We can't stop here - this is bat country!

Trip Start Nov 11, 2012
Trip End Nov 17, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, November 11, 2012

As soon as we found out that there was going to be an eclipse in Port Douglas, we all knew that we had to go and see it. It's rare that things like this happen in parts of the world so close and hospitable - although close is the far more important part of that equation. We had been planning this trip for 18 months by the time we got here, and to be honest, I think the forward planning has been worth it. There had been talk at one stage of heading to the Eclipse Festival - there are some excellent acts headlining, and an eclipse in the middle of a massive international festival seems like it would be pretty cool. However, in the end we opted to hire a flat and just spend a week hanging out on the beach and relaxing. I have never been to Port Douglas before, so for me every experience is new and exciting. It's like travelling to another country, but without the usual language and cultural struggles, and also without the severe jet lag.

We all converged on Sydney airport glad of having booked a flight on Sunday morning. Originally we had thought to fly to Cairns on Saturday, but given that the Virgin Airlines computer system crashed (causing chaos across many Australian domestic flights) I think that we ended up making a good decision. The check in and flights were as uneventful as could be expected given we were flying Jet Star, and when we arrived in Cairns our hire car was ready and waiting.

The road to Port Douglas is long and windy, which unfortunately meant that we had to pull over so that I could have a tactical puke. In between the vomiting and dry retching, I did manage to admire the long stretches of sandy coastline, with absolutely no one on it. It is Irikanji season I guess, but it still made me feel happy. Sydney is a hard place in which to find a quiet place for oneself - I think here I will be able to have some good 'me' time.

Arriving to our flat we were pleasantly surprised by an unbelievably well thought out townhouse with all of the mod-cons, including the most important one of all; air-conditioning. It was pretty warm, but not the unbelievable heat that I had been preparing for. Once settled we ventured out into 'town' to see what was there and stock up on lots of tasty foods to keep us going for the week. We had all thought that Port Douglas would be a tiny town akin to many of the small coastal towns along the NSW coast that we have visited together, however upon arriving into town we were amazed at how big and modern the facilities are. There are many different cafes offering all manner of foods to cater for the most discerning of diets, and the various locals that we spoke to were extremely helpful and friendly. Sometimes I can really understand the appeal of moving north and leaving the big, impersonal city behind.

After a well earned nap and once the sun had gone down we went for a short walk along the beach - our townhouse is literally three minutes walk down to the beach, but about a 10 minute walk to the safe swimming area. The 10 minute walk is worth it though - the water is warm like the Mediterranean Sea, and dipping our feet in it was delightful. So delightful in fact that we made the decision to head back to our townhouse through the back streets and partake in the pool facilities on site. There were bats in all of the palm trees along the way, and the noise they were making is akin to the hoardes of bats in Centennial Park at sunset. The pool was great though - I'm looking forward to more night swimming on this trip.

The whole day, between the travelling, not-so-opressive-but-still-hot heat/humidity and vomiting, has been quite exhausting. I am looking forward to a tasty pasta dinner and a good sleep in. There is apparently yoga on the beach between 8-9am, so we are going to try for that tomorrow. One of the things that I think I am going to enjoy most about this trip is just not being in Sydney. Much as I love the city lifestyle, sometimes I think it's too easy to get wrapped up in the small details of life and focus on things that aren't important, thinking that they are. Even though we've only been here for an afternoon, I can already tell that life here is much slower, and I kind of like it. The only thing that would make it better would be not having access to internet. Each one of us has brought along a laptop, smartphone or tablet, and not having the internet would probably force us to interact more with each other and less with people in other parts of the world. Oh well, c'est la vie I guess...
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