Monday, October 12, 2009
We have a total of 5 days in Cairns to do whatever we want, which is a nice break from the super stressful and structured days of classes. Some people rented cars and traveled around a bit, but most of us stayed at the hostel and are just hanging out around the town. There is a mall near our hostel with a grocery store, butchers, and bakers, as well as the all the normal mall shops, and free wireless at McDonalds! I went the first day to see how much dredlocks cost – they’re a crazy and irreversible hairstyle, but I’ve always wanted them and I figured, why not just get them while in Australia? But it turned out that even with a backpackers discount and looking sorrowful, the cheapest I could get them for was $350 so it was a no-go, and I still have my normal curly hair. Oh well! If it had been cheaper, I would have dredlocks right now and someday face the prospect of shaving off all my hair. Crazy!!
After hanging out at the mall, I walked around the main streets of downtown Cairns and saw lots of cute restaurants and touristy shops. It’s a peculiar town – there are very few buildings over 2 stories high, and most are single-story. There’s also a lot of empty shops, which gives the town a big of a tired feeling. But the downtown area is really cute, and I went to the beach with Kaia, Hannah, Lauren, and Razz to hang out at the public pool. The actual beach is very muddy and lagoon-ish, so they installed a swimmable area overlooking the shore and it’s actually really fun to hang out at. Lauren got a bit sunburned but the rest of us put on enough sunscreen, and I gave her some of my magical Olay lotion to help her recover.
Polynesian dancers and singers at the pool:
I also saw a scouting building on the way to the mall, so I figured I’d snatch a photo! It wasn’t actually open or in use as far as I could tell, but I liked the look of it:
We also visited the night market, which is a bit of a misnomer because it starts at 4:30. We got 40 minute full-body massages for $15, which was GLORIOUS!! We also had a free wine tasting from the one of the stalls, where they had combinations of mango, strawberry, lime, chili, lichee, and banana flavors in different wines. Delicious! I had a great time, and Razz and I capped off a really nice day with local fish and chips. I really enjoyed every part of the day and am so glad that tons of really fun people are in the program!
The next day, I went to Kuranda with Jocelyn, Ryan, Will, Helen, Ilan, and Jen. It’s a small town that overlooks Cairns and has a lot of touristy shops, but also a lot of aboriginal artwork sold by the artists themselves. It’s a really cute town and the markets were a lot of fun – I found my present for Dad! We had delicious fruit smoothies and bought these awesome friendship bracelets. At night, I saw Inglorious Basterds. I’m not sure how I feel about it, the movie felt more like “The Departed” than other Quentin Tarantino films and there was a lot of very graphic and explicit violence. It was definitely a really good movie, and it’s grown on me as I think about it more, but I just don’t think I was fully prepared for the craziness of the movie. Phew!
I went back to the public pool with Lisa and Razz today. I’m reading a book that one of my tutors recommends and I’m loving it so far! It’s a good fantasy novel, and after Inglorious Basterds, it’s exactly the entertaining and not-so-serious kind of literature I want to be reading. I’m actually torn between reading that and listening to my book on tape – “The Clocks” by Agatha Christie. I’m also waiting at the mall right now before seeing “Fame,” a movie about showbiz kids. We thought it started at 2:30, but alas, it actually starts at 4:30! Apparently this movie theater changes movie times without warning sometimes. Straaange! I hope it’s good!
And tomorrow – I DIVE! Yay Great Barrier Reef!