9-14 Australia Part 2: The Dry Activities

Lanterns at dusk = magic.

 We spent two days wet. Then we spent five days dry. The wet days get a blog to themselves, but dry days aren’t nearly as interesting. Mostly, we hung out, wandered around town, played on the internet, watched people on the boardwalk, and took afternoon naps.

One afternoon, we went for a walk on the boardwalk. There was a festival going on, so we thought we’d check it out. The festival wasn’t that interesting, but there were artistic interpretations of Chinese lanterns hung in a few trees. I thought they were cool so we stopped and took photos. Then we wandered onward and I didn’t think about it anymore. Until we were heading back to our hostel to get dinner. All the lanterns were lit. It was unexpectedly beautiful. We stopped and played with the camera again.
The false beach in Cairns has false rocks

We went back out to the boardwalk that night. We wanted to go walking. We stopped by a haagen daz (I lack umlauts and the knowledge of how to spell that.) ice cream parlor. There used to be one in uptown Minneapolis but it closed forever ago. It was delicious ice cream. We wandered on with our ice creams. I was thinking about turning around and heading back to the hostel when I heard flute music. Jason and I followed the music to a street performer. We sat and listened to him play and at ice cream and watched the stars.

Down by the boardwalk…

On our last day in Cairns, we rented a car. I haven’t gotten a new copy of my driver’s license since I lost my wallet, so Jason had to drive. He was excited to drive, which was great until they gave us a stick shift. So, we had to change to an automatic and then we were off. We went to Kuranda Wildlife Park and Aboriginal Experience. The wildlife park was decent. The cages seemed a bit small to me, but the animals all seemed content. The guide was very knowledgeable and clearly cared about the animals. He had lots of good stories about how dangerous all the animals are, which is only fair. It is Australia.

Please note the “Don’t get eaten by a crocodile” sign.

The Aboriginal Experience part was cheesy but fun. The guide, wearing a loincloth and body paint, took us to a field where he showed us how to throw a spear both with and without a launcher. Then he played the digerido. He showed us the basic technique and then invited us to try. Jason and another young guy from the group tried it first. Neither of them was terribly successful. Jason sounded like a dying animal. I tried it. I choose to believe I had greater success. I managed to make a noise that ended in a dying animal, instead of being a dying animal all the way through. Next up, we went and learned to throw a boomerang. Jason did pretty well; his got most of the way back to him. I did better than I thought I would.
Feeding a kangaroo!

When we finished with the aboriginal area, we went on a WWII Duck tour. The park has a dozen or so amphibious vehicles from WWII which they take around the nature preserve and point out interesting plants. The coolest part about that was finding out the English names for a bunch of things I see daily and some of the things I eat. We wandered through the orchard after that, which was also super informative.

It made noise.  I’ll take that.

We had a picnic lunch and then went to a little tourist stop where we looked at all the pretty things. There were a lot of pretty things. And a lot of hippies. All the blond dreadlocks and harem pants made me miss Fest. (Let me make myself clear that the blond dreadlocks and harem pants are not the things I miss about Fest, merely associated with all the good things there.) We wandered through the market area which sold a lot of crafts, “magic” stones and other items I would expect at Fest booths. It was nice to have a moment of forgetting that I’m on the other side of the world.

Jason had fun driving on the wrong side of the road. He did a good job staying on the right and staying in the middle of the lane. He did a less good job signaling his turns, however the windshield was very clean by the end of the day. I had fun channel surfing on the radio and watching the scenery.
It was a good and much needed vacation. I look forward to some extended traveling in a few months.

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