to a large bus together with $100 entry fee and daily maximum temperatures of 40-41 degrees that mean most tracks are closed after 9 or 10 am mean that we are content to look at it from a distance from many vantage points and defer a second visit.

The field of light installation is magical, delicate, ethereal and the part I hadn't anticipated, it shimmers and changes colour every few seconds . Whole swathes of the 10 acre site will glow vivid red then fade to a soft silver, then turn deep blue. The 50,000 individual blown glass globes are mounted on flexible stalks and move with breeze. By the time you decide "one more picture because the red against blue is so pretty" or whatever, it will have morphed again. I wish I was a real photographer and could capture the vast vista of the desert sky with the milky way overriding the field of light, topped off by the large orange moon-rise just before we left, but !I will just have to trust my memory. It was worth coming half way across the continent.

Holidaying in Australia has a competely different feel to being abroad - I really like the casual way that conversations here just evolve, between international visitors, locals and staff . The staff here come from everywhere, some are local aboriginals, some are typical long term cetnre of Australia bus drivers, tour guides etc and jack/ jill of all trades who love the centre and there is a large sprinkling of multicultural overseas visitirs.

People who know us well may be surprised but both Simon and I have shed our usual behaviour patterns and embraced resort style chill. We must do this more often.