Sydney to Cairns

The shuttle was promptly there to get us at 7:50 am, but like at home, there were others to collect before heading to the airport. We were flying Virgin Blue, a subdivision of Virgin Airlines from England, owned and operated by Richard Branson. They were most efficient in checking us in, surprisingly, with the exceptionally long lines, we had our boarding passes in fifteen minutes. They board by having the front rows board in the front of the plane and the rest from the back. By 10:00 am, we were on the runway. Food and drinks are available for purchase at slightly inflated prices, but not much more than in the shops. The flight was three hours, but Cairns is one hour earlier, so we gained an hour. As soon as we collected our luggage, we called Boyz on the Beach, where we are booked. Bob was there within five minutes to transport us to the place. A bit of a diversion here. Think about the name of the place we are staying and picture it in your mind. Boyz on the Beach…Now, I knew it was a gay place. We looked at their website http://www.boyzonthebeach.com.au/home.htm. Boys Beach, ready now. Andrew and Bob, the two owners are my age (Bob) and older (Andrew) if they are day. It has been decades before now that they could call themselves boys. The beach is fifteen minutes away and is only a small beach where you have to be concerned about jellyfish, the nasty kind that was in the video of the 12 Most Dangerous Animals of the World. The beach is netted for protection from the nasties, but still is no guarantee. None of this information is on their site. I wonder why? Okay, their place is lovely, the pool is exactly like the photo. All around the pool are lush plants of the tropical kind, both naturally planted and landscaped. They are more than hospitable and generous with their time. One major point for them is that they have free WiFi connections.
We booked a day trip to the reef, but not the Great Barrier, to an island. They told us that the problem with the great barrier reef was that due to recent storms and other storms threatening, the reef was so covered in whirling sand that it would be difficult to see anything. However, the other three guests here are booked for that trip already, since they booked before the storms came in. They will also be snorkeling from a boat, which is not the best. Once you are tired out, you are done. Snorkeling from land is much better to pace your energy. So now here is the problem with the location. We decided to go to dinner, so we walked to the end of the street to catch the bus, which only runs once an hour. Just as we started walking out, the bus flew by, so back to the house we went to wait an hour. We left early, but again, a bus passed us by. We decided to wait it out in case there was more than one bus. We waited an hour, but the only bus we flagged down was going in the wrong direction. After moving to the other side of the street, we waited another half hour when a bus arrived. The female driver told us she does not go to where we wanted, but she would drop us off. There was no one else on the bus anyway. The place Andrew and Bob sent us to was a strip mall. There was only one restaurant open, the mall attached was closed with the exception of the grocery store. We had to settle for Roberto’s pizza with beers bought at the bottle store next door. There does not seem to be anything local here, which confirmed our impressions when they told us they were ordering out from a take-away restaurant for the other guests if we wanted to order. It is not like we can walk a few blocks and have choices, let alone a Starbucks or Gloria Jeans. I am not going to like it here, I can tell. After dinner, we had to wait for the bus due at 9:50, because I saw the 8:50 whizzing on by. Everything closes at 9:00 in this strip mall, so we had to stand on the highway where we thought the bus would stop. After waiting in the pitch dark, no stars, no moon, no lighting, we had real concerns that when the bus came flying by, it would not see us anyway. By luck a taxi drove by and we flagged it down. It cost us $13.00 for the ride, but since he did not know the street we were on and it was not on his GPS, we gave him general directions. It was the wrong end of Bondi Street. In the black of night, we walked all of Bondi, hoping our street intersected at some point. It did. At the very end, we found our street, but I was a little panicked at the time thinking we were going to wander for hours before we found it. I had my phone with me, so as a last ditch effort, I could have called them for directions, but did not want to seem like helpless Americans, regardless of feeling like one.
This is definitely the tropics of Australia. It is hot and humid with monsoon and cyclone warnings all of the time. It is so hellish hot, getting out of the shower, you never get dry with sweat replacing shower water.
I am not going to like it here, I can tell.