So I left Innisfail for Townsville. My goodbye to everyone was very subdued. I picked a time of day most people would be at work or busy so that I could sneak off without a big farewell others had with groups of us going down the bus stop to see them off. Whenever we did this I was the guy who would jump on the bus with them or when the driver was distracted putting bags under jump in his seat. But I didn't want the attention of all this and maybe deep down I thought that if I left when everyone was there nobody would come to see me off. Anyway despite my insistence I still had Tom, James and Daniel accompany me to the bus stop. I was pretty glad to be honest because there are only two things in life that our certain death and that greyhound buses in Australia are always late, so their company provided me with a pleasant distraction until the bus arrived and they had waved me goodbye.
My bus journey was ok, a 4 and half hour stint, which included a 40 minute stop in Cardwell. I tried looking for a big statue of a crab which was meant to be there but I couldn't find it in my limited time. Pus I had also heard it might have been destroyed in a cyclone a few years ago. I will have to check this on google at some point. So I arrived in Townsville and got on the free mini bus to the hostel. After a short wait I checked in and got shown to my room. To my surprise there was someone in my room that I recognised, however, this was not good news. It was a German girl I had previously insulted during my birthday weekend in Mission Beach. Luckily she did not recognise me and left the morning after, I must point this was nothing to do with me she was just off to visit Magnetic Island. That night I didn't do much. The hostel was nice and clean, but it lacked atmosphere and when I decided to make noodles at 10.30pm I found the kitchen closed for business. Something I was not use too. So I decided to get myself an early night.
The next day, I went back into tourist mode. I toured the city and visited some of its major attractions. My first stop was the Reef HQ Aquarium, it was ok, but I didn't feel it represented a good value for money especially after going to an awesome aquarium in Kuala Lumpa. My next stop was next door to The Cultural Centre, which were half an art gallery and half an Aboriginal museum. It wasn't really my thing but it was cheap enough. Next door to this was the Tropical Museum of North Queensland. I enjoyed this and strangely found myself interested in the section about the wreckage of Pandora ship. There were also good sections on collectables and perceptions. This was in my opinion great value for money. Next up on the tour was a walk along The Strand. Not the famous street in London which is worth £220 pounds on the Monopoly board, but the seafront of Townsville. I committed myself to walk from the bottom to the top and along the way I saw the Anzac War Memorial Park, Strand Park and finishing at Kissing Point. Unfortunately I had no ne to kiss so took a few photos of the views and a wild lizard and made my way to my next destination. The next stop I wanted to see was Reid Park home of V8 supercars. This was about 2km out of town but still I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about, I trekked there my feet in pain with every footstep. It could be time to change the $3.50 flip flops I bought. I don't know what I expected but when I got there all there were closed garages and an empty track. I guess I at least expected one car or something. Anyway I trudged back to the hostel passing the Townsville Civic Theatre on the way where I could put my feet up and relax. So I made some pasta put my feet up and watched Scary Movie 4. I then decided to see what Townsville had to offer at night. The first bar was pretty swanky, the type that I'd take a girl on a date. Unfortunately though I was on my own. I soon established that this place wasn't for backpackers when I had to pay $9 for a corona! I'd made the tragic mistake of ordering before I knew the prices. I finished up and moved on, I went in the next place I stumbled upon. It was a place called the cactus saloon. Just about everyone was drinking Coronas. They couldn't be 9 big ones again could they? They weren't. They were a mere $3. The place was pretty busy; the only downside was that I wasn't allowed to wear my farmer's hat. I made the executive decision to spend mu bulging change pocket in there. Several coronas later I found myself in the Mad Cow observing women my Mams age dancing Gangnam style. I loved it. ;-) I moved on though, I popped in Flynn's where there was a live band playing, but I soon rolled back out when I realised the average age was at least 56. To my disgust Molly Malone's, the 5Bar and The Shed were all shut, so I headed back to the Mad Cow for a cheeky beverage or to. Then like every good night I ended up in the kebab shop where I asked for chips and gravy but got fish and chips. I didn't mind, fish and chips were meant to be $5 more.
The next morning I was awoke by two Germans getting there stuff together ready to check out. I got up and made myself Beans on Toast. I moosed about for a while checking the United score and Facebook and then decided that I would walk up the big hill - 'castle hill' that is situated slap bang in the middle of town. I put on my trainers I started the walk, I had looked at the map and chose to take the walking trail closest to the hostel named Goat Track. It was red hot, I was knackered almost immediately. I powered on though. Walking up steep roads, the roads then turned to rough terrain, which then turned into steps. At this point my legs were like jelly. Luckily there was a bench, so I had 5 minutes and took a few photos. I can only presume that this was the half way mark. Two guys then sprinted by me, motivating me to move on. It made me feel better about myself when I spotted that the runners were now only walking. The track was getting steeper, I was getting tired and after one of the runners had spotted a snake I didn't feel like sitting down on any of the steps. The heat was basking down, my legs were jelly again, I needed somewhere to sit, and luckily my prayers were answered when a massive boulder turned up. I sat down, and then I was sick a little bit. This instantly made my mind up that I should quit. Now I'm not one for quitting but sometimes quitting is good, like when my dad quit fags or when Robin Van Persie quit Arsenal for Man Utd. I felt like this would be one of the times that quitting would be for the greater good. So at roughly ¾ of the way up the hill I quit. Castle Hill had beaten me. I've done longer walks and climbed bigger hills so I was pretty disappointed. I'm not sure whether it was the $3 coronas from the night before, the massive walk I did the day before, me being totally unfit, the heat of the midday sun, my lack of will power or a combination of them all that made me fail. But I did, and walking back it semt like I had made the right decision there was now shade, there was a nice breeze. It was a little better than walking uphill in the blazing heat. However, I think if there was anybody with me I would have made it to the top. There would have been more encouragement and a macho thing about me that wouldn't have let me quit in front of someone else. But I still got to see some awesome views, but unfortunately no goats even though the track was named after the animal. I made my way back to the hostel where I took the strain of my legs with in my opinion a well-deserved rest.
I began to chill out on the internet, I spoke sent some messages, liked some status and stalked a few people. I then spoke to Tom and told him of my morning and last night's $3 coronas. He called me a lightweight, this rattled me. I become restless, doubting my decision to quit. I googled castle hill hoping to find many people who had failed so I could show Tom and say look I'm not the only one. I didn't everyone had made it, and the top looked awesome. I also discovered that most people walk up around 5pm. This made sense to me as it would be much cooler. So I made a decision there and then. At 4.38pm I would take on Castle Hill again, but this time I would be more prepared. I ate pasta for lunch to give me energy; I went to woolworths for a drink and found Haribo on offer. When Chris Moyles and the other celebs climbed Kilimanjaro for Children in Need I read that Haribos really helped them and their energy levels. I love haribo so didn't have to think too much about the purchase. I also picked out more comfortable shorts and had the brainwave that I would take my iPod as upbeat music must surely help. The only thing that could stop me reaching the top was my aching legs. I decided to rest them for the next few hours chilling out on my bed watching a movie, and then hopefully they'd be ready.
It had come to that time 4.38pm I had watched Mallrats, ate more pasta and assembled my walking stuff together. It was time to tackle the hill again. I put Arctic Monkeys on the iPod and began the trek from the hostel. It didn't last long as I forgot to pick my water up from the fridge. I quickly grabbed it and began. Would I fail again? At the first big slope I thought maybe I would. But I had things to prove. Firstly Tom, how dare he call me a lightweight and questioning why did I quit when I were so close. Thinking about it how is he to speak anyway. Let me tell you a little story about my dear friend Tom. He chose to copy me and set himself challenges for his time in Australia. I gave him one amongst plenty of others that for seven days he must only eat pies for breakfast, lunch, evening meal and snacks. He wasn't allowed and sides apart from sauce or the occasional cheese slice. He got to day 5 and late at night he was tempted into some of all things cheese on toast! He only had two days left, so he is hardly one to talk about people quitting so close to the end! Anyway I also had others to prove myself too, there is you my faithful blog readers, I couldn't have the main character of this blog being a failure, and I had to put that record straight. And thirdly, finally and most importantly I wanted to prove it to myself, that I still had it in my locker. And with that motivation I eased up the first slope and before I knew it I was half way, I didn't rest the Arctic Monkeys still cheering me on every step of the way. Then I got to the rock where I stopped before, there was no sign of my earlier sick. I stopped for a drink, I really needed a wee but there was too many people walking up and down. I dug deep and carried on. To my surprise I reached the top in 5 minutes. I didn't even need to touch the haribo on the way up. I took some photos, had my photo took and celebrated with a few cola bottles, gummy bears and fried eggs. I was pretty happy. The failure earlier in the day gave reaching the top more pleasure; it felt like scoring a goal. I stood at the top admiring the view with my arms aloft! I slowly made the way back downhill with every step seeming as sweet as the few haribo I ate at the top. I made my way back to the hostel and had a definite well deserved rest. That evening was pretty quiet; I had to be up early the next day to go to Magnetic Island so I chilled out and watched Black Swan, a very weird film and also some Frank Skinner stand-up.