A wildlife fan I am not. I have healthy respect for wildlife and would never harm it – Live and let live. But also, live and let it stay away from me. So our stay in Cairns got off to a tricky start – first our bags became infested with tiny spiders, having left them in our hostel room. We checked out of said hostel pronto, and into a much nicer hotel. We did not regret that, although interestingly the hotel had the odd lizard crawling on the ceiling. I was too afraid to walk underneath it, and my boyfriend told me not to be silly and reassured me that the lizard clearly is able to walk on the ceiling. At which point, the lizard promptly fell off the ceiling and landed with a splat on the floor. The lizard had great comic timing. It was unhurt, but it did not inspire me with confidence and I avoided walking underneath lizards for the rest of the holiday. Which is probably a good life-rule too.
Over the next few days we chilled out – it was too hot and humid to do much else! We went in the swimming lagoon on the esplanade, which is free. We heard parakeets squawking in the trees, admired the pelicans, and watched the nightly migration of the massive black bats as they flapped their way south towards a forested area.
We discovered a nice Italian restaurant which did a good pizza and salad. One night we were eating there late and we were one of the last groups to leave, so the staff were packing up around us. A member of staff approached us…
Waitress: “Can I take your plate?”
Me: “Umm not yet I’m still eating, but I won’t be long”
Waitress: “Ok…. Have you finished with your knife?”
Me: “Ummm… Ok….?!” I gave her the knife. (as in, I handed her the cutlery, NOT I stabbed her.) I thought if I gave her an implement it would make her feel like she was making progress – but seriously?! I thought this was very rude!
Anyhoo…. Cairns had a mall with a food court, and several restaurants in the mid-range budget. We also enjoyed the Casino where we watched a fabulous band called the Swingin’ Alley Cats. Thoroughly recommended. We went there to celebrate New Years Eve as well. Although we met a chap there who bought me a rose and then, upon finding out that we were British, said that he watched Shameless, and that he “takes more drugs than Shameless”. Not a line I’ve heard before after receiving flowers… but who said romance is dead?!
One day we took a cable car to Kuranda, a village in the rainforest. The cable car ride was fun but I’m sorry to say that I found Kuranda disappointing. I think I was expecting something akin to Avatar – a magical village in the midst of the rainforest. Instead, it was a tourist trap basically made up solely of gift shops and restaurants. I’m sorry if you’re Kurandian, as I hate writing bad things, but that was my view. My boyfriend made me go on a “rainforest walk” which was not fun for me as we had stopped at information points informing us precisely what wildlife is in the rainforest. Pythons are in the rainforest. So throughout the rainforest walk I was constantly looking up, in case a Python was hanging from a tree ready to pounce.
We found a Wake-boarding park by the entrance to the cable cars, so we paid a visit to that as well. My boyfriend had a lot of fun wake-boarding. (As a matter of interest, how/why do people go wake-boarding (and, inevitably, swim) in a lake in crocodile-country?!).
We also paid a visit to a nearby crocodile farm. I felt somewhat misled with this one… the leaflet said it was all about conservation. But when we got there we found that it’s not a usual wildlife park… they farm the crocs, ie – they kill them to make handbags and meat. That didn’t sit well with my understanding of conversation, and to be truthful it made me feel a bit sick when I realised. They should have put that on the leaflet!! But having paid for it, and with no return travel until 5pm I had no choice but to stay for the day and make the best of it. And I had a reasonably good day there. I discussed the conservation issue with one of the croc trainers and he explained that they farm them so that there is a sustainable breeding programme, so that crocs survive. He said if they just left them to be wild then poachers would shoot them, as there is a huge black market for crocodile handbags etc. He explained that by breeding them, they are saving the crocs. I’m still not convinced by his argument, but at least they have thought about it.
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