Sunday, February 06, 2005

Hello from Cairns Australia

Oh my God is it hot, I'm talking Africa hot, Tarzan couldn't take this heat. I got into Cairns (pronounced "cans", why they have the "i" and "r" I don't know) around 9:30pm local time after a long day of travel. I left Christchurch around noon and headed to the airport. I dropped of the Tan Titan, (he will be missed) and got a ride to the airport. I had a nice three hour flight to Sydney. Then a 2 hour layover until my flight to Cairns, which was another 3 hour flight. The moment I stepped off the plane the humidity hits you like sucker punch to the chest. I had just come from a nice cool and very dry plane (25% humidity on most planes) to the 90% (at least) humidity and 85 degrees of Cairns. I made a bee line to the outside as nicotine levels had reached a dangerously low level. I truly felt I could cut the air with a knife. The nice thing is my skin is no longer dry and flaky. I hopped in a cab for the short ride to my motel. I got my room key and found my room overlooking the pool. As I opened the door it was hotter in my room than outside, not at a good feeling. The first thing I did was figured out how to get the A/C working. I then put on my swimsuit and went down to the pool to try and cool off. The pool was about 5 degrees cooler than the air but it was enough to cool me down. After about 30 min just sitting on the steps I went to the room which now was still warm but now much drier. I had crossed 3 time zones so I was very tired when I finally got to bed around midnight.

I woke up this morning around 8 to the sound of a heavy tropical rain. 5 minutes later it was gone. I didn't want to leave the room because of the heat and humidity. You have to remember I just spent 3 weeks in what I can only now, call great weather in New Zealand, never to hot and humidity never above 60%. I walked around for a for the next 5 hours in town. The rain would come in buckets for five minutes then go away. Some times it would just rain lightly, which is the best because you don't care about walking in it. Sure it gets your cloths slighly wet but after it stops you dry out quickly, plus it does cool you down for a bit. I have never been one for walking in the rain but here I have no problem with it, as long as you are inside or under cover for the heavy downpours. I picked up a rental car for the next 4 days. ("Baby Blue" a tiny Toyota Echo) I didn't think I would need one until I got here and figured out how far the beaches are from town (about 6-8 k) and I am not walking that far in this heat. I would say about half of the shops were closed, as it is Sunday, so I just looked around to see what the town has to offer. I found a shop that sells only digerydoos (sp?) and sat there for about 45 minutes learning how to play this native instrument. I got the hang of it after awhile. It is not as easy as it may seem. I am not sure if I am get one and have it shipped home. The other place I went to was a gallery of a local photographer. For those of you who have told me I take good photos, let me be the first to tell you, I am a child compared to the work of Peter Lik. I walked around the gallery for 45min in awe. Checkout his website I picked up his two coffee table books, one of Australia and one of America and had them shipped home. The website gives you an idea of his work but to see it up close, it is amazing and huge, the average photo was 20" by 50" panaromas. I walked around looking for a place to eat lunch, hoping for a change from NZ. I won't hold you in suspense, it is not all that different. I do learn something new everyday though. I ordered an cheeseburger (I expected exactly what I got in NZ, and that's what I got, some sort of "meat product" infused with onion) and a vanilla milk shake. On the menu it had milk shake or a thick milk shake. I figured I would get the regular and I didn't want a lot of ice cream. Little did I know if I wanted ice cream I needed to get the thick shake. There idea of a milk shake is take some milk add some vanilla flavor and whip. I guess they didn't lie to me, they shook up some milk. I will know better in the future. (I would kill for a Jersey Mikes giant #13, heavy lettuce, heavy mayo, salt, oregano, oil and vinegar. Could someone get it for me, pack it in dry ice and mail it to me, please, I'm not kidding, when I get back to Newark I may drive to Bay Head just to get one.)

So what is my agenda for the next few days? I am trying to find a place to watch the Superbowl tomorrow. It starts at 10am here so finding a bar that's open will be tough. I was hoping I could watch it at the motel but the tv channel selection is weak at best. I plan on doing one day diving on the Great Barrier Reef and one day exploring the rain forest. I have yet to book anything because the weather right now sucks for both. There is a low pressure system just off to the west that is giving us this lovely weather. (I just noticed that below the equator low pressure systems spin clockwise and high pressure spins counter clockwise. Opposite of what I am used too. This explains the whole bathtub drain thing you have always heard about.)

I am still leaving here on the 10th for Sydney. I have two days booked for the city. I think this will be enough to see the Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and some beaches. Other than that I have no other interest in big cities. (I have already been to the greatest city in the world, New York City, no other city come close.) After that I am not sure if I will go to Adelaide, Melbourne or Hobart in Tasmania. I will make that choice tomorrow at the Quantas ticket office.

All right enough for now. Hugs and kisses to those who want them, bag tags to those who don't. What's the capital of Thailand? ;-)

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