My first impression of Cairns was when i was getting off the plane and having to walk accross the tarmac to the terminal. I had been prepared for what I was reliably warned as "Australia at her hottest and most humid". I was not dissapointed. Anyone who has been to Vagas in the summer knows that feeling when walking out of the nice air conditioned hotels onto the strip. you open the door and are hit with the heat of a thousand invisible hair dryers. Well imagine that but with Cairns imagine also those hair dryers can somehow blow hot steam as well!
I hadnt loved Sydney needing the more personal friendly stranger you get in smaller towns. I got this the moment i left the airport terminal and a young lady wanted to know all about my iphone. After showing her it she took me to the taxi stop - she was a local and even told me to get intouch with her sister who owns a car wash and who is lookign for backpackers to do some work. At the taxi stop she wandered off to her own party to head into town. I jumped in and a nice elderly couple asked if i wanted to share the cab to save on money. Seemed like a good idea.
I got into my hostel - where the reception team were lovely. Really friendly, and started booking the trips I wanted to do. Then went for a wander to get some lunch. In fact you cant really walk too far in cairns in summer as the heat just knocks you silly. The good news is my hostel is dead centre in town.
Got back and checked into my room. Although in the first room the air con was leaking all over the bed. not a problem - went and got a second room. Then headed up to the shopping centre and got some groceries.
Decided to have an early night - and this is where unfortunately my good experiences with the hostel ended! Although managed to get to sleep quickly - i was woken about 3.30am by a group of maybe 6 people coming back into the hostel - Yelling (i mean really yelling at the tops of their voices) and making their way to their room (opp mine) where they put on their stereo at the top of the volume. I mean really my walls were vibrating. Oh and they continued to yell. This went on for about an hour - after which point they turned off the music and then....if you can believe this....at 5am decided it was a good time to practise their guitar. To be honest i was releived as it was quieter than the music. But the across the hall a bunch of english t*** decided in retaliation to blare techno music as loud as they could.
Somehow i got to sleep (i had to be up at 7am the next day) and made it up the next day to get out onto a boat heading for the great barrier reef and a day of snorkeling.
The boat was nice and the staff friendly again. In the briefing we were told all the usual spiel. When I asked if we should wear wetsuits (stinger breeding season at the moment) they said that they never did and had never been stung - although it was my choice. I opted to be macho and went without as it meant i could swim down and really get close.
The reef was ok - i mean as nice as the reef in mexico i swam at. I guess what was the real nice surprise was the sheer volume of fish on the reef. Like nothing I had ever seen before. Huge schools of over 200 black tangs, 2ft mauri wrass, a 3ft Parrotfish. It was incredible. But the thing that capped it all was getting to swin with a green turtle. I even surfaced with him from the bottom to the top.
After snorkeling made some friends and we made plans to meet up in a bar later that night. LOL a very drunken night at a bar called the woolshed - where for the first time i witnessed goldfish racing. The frickin americans won it with George W. Fish.
The next day I had intedned to sleep in - but being in the loudest hostel in Australia I got up around 10 and randomly decided to jump on a bus headed for Palm Cove (I liked the name). It is a small village north of Cairns. One of several where a lot of the locals live - although this one was mainly a tourist area. All these settlements have their own beaches. I was glad I came - this was a delightful little town and thoroughly enjoy a day there. Got back home and went out for a pizza. To my uneding delight I was treated to a 2am indoor football match conducted by pissed english t*** substituting the ball for a bin (which by the way makes 100 times the noise). The Night staff here are s***. in fact in the first case were involcved in the noise making. I decided there is no point to try to fight the party!
Today got up feeling pretty rough. Was meant to take the worlds longest gondola up to an area called Karunda over rainforests. But in the end decided to do this tomorrow - so went to the shooting gallery where I got to shoot several revolvers, magnums, colt 45s and even a winchester style rifle. Hell yeah!
Tomorrow I head to Karunda and in the evening go to see a magic show and Sunday I head up the coast for a 3 day trip to cape tribulation (Where Captain cooks ship ran aground and he shored and repaired it), into the Daintree forest (pre jurasic plant life, swin in the daintree (inhabited by salt water crocs - and rather worryingly where an aussie tourist was whisked away from the world of the living just 5 years prior), Port Douglas and Cooktown.
Will write again with details of all this swarthy excitment - plus keep your eyes peeled for pics of me in my Genuine kangeroo leather aussie hat!
Phil be careful in India - would rather swim with the salt water crocs than go anywhere need that craziness!