Day 1: Cairns (Kickstart Meeting)

Trip Start Jul 18, 2012
Trip End Aug 03, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, July 21, 2012

Corina and I just kind of woke up without alarms this morning, since our kickstart meeting wasn't until the afternoon. We had to check out of the hotel and then check back in later, since the first night was separate from Contiki. We just threw our bags in the hotel lobby since that's what everyone else was doing. I walked around a bunch and bought some crackers and a much-needed water bottle. I found the location for a geocache, but it was on exercise equipment that someone was using, so I decided it wasn't worth waiting for. Once it got closer to being time for the meeting, I went and sat in the hotel lobby. That's when I met Katherine (England), Jo (England), Nicola (Ireland), and Anita (Ireland). Katherine hesitantly asked "Contiki?" because she knew she'd sound like a crazy person if I had no idea what she was talking about. We sat and talked in the lobby until the meeting started.

At the meeting, Jara (our tour manager) took our vouchers and had us fill out emergency contact sheets and things like that, and then she went over the optionals for Cairns and the Whitsundays. I signed up for the barrier reef cruise ($165 AUD) and the rainforestation nature park ($65 AUD), both in Cairns. We had some time to kill before dinner, so a bunch of us hung out by the pool and talked. In addition to Corina (from Germany), Katherine, Jo, Nicola, and Anita, I then got to meet Jessie (Virginia), Alison (New York), and Tiphanie (Belgium). I know there were 16 of us on the tour for that first day, so I think it must have been David (Ireland), Grainne (Ireland), Nathan (Canada), Lorne (Canada), Brad (England), Alan (Scotland), and Julie (Scotland) who were also at the meeting but were apparently too cool to hang out with us afterward. =P

Dinner tonight was at a place called the Woolshed. We had the other 25 people from the northern territory join us at this point. They all already knew each other, so I was worried that it would be hard to make friends with any of them. I felt out of place with all the drinking going on, and it didn't help that when I finally got my pizza, I dropped it while trying to get it back to the table and had to wait for another one. As soon as Jara announced that the early bus was coming, I jumped up and was eager to leave. I was worried that this was how the whole trip was going to be and that I had made a huge mistake in signing up for two Contikis back to back. Thankfully, that didn't end up being the case, but this first night of the tour definitely wasn't the best.
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