The game is on folks! We decided for this very rainy evening on a movie at the big mall in central
So we discussed it and stood in line a second time. We went for Derailed with Jenifer Aniston and I’m not sure who the main actor was. AUD$29 (US$22). What? A ticket was $14.50. I couldn’t believe it, but bought the tickets anyway. Maybe that’s
We then had a few hours before the movie so we walked around the food court of the mall. At the last stall, an Indian place was offering a meal and movie deal. Instead of paying $14.50 for a movie, we could get a meal, drink AND a movie ticket for $16. Don’t forget I could have leftovers for breakfast too. We were in. Only…we already had tickets…could we get the tickets we purchased earlier refunded? I didn’t want to buy the package if we couldn’t get a refund!
The third time standing in line we realized we met up with the same clerk again – she laughed and with a confused shrug helped us with the refund. Okay, now we can get the meal deal with the movie passes. The curry was good and we ate before we stood in line for the fourth time to use our new passes with full tummies.
Like in New Zealand, I've been fascinated with the tiny differences in language. There are all the British English words, but what I found truly Australian was the addition of a "y" or "ies" to the end of a word.
Here are a few I noticed:
People who drive trucks are truckies
People who sail yachts are yachties
Tasmania is tassie
Breakfast is brekky
Getting sick is feeling sicky
Sunglasses are sunnies
Cigarettes are ciggies
Names are often altered like Pammy Jilly
A drink is a drinky
A stuffed animal is a stuffy
and of course... Australians are Aussies.
Our trusty Lonely Planet guidebook warns of "rain that comes and stays for days" in tropical Queensland. I think it came today. From what we understand, a stationary category 1 cyclone called "Kate" is lurking northeast of Australia. Kate is eerily close to Katrina eh? There is no current threat, but she is being blamed for a long day of heavy rain around Cairns. We spent the day inland in a place with lakes, rainforests and waterfalls called Atherton Tablelands. Wet and cloudy, but fun. We also toured a mostly-indoor partly-interesting dairy factory. They gave us a dish full of cheese and olives at the end of the tour, half of which we stuffed in our backpack for future snacking in case we end up holed up in some cyclone shelter. It's the backpacker way.
Really though, we say let the rain come... We're on our way now for one day in Brisbane before heading to Singapore and then to Sri Lanka... we decided today.
I had hoped to be posting more underwater shots today, but it ain't gonna happen. We got in the water for more snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and I noticed the camera didn't work. I figured the battery was in backward and went on knowing there was a second reef later in the day.
After getting back on the boat, Sachi noticed something ominous about the camera - moisture around the inside of the LCD screen. Water had gotten inside, possibly due to the backward battery preventing a solid seal. When we opened it up, the SD card and battery were dripping. This sucks. I suppose there is hope after a complete dry out, but I'm not confident. For now, get used to camera phone pics. :-(
The Hardy Reef at the Great Barrier Reef is a platform reef, which means that it has reached its full height and is now expanding outward. This means that when you dive or snorkel around it, there is a wall that goes from the surface to the sea floor, which is about 20-30 meters down. Swimming over it felt like flying out over a cliff.
I was in awe. I had never seen such a reef and it convinced me to get SCUBA certified soon, but it won’t happen here- not enough time.
The water, the fish, the coral, all amazing...but what I enjoyed the most was the giant clams, which seems like a rather banal thing to be excited about.
First it was their sheer scale. Despite what you may have seen in a OO7 movie, they don’t eat people, but they do react and close up if you get near them. The rings that you see are like tree rings- one per year.
Second was the color. They were by far the most brilliantly colored animals on the reef. Some of them glowed in the sunlight and designers couldn’t put colors together more beautifully.
Third was the variety. They say that clams are like fingerprints, there are no 2 that are exactly alike and I never two that were even close.
I've had it. We will go broke paying for rooms with air conditioning from now on. Despite what the travel agent told us, our room for the next 2 nights is more like a hot box, with bunk beds and a fan that apparently used to oscillate, but now hangs down with the pull of gravity, as if its neck has been snapped. Hot air being blown around is still hot air anyway.
The heat of the day is fine with me, I can deal with sweat and stickiness and sunscreen and smell, but at the end of a long hot day, I need a shower and I need relief from the swelter. No more do I want to feel the sweat trickle down my neck and onto my pillow as I try to sleep, no more do I want to wake up with clothes dirtier than when I went to sleep. It's over.
AC is now the magic word when looking for lodging at the next stop. I already have a plan for taking vengance on the "Where? What? How? Whitsundays" travel brokers in Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia for promising AC when none existed. In case you missed that, it was the "Where? What? How? Whitsundays" Travel Brokers in Airlie Beach that misled us. The next broker will swear on their first born that AC does indeed exist when planning a multi-day trip.
Of course, from here, on one of the Whitsunday Islands (at Long Island Resort), we are going north, towards the equator, towards Asia, towards more humidity and more need for AC. Luckily AC will be cheaper there.
I know some of you will call me lame or weak or tell me to get over it. I hear ya... I admit to being spoiled, but dammit I'm not a 21 year old backpacker anymore. At 32, I have needs and the means to support those needs and from now on, the need to sleep sweat-free will be served. Mark my word.
We thought it was a coincidence, we thought it might be different in other countries. But no, she is universally attractive to all things that bite and sting. Today it even happened underwater via jellyfish. Twice even, when no one else got stung. I guess they don't make bug spray or lotion (as pictured above) for that.
I just wanted to share some of the strange things we've seen in the form of pictures.
On Great Keppel Island, there were a bunch of "Flying Fox bats that hung around as if they were protecting Draculas house. They were huge and fun to watch and completely harmless... but the locals hate them for eating their fruit.
I almost got eaten by a shark...
If I named bugs, I would call this "Mask of the Mexican Wrestler"
Just like home, you find your basic cheap hotel on the outskirts of any town in Australia. After practically being berated by a woman at the A&A hotel down the street, we ended up at the Whitsunday Palms Hotel in Proserpine, Queensland, Australia (it has AC - YAY!).
The older gentleman running the place is skinny and tattooed in the way that reminded me of a WWII vet. He and his little white yippy dog welcomed us with the normal but more charming motel spiel.
Even before we paid, he said "Oh, let me get you some fresh milk" and came back with a metal cream server filled with cold milk, and covered with a rather dainty weighted doiley (pictured above) as if was as normal as the room key which he had yet to provide.
I said nothing, but gathered the key, paperwork and my new cup of milk and walked out to join Sachi, with a silly grin on my face that I'm sure said - well, this is something new.
The best we figure, it's for coffee or tea, even though there are milk packs in the mini-fridge. All I could think about was how well the new milk will go with my value packs of cereal in the morning.
At least you didn’t wear blue! – Laughed the Queensland Reds fans we happened to meet at the train station after saying it was our first match ever. We weren’t sure where we were headed, but followed them through the station onto a shuttle bus to Suncorp Stadium to challenge the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super 14 home opener. The same group even cheered the bus driver and gave us inflatable cheer sticks – courtesy of Coke. Not quite rugby hooligans.
The match itself was incredibly hard-hitting and resulted in a few bloody noses. These guys make NFL players look silly with all their pads. There had to be some sucker punches in those piles!
Throughout the match, the unfamiliar kept us busy and guessing. After a player caught the ball and got pummeled by an opponent there was a penalty “Failing to Remain on Feet”. Did we hear that right? Who could have remained on their feet with that hit? Maybe we misheard the call.
The referee stopped play for halftime with 35 seconds left on the clock and I had to stop asking Lee why – he was as clueless as I was. He was confused about why they kept kicking the ball out of bounds- sometimes to the cheers of fans.
The scene was filled with boxes of fries, meat pies, XXXX beer and Bundy (rum) and cokes – 4 or 8 carried per person. I ordered a ginger ale and the server automatically grabbed a liquor cup and then stopped with a puzzled look – “Just a ginger ale? No liquor?” We’ve seen shirts that say, “My drinking team has a rugby problem” I’m sure we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
To our surprise, there were no vendors of jerseys, flags or anything you don’t eat or drink. No handmade signs or painted faces in the crowd. One of the corners of the stadium tried for about 10 minutes to start the wave, but it never caught on past a few sections. We know better than to take the comparisons to American sports too far.
It’s just our first…By the third or fourth I’m sure we’ll be arguing the calls with the best of them! This site helped some, for a starting point.