Last stop…Cairns

21 Apr
 After my night in the treehouse I left Mission Beach and jumped on the Greyhound for the last leg of my journey and the final stop, Cairns. You never know who you’re going to sit next to on the bus, this time I met a lovely chap called Tom who was on a very romantic mission. Turns out Tom worked for one of the hostels in Mission Beach and had met the girl of his dreams there….ahhh…the beautiful (I had to take his word for it as I’d never met her) Felicity. Sadly after a few loved up weeks she had to leave for Cairns. Heartbroken, Tom tried to continue on with his daily duties at the hostel (emptying the bins, cleaning the pool, putting drunk back packers to bed etc) but life had lost its sparkle. I know the feeling Tom. Love is a hard burden to bare sometimes. So in bid to be reunited with his one and only, Tom jumped on the bus to surprise her that very night. How exciting! I’m such a romantic, I loved this guy.We spent the next 2 hours planning his surprise, what he’d say, what he’d wear, where they’d go for dinner etc etc…I even helped him draft the fake texts to her pretending he was still at work in Mission Beach. Oh the deception was good.

I wish I could have seen what happened when Tom and Felicity were reunited, much like the backpacking equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, but alas we were headed to different hostels and despite my suggestion that I come along too, maybe take some pictures of the “surprise” moment, Tom didn’t seem keen. But I’m sure when he jumped out of whatever bush he decided to hide in, Felicity would have been overcome with joy and fireworks surely would have exploded around them, yes fireworks… …and roses….and maybe a glass of Goon or two. Lovely stuff. Ahhhh. So cute.

So I had about 3/4 days in Cairns and wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. By now all traces of money had evaporated from my bank account (I have no idea how this happened?!) so while all my backpacking buddies headed off for day tours on the reef, Cape Tribulation or Sky diving I took myself off to the little lagoon…..and baked in the sunshine. I didn’t feel too bad about this scenario. After nearly 3 months of travelling non stop it was rather nice not to have to be anywhere or do anything. I just sat in the sun and read my book (Eat, Pray, Love – to be precise,  it was forced on me by a lovely hippy girl at the Treehouse, as I am also apparently on a “journey” she thought it would be good for my soul). Okey, we’ll see shall we. But I have to say it is a really good read. I was dubious at first and couldn’t get bloody Julia Roberts out of my head but now I’ve shaken that off I can’t put it down. There are even parts of the book that have given me goose bumps! I always use the goose bump factor to see how much something has affected me….violins – oh my god, soooo many goose bumps, no idea why but they just do, soppy love scene in a movie/advert – goose bumps….the montage bit in X Factor where they go through the sad story of how finalist Ben lost his favourite hamster in a Hoover incident and has never fully recovered…goose bumps…. and don’t even get me started on old people crying – serious goose bumps! So I knew the book was having a positive affect on me…the goose bump radar was on high alert.

Cairns is a strange place though. I’m not really sure I liked it all that much. For starters this was the first interaction I’d had with some aboriginals. Now before I go on let me just say that I’d read some pretty scathing things about the aboriginals who have migrated to the big towns and cities. Bill Bryson in his book Down Under (so good!) tried to explain how they had become a sort of forgotten race, prone to alcohol abuse and crime. I really didn’t want to believe this….I guess as a tourist when I think of Australia and aboriginals I get that fluffy image of crocodile Dundee and his aboriginal pals, playing the didgeridoo, cooking a giant lizard on the BBQ, dancing round the fire and looking at the glorious night sky. What I experience however was just as Bill had described.  A very tired and jaded race. Prone to randomly yelling at people in the street, robbing people for money and generally being drunk at any time of the day. This didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t want to judge them, or to avoid them and yet I found myself doing exactly that. Apparently a week before one of the girls in a nearby hostel had been beaten up by a gang of aboriginal girls. Again, not the kind of thing you want to believe and yet still…..non of us walked back to the hostel alone.

The great thing about Cairns is that is ended up being a kind of reunion place. All the great people I had met along the way, over these last 3 months, well they all sort of ended up in Cairns. This was great as it gave us all a chance to catch up and have one big last party. A chance to reminisce on the adventures we’d shared, retell the same funny stories and say a final goodbye. I might have not had many mini adventures in Cairns but I certainly made sure that as my last stop on the road….it was a big one!

Ok...um...no more booze for me

 One such example of this was the night of the party bus. One on of my first nights in Cairns some of my friends (Lizzy I blame you entirely!) convinced me (arm twisting behind back) to go on the party bus. A night where by you get on a bus, with 200 other people, drink a stupid amount, play games, get driven to lots of different clubs and wake up regretting the whole thing. Sure why not?!

Top deck fun
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The party bus was in fact  hilarious! Random and slightly insane, oh yes, but still very good fun. One of the challenges we’d been given during the night was to try to find the person who fitted our nut….that is to say when you got on the bus you choose a nut (as in nuts and bolts) and had to find the other person who had the screw to fit in to it……yes all very sexual and titillating in a 13-year-old boy kind of way…. but it was actually very fun. Except that my nut was massive. Huge in fact. The biggest nut you could find. I’m not sure how that happened exactly but it meant  none of the puny little screws I tried would fit. They’d just jiggle about in there, not touching the sides…rubbish. This caused much giggling and piss take from any guys who I tried to match with. Que lots of gags about tiny screws, big nuts, gaping holes etc etc – I’m sure you can imagine. And although I never did find the daddy of all screws big enough to fit my enormous nut I did have fun trying. (I’m not being rude here, I genuinely am referring to the nut and screw bolt thing – nothing else I swear!). All in all a great night.
Dancing queens

 

It's like soooo Asian right now

So there you go. Cairns for me wasn’t about the place itself but the people. It was a chance for me to say a massive good bye to all the lovely people I’d met along the way…..people like Kristen – a crazy American girl with a fetish for pictures of us grabbing her boobs, Jo – a very sweet girl from England who we regularly lead astray, Rick – my gorgeous friend from the Netherlands and part-time stalker, Rach and Tash – my Fraser Island beauties, thank god I got to see them for a massive cuddle and catch up before they flew to India – so much love for these girls, Anna & Louise – the young, sexy and hilarious Swedes – watch out boys! – Katie, Lizzie, Freddie, Tim and Nick – the awesome and seriously lovely gang I’d hung out with in Noosa, Rainbow Beach and Magnetic Island – team “Flat on their back packs” rules! And also the new friends I’d met in the few days I was in Cairns – namely Kerrie and Nat – two of the cheekiest, gorgeous, most lovely and funny girls you’d wish to meet. We laughed….alot, a whole lot.  

So I may not have “done” much in Cairns but I don’t care. I got to spend a few last crazy days with my friends, a whole mixed bag of characters, nationalities and ages. Thanks everyone. You are part of the reason these last few months have been so special.

The gang

So what next…..well first my flight back to Sydney. Then a few days with some familiar faces and then……well it’s almost time to return to the UK.

Hmmm…

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