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Published: March 11th 2010
Our coach pulled up in Cairns at 8am and we stopped for a skinny latte, on the way to an Internet cafe to find a hostel. We were pleased when we found a cheap deal at Reefs, $16 each per night. We'd budgeted $30 each per night, so decided our "cheap and sober" stay in Cairns could now be a relatively drunken one. Then we ploughed our leftover cash in to a kitty.
When we got to Reefs Backpackers Hostel, the nice guy on reception upgraded us to a private double room rather than a dorm. Excellent.
I went off for a wander round Cairns while Ellie chilled by the pool for the day. I couldn't help but feel a bit sad - I was starting to miss people back home. Now I'm confused about whether to move to Oz or not later this year. I just don't know if I could cope being so far away from my family and friends. Just when I thought I'd "found myself", homesickness hits me like a spank on the bum.
I sat by the manmade Lagoon, similar to the one in Airlie beach, for a few hours. I sunbathed, had a sandwich, then
when the sun got too hot to lie in I found a bench under a tree and lay down reading my book. I was in a wonderful city, the weather was great, and yet I just couldn't shake off this mood. Not even a Hot Fudge Ice cream Sundae could cheer me up! People say you tend to get homesick around the 3 months mark, and I had now been away 10 weeks.
I went to Cairns Regional Art Gallery and ironically stood by the "A sense of Belonging" art statue outside, while I finished my ice cream. I hoped it would inspire me to decide where I belonged (England or Australia) but it didn't work. The Art Gallery certainly perked me up a bit. The first exhibition was by Max Dupain, an artist born in Sydney in 1911, who took beautiful black and white photographs. The collection included a black silohette of a girl playing the violin; children on an old fashioned climbing frame; cheesy 1950's adverts; Famous people; and photos of factorys and ships. The second exhibition featured 7 pairs of stained white linnen cargo trousers. Below the hanging trousers were photos of a person wearing them to
run through woods and roads. The artist had wanted to portray the different colours of mud, grass and dirt stains from the different scenes. Quite a bizarre idea to be honest, but who ever said Art was straight forward?
The third exhibition was a collection of photos of Aboriginal Tribes during a dance festival. The different tribes used a variety of colours, materials and paints to decorate themselves and dress up in. There was a video of the Dance Festival that showed a dancing scene where a tribe were acting out a hunting scene (no real animals involved).
On the way back to meet Ellie at the Hostel, I stopped by an open air stage to watch a band playing live music. People were sitting on the grass lawn facing the stage. The band played Country and Western music with tambourines and the odd "Yehaa" or Animal noise thrown in. It was brilliant!
Chatted to El about how I've been feeling today and she said she'd cheer me up with a good night out in Cairns tonight. We got ready then sat on our bed with cups of Goon. She asked me if I've enjoyed the trip so far, and
I totally have. It's been the best experience ever, probably the best time of my life! But now when I think about going home, it no longer fills me with dread, and actually puts a smile on my face. I really hope the rest of the trip goes as slow as possible, but at the same time the thought of being back in my flat; on nights out with my friends and catching up with family makes me really happy.
We had a few more glasses of Goon outside in the garden area at the hostel, then walked down to Gilligans for 10pm. Gilligans is a big hostel complex with a nightclub, outside bar, shops, games room etc. They were charging $10 to get in, but then you got 5 drinks free - bargain!! We stood outside with our drinks for all of 30 seconds before a cheeky Irish chap came over and asked us to join him and his friends at their table. Out of the 4 of them, 2 were Irish and 2 were Canadian. I plonked myself on a bar stool right next to Mr Hot Canadian and we all chatted about our travels.
Gilligans were running
a jelly fighting competition (where a load of scantilly clad girls roll around in a paddling pool filled with jelly) so the 6 of us joined the crowd to cheer them on. There were hundreds of people there so we had to stand on picnic tables to see. I went to get more drinks from the bar and chatted to another Hot Canadian guy called Adam who was 6foot4. Two drunken business men asked me and Ellie to join them for a drink. We had our free drinks vouchers so weren't really keen on the idea, but they insisted so we went along with it. It was clear they were inebriated, as they could hardly hold a conversation. I caught Adam's eye and he saved us. Then we felt bad for leaving the Irish and Canadian guys so I ran over and arranged to meet them in The Woolshed later that night.
We finished our drinks, said goodbye to Adam and his army pals then headed to The Woolshead. The boys weren't in there, but we found them in a bar nearby. Partied with them all night. Ended up doing shots of Tequilla and danced loads in The Woolshed. At
some point Ellie came over and said she was heading back to the Hostel. By this time, me and Mr Hot Canadian were making out (yes... I really did say making out - am I American?! No its just what all travellers say over here) and I wasn't in bedtime mode yet. I ended up staying out and apparently fell asleep about 4am.
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