Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Re(ef)peat... See what I did there?

It’s now June 30th and I’m in Cairns again. This time, however, I’m not nervous or a stranger. I’m in a familiar land showing my mom the ropes of the Australian way of life. Day 1 in northern Queensland it rained. The first day of rain in June and we had just stepped off the plane. We took a shuttle to our apartment, set our stuff down, and proceeded to find a way back into the city. I remembered Cairns as being a small city with a lot of different shops, bars, and restaurants with not many people. Cairns is set up in very square blocks that reach all the way to the water. Mom and I walked towards the water first and admired the little man-made lagoon along the waters edge. Surprisingly, I could not get a grasp of how the blocks were located, most likely because I’m used to Boston where the city streets have little order and are narrow and winding. We poked around the shops before deciding it was time to eat and have a drink. We stopped in a restaurant called Rattle and Hum to have some lunch. We continued walking around the city a little more, still exploring the mostly unknown territory, had a few
drinks and then headed back to the apartment for the night. We decided that it would be better to plan some activities for the upcoming days, as the weather did not seem to be cooperating.Day two we awoke to a cloudless sky! We threw on our bathing suits as fast as we could and literally ran down to the beach. Unfortunately, the sky stayed nice for alittle over an hour and soon enough we were soaking wet with rain yet again. Instead of going back to Cairns right away, we walked around Palm Cove and I finally got a Bali Bintang singlet I’ve been wanting forever! When we were fairly hungry, we took the bus into the city again and had a snack. Then, we channeled our inner Australian and had a few drinks before inhaling the most delicious Thai food ever. It was still quite early after dinner so mom and I decided to do what we do best (kind of): we gambled a little at the casinoin Cairns. We played roulette and won almost $5! We had planned a big day for Thursday so we headed back to bed. We awoke bright and early on Thursday morning, boarded a shuttle bus, and were off to the small rainforest town of Kuranda.

Before we came up to the rainforest area, mom had said that she really wanted to hold a koala and pet kangaroos, so we found a trip that allowed us to do both while also admiring the town

of Kuranda. We took a scenic, historic train ride up the mountains before arriving in the village. We shopped around in the famous Heritage Markets of Kuranda. They literally had everything in the markets! Then we went to the koala gardens to hug, feed, and pet all the native Australian animals. Mom and I made friends with the cutest wallaby! Leave it to us to find the most amazing scones in all of Kuranda, served with cream and jam and then have delicious hot pies for lunch. Finally, we escaped the rain by taking the Skyrail down the mountains. The ride was unreasonably cloudy and at one point we couldn’t see anything in front or behind- kind of scary! The Skyrail stopped at two different lookout points, though the second there was little visibility. Overall, we had a really fun day.

Tanya had hooked us up big time for a reef trip on Friday morning, so we woke up around 6:30am to board a bus into Port Douglas. The weather was still not cooperating, but we risked the trip anyway. After overdosing on motion sickness meds and eating our weight in ginger snaps, mom and I boarded the Quicksilver SilverSonic along with 45 high schoolers, who clearly had not taken any medication. The water was rough and, I’m not joking, about half of the people on the boat had to utilize the white paper bags offered by the staff. We quite possibly experienced the most unique trip to the reef. Not only was the water choppy, but at our first stop it started down pouring while we were snorkeling. We had a lot of fun and saw some amazing fish, coral, and shells. At one point, one of the crew members were feeding an enormous fish they nicknamed Old Greg and everyone got to pet him! On the way home, the captain stopped the ship because a humpback whale had breached right in front of our ship. The funniest part of it all was that the other Quicksilver boat showed up right next to us and it turns out Tanya was working there! After finally getting our feet on solid ground, mom and I headed into Port Douglas to have some dinner. And then the most exciting thing happened- TANYA SHOWED UP. Ok, we had kind of planned it, but it was still so awesome. I realize that the last time I had seen her was about 7 days previous, but it was still great to hang out for a little while.

Saturday morning mom and I went to a little café in Palm Cove for brekky and then took a small shuttle back up to Port Douglas for the day. We had a really fun day shopping, walking on the beach, and watching some footy games. Tanya met us for a quick second for our final goodbyes (which I’m still sad over, btw) and we boarded our shuttle around 9:15pm to get back to the apartment for last minute repacking. Now, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m on a plane to Melbourne for the real adventure to begin. Cairns was an amazing five days and despite the weather, mom and I had a lot of fun. It’s a very bittersweet feeling for me. I am excited to go home in eleven days, but I don’t want to leave this amazing place. Not only that, but leaving Cairns means actually leaving Tanya and the warm weather, but I am on my way to Melbourne; the iconic city of Australia and somewhere I’ve never been. Mom and I had a conversation earlier that made me realize how much this place has become my mom. She asked, “how long do you think it takes people to not notice the Australian accent? A few years?” and I answered “Only a few months. I hardly notice it anymore.” And it’s true. I also find myself using Australian expressions like reckon, heaps, keen, and so many more.

1 comment:

  1. Love reading your blogs.. I will miss them but am excited to see you in a few weeks.. maybe we can go to the Outback..I know.. it won't be the same..