Daddy Bryan Rides Again
Cairns Travel Blog› entry 10 of 11 › view all entries
July 16th, 2006 – by: bdstans
On behalf of the entire Qantas family, we'd like to welcome you to Cairns. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Oh yeah? do you really? Or are you just saying it because it's on your precious little card? Hmmmmm?
It's much warmer in Cairns, but i don't remember ordering rain with my warmer weather.
Mr. Naked Butt
My first morning in Cairns i awoke to a 3 year old wearing NO pants. He was about two inches from my face. "Hello!" he says, very obviously expecting a reply. Yes, hello, oh pantless one. I'm not going to say whether or not this is better than getting screamed awake by a million birds like on Kangaroo Island...i'll just say that it's at least a change of scenery.
I live in a house with 4 other people here in Cairns, all speaking different forms of the English language.
The pantless one is the means by which i'll be earning my keep while i'm here. That's right....i'm a nanny. My hostess decides that first morning that i should go with her to drop off Mr. Naked Butt at day care--wait, day care? Why am i here again? She also says i should go for a walk down the Esplanade and get a feel for the city (it's more of a town really).
But it's raining. "yes, definitely it will be nice, yes?" and she hands me her small, feminine umbrella.
But it's 8:30 in the morning? "okay here we are, it's okay? you'll have a nice time yeah? okay bye!" click, creak, slam, vroom!
and i'm standing alone in the rain on the esplanade, fembrella in hand.
The esplanade starts at the pier and goes down the shore until i don't feel like walking anymore (yes, that's the official distance). At the pier end there is a "lagoon" which is really just a man-made swimming pool no deeper than a meter (look at me using the metric system like i think i'm all smart and junk). It's guarded quite effectively by these large, silver fish on sticks. Along the boardwalk that runs the length of the Esplanade you will find interpretive signs boasting information about the local culture, heritage, and natural environment. You will also find a couple playgrounds to dump your kids at, stretching and workout stations for joggers or people who just like to stretch and work out, and a bunch of construction workers tearing up various portions of the boardwalk for the sole purpose of making you go on tedious detours.
Man, If i Could Only Find a Tourist Shop
The downtown area of Cairns is lined with cafes, shops, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and hostels, and...oh yeah, Tourist Information Shops. So many tourist info shops that trying to decide which one to check out is not only nearly impossible, but is most certainly a fruitless endeavor anyway. Just close your eyes, spin around a few times, and walk in the direction you're facing when you stop (opening your eyes again is recommended at this stage). If you're lucky, you won't end up smack dab in the middle of two shops and be forced to make a decision.
The vast variety of things to do in Cairns is overwhelming. Do you want to go river rafting? How 'bout sea kayaking? Wind surfing? Wake boarding, skydiving, bungee jumping, rain forest canopy exploring, hang gliding? Would you could you like to explore the Great Barrier Reef in a boat? Could you would you in a plane? What about a pair of fins and a snorkel mask? Learn to scuba dive? Ride horses or ATV's? Maybe sport fishing is more your speed? Or just laying around on countless beaches? And on and on and on...
I could spend all my money and thousands of someone else's in a mere two weeks here and there'd still be things i didn't get to do. But i will do no such thing (because i'm poor and need to eventually make it home)...i'll just have to choose a couple things and pretend to be satisfied.
It gets better
Speaking of the Whitsunday Islands. My hostess just moved from there and still has a house there and she and Mr. Naked Butt are going to Switzerland on Aug. 4th and won't be returning until september. So she gave me the option of staying here in Cairns or at her home in the Whitsundays while they're away. Hmm...a free place to stay in the Whitsunday island paradise with no obligations aside from not trashing the place? Don't mind if i do. Very kind of her. I must have a face that screams "you'd be silly not to trust me!" which really is true.
LEFT side of the road!
Friday my hostess offered up the car to me so i could go check out a beach or two. Sounds good to me! So i take the key, grab amy's camera, and head out the door. As I open the driver side door something immediately seems wrong. Someone has stolen the steering wheel and replaced it with a glove box. Why would they do such a thing? It takes me a few seconds to overcome my autopilot and remind myself that this is Australia and everything to do with automobiles and driving is backwards. I realize then that i'll have to make a constant conscious effort to remind my brain to do everything oppositely or else i'll end up playing chicken with some poor, unfortunate Aussie.
Just throwing my bag across the right hand side of the car to the left feels strange. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. The first turn i have to make, off of a side street into busy, two way traffic, nearly proves to be my last. It's a right hand turn so i naturally look to my left and see no cars coming. Safe. I begin to pull out and realize why there are no cars coming from the left; they're all coming from the right...and they don't like me. Slam on the brakes, get honked at by 5 cars, and regroup.
From that moment on i had to chant out loud "Left side of the road. Left side of the road!" to keep my head right (or LEFT, rather) and my instincts from taking over. I come to the second turn and i'm ready this time. Okay, right hand turn which is like left hand turn in the states; noooo problem.
Aside from the fact that i rode the white line the whole way because i'm not used to there being so much CAR on my left side, the rest of my drive went relatively smoothly. Okay, well, i had to do a full lap in a roundabout before i figured out how to get out without dying, but that's normal right?
The one beach i made it to was nice enough: sandy, lined with palm trees, rain forest backdrop...but it lacked the dramatic coastal features that the Kangaroo Island beaches had plenty of. I prefer sand plus rocks and cliffs and stuff. Dear Lord, have I become a beach snob? Who cares! The water is warm enough to walk in without losing a toe and this pleases me. Plus i'm pretty sure i am not allowed to complain about anything because i'm here and you're merely reading about it. I truly wish you could all be here with me.
I walked down the beach for an hour or so, just enjoying the warm and the waves lapping up and over my feet. I had to dodge a couple dog piles, but not to worry, my lateral movement skills are superb.
It's been raining almost everyday since i've been here so that's why there aren't many pictures in this entry. So sorry, please forgive. I will try and spend some money on some sort of tourist activity monday or tuesday, weather permitting.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!