Cairns, The Armpit of Australia

March 22, 2008

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Culture Shock! Wow, I miss Japan. ;) The flight to Cairns wasn’t too bad, but I got snagged out of the Customs line for questioning. Do I really look like a hippy backpacker? Anyway, they wanted to know why I didn’t have a flight out of Australia already booked if I only plan to be here for a few weeks. I finally convinced them that I wasn’t interested in working a minimum wage job in Australia and they let me through.

I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about Cairns. I spent a lot of time planning the rest of my time in Australia and priority #1: buying a plane ticket out of this country. OK, I’m being too hard on Australia. So far, it’s full of young British kids on their gap year and it just feels crowded. It’s not all bad, I’d just rather be in Hawaii. It exists for the Great Barrier Reef. However, it was a good base to get my planning out of the way, do laundry, book flights, bus tickets and tours. So after several days of errands, I’m back on the fun track. This morning I woke up early and headed to the marina for my snorkel trip on The Great Barrier Reef. I picked a smaller sail boat instead of the pontoon options that carry hundreds of people. Great choice, it was so much fun. Today was a turning point for my opinions on Australia. I really should have done something fun the first day I arrived in Cairns!

I officially love to sail! I snorkeled off the boat for an hour of so, before checking out Green Island. There is a crocodile zoo on the island. Oddly, I was the only one walking around, and it’s somehow creepier to come across a crocodile (even in a zoo) when you’re alone. After watching the crocodiles I walked around the perimeter of the island, which was really fun, hopping across rocks and wading in the water (while trying to not think about crocodiles)! The boat came and picked us up around 2pm. The crew are relentlessly flirty, but hey, it’s their job! On the way back to Cairns we picked up a ton of speed, the side of the boat was almost horizontal with the water and you’re just sitting there holding on to a rope, and if you let go you would splash straight into the water. It’s an amazing feeling. Love it!

Traveling for a long period of time is more like “real” life than a typical vacation, since you have your up days and your down days.