My experience in Australia so far has been pretty different than travelling in Asia. I had already mentioned being in a “developed” country, my expectations are quite different than in Asia – in Asia I’m prepared to go through trying moments, whereas in Australia it really throws me. Travelling alone, I’m forced to either try to meet people, or else spend the time alone in my thoughts. Most tourists in Australia (that stay in the backpacker hostels) are fairly young – 19, 20, 21 years old – and mostly interested in partying and getting drunk, so often times my initial reaction is to think they have nothing in common with me.
If I don’t make the first attempt to speak to someone, I would say 99.9% of people assume that English is my second language, and would rather not make the attempt to struggle to converse with me. I have met a few nice people so far during my travels, especially in Brisbane, where I went out drinking with two Irish guys – also engineers! I commented that they couldn’t really drink that much, especially for being Irish! Derek replied, “oh, it’s only because I’m a bit sick! Just wait until I get better!” So, I’ve got quite a few challengers (male, too) lined up across the globe now 🙂 Ireland, Singapore… We also met some Australians in the backpacker bar, and I had some fun with them by making them guess where I was from when they asked. I said I was trying to break down the stereotypes in Australia (being Asian and speaking perfect English). Spoke some French too, which was a hint, but it just further threw them off. One guy kept insisting that I was American and lying about it!
Next morning, I had to change dorm rooms, because I didn’t extend my stay early enough, and they booked out my bed. Turned out to be good fortune, although in the morning I wasn’t enjoying getting up for 10 AM checkout and waiting around for 1 PM checkin. I ended up meeting an Irish girl in my new room – my age (30)! Myself, the Irish girl, and a German girl from our dorm went out for my last two nights in Brisbane, along with the Irish guys. The Irish girl, Olivia, made the observation that we look like Charlie’s Angels! (A redhead, a blonde, and an Asian – kind of cute!) Also chatted with a girl from Edmonton, and kind of funny to be able to talk about our neighbourhoods (west end!). I tried to compare our accents, and though similar, she spoke moe with a “valley girl” accent, and had picked up some Australian phrases after being here for some months. Had some good times in Brisbane, but here in Cairns I decided that I’d try to get back into a normal routine by going jogging, avoiding alcohol and trying to eat a bit better.
In Cairns, haven’t been up to too much, as a day was spent trying to get a job, though now I’ve given up. Am happy that I did get on the dive boat as a volunteer, so just waiting around and doing excursions from Cairns. Met an Australian, who took me to see some of the northern beaches of Cairns. The beaches aren’t that spectacular, but it was nice to see at night with the reflection of the planes headlights coming into the Cairns airport.
My weekend trip to Cape Tribulation was a nice getaway. The brochure photos are much more impressive than what I actually saw however. What do you think?
Croc cruise on the Daintree river
Beach House accommodations – rather nice!
The first evening and morning after, hung out with two Swedish girls. One girl, when asked whether she could ride a horse, responded, “Uh… Yes… No… I don’t have any muscles anymore! I used to compete.” Hah – can’t ride? She ONLY used to compete! 🙂 I was a bit scared of the horses at first. But like I mentioned, the horses were used to newbies. The man who ran the stable told us how his neighbour would wake up every morning to find that his loaf of bread would go missing. So he set up some pots and pans to awake him when the thief entered his kitchen. Sure enough – next night, ran into his kitchen after hearing some ruckus, turned on the light switch to see his horse in his kitchen, loaf of bread in his mouth! Apparently the horse was able to escape from the stable by stepping down on the bottom wire of the fence, easing his head under the top wire. I had no idea horses were that sneaky and smart! We watched the same horse after we finished our ride, try to sneak into the feeding area through the wire fence to get some molasses for the horses that worked that day. Pretty funny!
Second evening at the Cape Tribulation Beach House, met a German guy and girl travelling together. I met up with them after their dinner in the bistro, and joined in on a game of scrabble. They thought it would be good practice to play in English with me, but actually maybe it wasn’t so fair because I beat them pretty bad, by using words that weren’t in their German-English dictionary, so they had to take my word that I wasn’t cheating! That night, dreamt I was playing scrabble. So strange that the “stress” of playing a game I haven’t played in ages kept running through my mind at night.
Chatted with an American girl in our room as well. She only had to speak a sentence before I knew without a doubt that she was American. She spoke a bit loud, with a hint of a drawl, and in a “familiar” way (the way I might speak to a close friend of mine).
Sunday afternoon got picked up from my tour company, and we stopped at a few scenic places (though for far too short a time).
Mossman Gorge. Asked someone to take a photo of me wading, but of course they never take the exact photo you want. Still nice though!
Beach of Port Douglas
Finished reading Shantaram finally! The ending was a bit disappointing, though I could see how it’s difficult to wrap up. Apparently there’s going to be a sequel as well? In any case, it’s thought provoking and has changed my view on some things. Going to mull over what I read.
So, will be in Cairns, at the Caravella 149 hostel until Thursday morning, at which point I will probably drop off all cellular towers and the world wide web until Monday evening.