Trip Start Dec 22, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, April 8, 2010

After bidding our lovely family in Melbourne adieu, we boarded the discount airline Jet Airways and crossed the great continent of Australia by air. Once the plane touched down, we were greeted by our first real expense in Australia to date: a short cab fare. After grabbing our bags, I hailed a cab from the side of the Cairns airport entrance. To my surprise a tall stocky man emerged from a now dwarfed Subaru outback (no pun intended I am sure) what appeared to be a hook for an arm! Yes, I said it I just hailed a giant with a hook to drive us into the slight drizzle of a fall night. 

The cab driver seemed nice enough, save for the ominous hook steadied against the right side of the steering wheel (remember, they drive on the right hand side in Aussie land). After a couple of small side streets later, we were out near 30 bucks. Hell, I wasn't going to argue; after all, we had escaped with our lives!!!

The Heritage Cairns was nice enough. Seemed like a smaller efficiency flanked on either side by churches and had a small, but nice hot tub. After dropping our bags off in the room, we made our way up the block to the main drag known as the Esplanade. Dotted with trendy surf shops, hostels and ridiculously overpriced restaurants, the Esplanade was exactly everything that I thought it would be. I do have to say that the occasional digiridoo shop helped legitimize the location. That night I grabbed the cheapest thing available: a delicious kebab. After nearly swallowing it whole, we perused a couple shops, grabbed a cheap McDonald's ice cream and made it back to our hotel. 

In the morning we woke up early and packed our beach gear for a lovely morning. When we got to the area that should have been a beach we were a little suprised: THERE WAS NO BEACH! Wait a second, weren't we on the coast of Queensland getting ready to dive the great barrier reef? Where the hell was the beach? Once we made it back to Esplanade we walked up to the edge of the boardwalk that framed what appeared to be a bayou. The bayou was an expansive shallow plain of foul smelling shallow water, mangroves, mud and prehistoric looking mudskippers. So it was very apparent that we my board shorts and towel tucked under my arm weren't going to come in handy this morning.

Just then we decided to stroll down the long boardwalk and we came upon a small pool area known as "the lagoon". Mainly a place for kids, the lagoon pool was packed with yellow floaty sporting 5 year olds. With the morning starting to wind down, the early 20 something hostellers began to emerge hungover hidden behind ultra trendy retro ray bans. We took a turn laying out next to the college kids on the grass for a couple hours and then prepared ourselves to set out to the barrier reef in the morning. 

After the GBR we returned for a night before heading up to Cape Trib. Our friends from the Liveaboard convinced us to save some loot by checking into a local hostal called The northern Greenhouse. Have to say, sharing the room with 4 other strangers wasn't the most comfortable or glamourous thing, but saved 50$ and made some memories for sure!!!

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