Disgusting tourists use Uluru as a toilet

The otherworldly red rock of Uluru (Ayers Rock) that rises above a flat expanse of Australia‘s Northern Territory has long been considered a sacred site to the native Aboriginal people. Against their wishes, over 100,000 people climb the rock, which is just over 1100 feet tall, each year. Recently, the National Parks service proposed a plan that would close Uluru to climbers.

There were many reasons given for the proposed climbing ban, including the site’s significance to the Aboriginal people, increased erosion on the rock, and the danger involved in climbing the rock(it is estimated that around 35 people die while attempting to scale it each year). A guide for the Anangu Waai tour company has now cited another reason – people are using the sacred spot as a toilet. After they get to the top, they take a “bathroom break” out of sight before starting their descent. It’s an idea so revolting that you hope it can’t possibly be true, but the director of the National Parks has backed it up. He says that in busy times, the levels of E. coli at the base of Uluru reach dangerous levels as the filth washes down the rock with the rain.

The Northern Territory government opposes the proposal. If Uluru were to be closed to hikers, fewer people might visit, and the area’s tourism industry could suffer. As per usual, environmental and social ideals become tangled with economic concerns and the country’s Environmental Minister will have to consider both when he makes his decision on a 10-year plan for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which he says will be made “in due course”. Looks like it you want to climb Uluru, you should get there now….but please hit the bathroom before you go.

[via Times Online]

Weird sign of the day – what does this mean?

I’m not entirely sure what the worst part is of this collection of signs – that they had to show their ban on pooping in the parking lot so visually, or that the fine (Bußgeld) for messing up things is a whopping EUR1533.88 ($2100).

If you are wondering how they got such a weird number for the fine, they simply converted it from DEM3000 (Deutschmarks) to Euros during the conversion. That is much more democratic than simply rounding it down to EUR1500.

I’m guessing the funniest thing is the combination of all of the above, along with such insanely long words as “Ordnungswidrigkeitsverfahren”. Try saying that a couple of times.

The flight from hell involves a passenger covered in poop

There have been plenty of stories in the past year involving passengers going berserk and attacking the crew and others on their flight.

But every now and then I read a new one, and just can’t help think “what the hell?”.

Such is the story of a Continental Express flight from Houston to Omaha last week. Halfway during the flight, a middle aged man left the lavatory covered in his own fecal matter.

At that point the poor flight attendant tried to move passengers away from this lunatic and ordered the man to clean himself. Things then got out of control, and the flight attendant ended up on the floor being beaten by the unruly passenger.

Fellow passengers came to the assistance of the flight attendant, and managed to get the poop covered man buckled into a seat and calmed down for the remainder of the flight.

Upon arrival at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, the man was detained, and taken into custody by the care facility in Iowa where he lives. The flight attendant ended up with a black eye, and probably a horribly smelly uniform.

Authorities are investigating whether the mental condition of this passenger should bar him from flying on his own in the future. Personally, I hope he takes a train next time, as I have no need to witness anyone covered in poop, planes are dirty enough as it is.

(Via: WOWT Omaha)

Packing out Last Night’s Dinner

It’s not every day that the New York Times writes an entire article about poop.

And yet, they did exactly that last week when they sent a reporter to the top of Mt. Whitney to crap into a little plastic bag.

Fellow Gadling blogger Erik Olsen recently posted about the new environmental requirements for those scaling the largest peak in the contiguous United States: pack out what you pack in. And yes, that means your poop.

The Forest Service, tired of cleaning up after the slew of hikers who summit the peak every season and airlifting their poop down to the desert floor, has finally closed up the outhouses along the route and are now handing out baggies with climbing permits.

This change in policy was something the New York Times felt was worth some investigative journalism and therefore sent reporter Felicity Barringer and her bowels out to the West Coast to summit the peak and try out the bags.

The result is a rather engaging article accompanied by a cool video with some amazing footage–none of which, by the way, is of Barringer squatting, thank god!

Photo of the Day (9/13/07)

Pack out what you pack in.

This is the age-old outdoor rule. And here, taking this decree to the extreme, is a good friend of mine who recently climbed Mt. Whitney in California.

I’ll let you guess what he’s packing out.