Thursday, January 24, 2008
I know it's been over two weeks since we've gotten back and I'm just now getting around to blogging finally! Things have just been nuts as usual.
Our trip was fantastic! We arrived in the early hours of New Year's Eve, around 12:30am to be specific. We were all pretty exhausted later that day so we just did some low key exploring of Cairns, which we quickly found out the locals pronounce Cans. We went back to our apartment we rented, at Getaway on Grafton(highly reccomended) pretty early and just lounged around. One very cool thing we found out is that they do fireworks twice on New Year's. There's a 9pm show for the kids and athen the traditional 12am show to ring in the New Year. So after the 9pm show the kids went to bed and I followed not long after. Dave woke me up when the later firework went off, we watched them from the balcony, wished eachother a Happy New Year and I promptly went back to sleep. Needed my beauty rest you know.
New Year's Day we went out to the Great Barrier Reef. The boat ride out was pretty rough and poor Elijah got sea sick. He felt terrible the whole way out and almost made it through okay, unfortunately the poor thing got sick just as the ship was tying up to the pontoon. Luckily that made him feel 100 times better, thank goodness, because we were out there for the whole day until the boat went back to the city. Dave had two dives on the reef. The kids and I did a bit of snorkeling, fed the fish and rode the semi-submersible boat. There was an underwater theater where we could watch the really big fish feed, which was absolutely amazing. We didn't get as great a view of the coral as we'd like because of the weather but it was still a once in a lifetime experience.
I loved the reef, but I think the next day was my favorite. We took the Sky Rail to Korunda, what a beautiful ride that was. We started at the Aboriginal park at the Sky Rail station before we even went up. The kids loved the show, and the art was beautiful. I bought a handpainted print that I need to frame and display. The ride over the rainforest was gorgeous, I took a ton of photos, There were two stops along the way where we could get out and walk a bit int he rainforest. At one stop there was a waterfall, unfortunately, there had been a drought and the falls were barely a trickle compared to photos I'd seen from the past. Korunda was a sweet little village at the end of the ride. We enjoyed a few hors there eating lunch, shopping and looking around. There was a butterfly sanctuary that we visited which was ok, but not worth the money. I did get a couple good butterfly shots, but the rest of the family was really bored while I tried to capture the perfect shot. After that we decided we'd be better off saving or money and skipping hte Koala place, can't remember what it was called. So we looked around a bit more and then all relaced with ice cream cones. The ride home was on a the Korunda Railway. The trip was a bit hot, but just as gorgeous as the Sky Rail but from a different view.
The rest of our time in Cairns was spent exploring. We did a ton of walking, to and from restaurants, shopping and other places. I really think I could get used to the city life, I enjoyed not having to drive to get anytwhere. I think my favorite place to walk was the Esplenade along the water. We saw some goergeous birds down there, that's also where the fireworks took place on New Year's. We visited some shopping malls which was quite the experience for us. You figure since we've been here in Guam we've only visited the mall once, and it wasn't much of a mall. So we just walked and just stared at everything totally overwhelmed. I got to walk into an actual camera store and was so enjoying it. You figure it was just a small shop in a mall, I can't wait to go back to the states and get lost in one of those huge camera mega stores.
After our times in Cairns we went up the coast to Palm Cove for a few days. Talk about relaxing! Palm Cove is a sleepy little oceanside town, right near the Cairns Tropical Zoo. We spent an afternoon at the zoo, which was good. If I could do it again we would have gone in the morning instead. By the time we got to the kangaroos they had all been fed all morning and were full by the time we got there, so they didn't want any of the food from the kids. We watched a snake show which was very informative. I can't remember the exact statistics, but something like 18 of the 21 most veemous snakes int he world come from Australia, or maybe it was the deadliest, something I never knew. We had the opportunity for the kids to hold the koalas, but I'm mega cheap, I just couldn't see spending $15 per child to let them hold the koala, maybe that's wrong. I just see paying the money, knowing that at least one of them would chicken out at the last minute. The crocodiles were very cool, they ranged in size from babies about 2 feet long to the humungous things you read about in story books. The really large ones actually looked fake, their mouthes were constantly open and they looked stuffed, it was the weirdest thing. THey even had an American Alligator there too. THe baby crocs were too fnny, we were walking by one of the cages and as soon as Elijah got in front of it, they all came running out of the water toward the fence. Needless to say, fence or no fence we were moving on rahter quickly. It also seemed the wombat had a thing for us. Everytime I spoke he came toward my voice, which was great for photos. I think my favorite part of the whole zoo was the walk through bird sanctuary. There was a very cute Red Panda, but there were so many people in front of the exhibit that it was hard to really see him.
THe rest of our time was just spent do some much needed relaxing. Some things I noticed in Australia: People eat dinner much later than I'm used to, meals were real cheap until 6:45 to try and get more people to come out and eat earlier, which was great for us, since we usually eat around 5:30pm. Our bacon and theirs is totally different, theirs is more like fried ham steak. The size of meals are much larger than here, I couldn' even have finished eating most of the kids meals they had. In the end Dave and I ended up sharing a meal or two, just to keep from wasting so much food. Have you noticed that everything so far has focused on food? Cadbury makes much better candy in Australia than in the US, so not fair. The good thing is now the NEX MiniMat has started carrying a few of their candies. Tim Tams are the ultimate comfort cookie, love them, especially the special Pink Wish ones. People are much more laid back, everything is "No Worries" I still haven't figured out the two buttons on the toilets, I keep meaning to ask Kerrie but I have a very short memory, whatever they beat the squat pots in Asia! Trying to work appliances in foreign countries without directions is all trial and error. I forgot what it was like to be able to drink water straight from the tap, I haven't been able to do that since leaving upstate NY. That's all I can think of for now.
Almost forgot the going home experience. We get to the airport at 10pm, you know the customary 3 hours before an international flight, that was a joke. The counter didn't open until after 11pm. Then just as we're getting up there in line, the boarding time changes from 1 am to 2:55am. When we check in the lady tells us the flight from Guam which should be landing at 12:35am has just left Guam, so much for getting to Guam at 6:30am. Of course they gave us absolutely no information while we waited, thankfully the kids slept the entire time we were at the airport. 2:55am came and went without a change on the board or a flight landing. FInally at 3:15am the flight arrives, they offload the passengers, load us on and refuel and manage to have us in the air at 4am. We arrived in Guam at 8:15am exhausted and came home and crashed.