This is another super quick update I'm afraid, they charge to use the PC's at the 'Hide Hostel' (where I'm currently staying) so I don't have time to upload any photos or anything.
I arrived safely in Cairns yesterday and went straight to 'Gilligan's Backpackers Hostel' where my Gold Coast tour was due to start the next day. Gilligan's is a party hostel, full of skanky British twenty-somethings. I managed to get some sleep though and a couple of the girls in my dorm took me out to find some food. Good Friday is not a good day to turn up! Nothing was open apart from the occasional bar.
This morning we all met in reception to get on the bus and head up to Port Douglas to learn about the Australian aboriginal lifestyle/heritage. It was pretty cool, we walked along the beach and into the mangrove trees where the Aboriginal people still hunt. Mangroves are those odd looking trees that grow out of the sea bed and have roots like stilts. It was really interesting and at the end of the tour the guide offered us some barbequed turtle. I politely declined, of course. I know too many people who were working for the turtle sanctuary in Sri Lanka, I couldn't bare to eat one!
The tour group is a real mix. I have met some really nice people, but there's a group of about 8 irritating British girls, who I have to assume are all teenagers. They're super clicky and make no effort to talk to anyone else, but at the same time they manage to be so ridiculously screechy that you wonder how anyone copes with listening to them back at home. There are only 8 boys on the tour, 31 people in total. Apparently tours are more of a 'girl thing' because they're more organised and they feel safer travelling in larger groups (that's according to the driver, Deano, and the tour guide, Alan).
One negative point about the Aboriginal walk... I was eaten alive by various different varieties of insects! It's a hundred times worse than it was in Sri Lanka! As well as being itchy as hell, I have also managed to pick up an awful cold, which is really weighing on me. I am trying to be good to myself, lots of water and fresh fruit and veg... and early nights... in an attempt to fix myself up as soon as possible. I have such a nasty cough, I feel sorry for the two girls I'm sharing my room with.
Today we got up early and headed off to see the Great Barrier Reef! I was tempted to scuba dive but because of my cold I couldn't really... my sinuses are too messed up. I did manage to go snorkelling twice though, once at Michaelmas Cay and again at the Paradise reef. The fish are all so colourful and the coral was beautiful, it was completely breathtaking, I'm so glad I chose to do it. I even saw a sea turtle! (Now I'm even more glad I didn't eat any of it yesterday!) Our other options were a trip to Cape Tribulation, skydiving and white-water rafting.... well skydiving was never going to be on the cards, I hate heights, but the other two options sounded very appealing. Still... it's the Great Barrier Reef! You can't not
do it really!
Australia has been so expensive so far. The Great Barrier Reef trip has cost me $160 and it seems like I'm constantly withdrawing cash just to buy a sandwich or a bottle of water. I've had to stock up on medicine too because of my shitty cold. I definitely miss Sri Lankan prices! Oh I did receive some bad news right before I left Singapore, apparently my trip across the US from San Fran - NYC has been cancelled due to numbers. This is adding an extra dimension of stress to my poor squishy brain! Luckily for me mum and dad are sorting something out for me and I'm sure they'll do the best they can.
Tomorrow we're up early again to begin in mammoth coach trip down to Airlie beach where our sailing tour around the Whitsundays starts. I really hope I'm feeling a bit better by tomorrow morning, although I know it's just wishful thinking.
I think I better go and find some dinner. I'm not hungry in the slightest but I know I should eat something anyway.
Love you lots n' lots,
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