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Trip Start Aug 20, 2008
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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, August 23, 2008

Entry Picture Link: http://picasaweb.google.com.au/ThreeVagabonds/Destination1CairnsAustralia

Welp, we're finally here. After 3 planes (JFK-LAX-Auckland), 22+ hours and losing a day, we arrived in Cairns, Australia on Friday, August 22. The flights weren't AS bad as we expected... we were able to sleep, ate like queens, took random pictures out the plane window, and took advantage of all the free booze - really can't ask for much more.

After exiting the airport/customs with no plans, place to live or direction, we hailed the nearest taxi driver and immediately asked him where to go. After a lesson about Captain Cook (did you know he discovered Australia???) and other random tidbits of info (did you know that they drive on the OTHER side of the road here???) he dropped us off in downtown Cairns (and told us we didn't have to tip him after we already did - awesome).

Wandering around aimlessly with a hostel map printout and ALL of our baggage (backpacks, carry-ons, suitcase, purses - we WAY over-packed), we checked out a bunch of hostels. We knew from the start that we wanted our own room for 3 - heaven forbid we share with strangers. After sweating a lot and completely dehydrating ourselves, we stumbled upon our new home - Asylum. Yes, it's a hostel not a hospital. We knew it was home when they immediately made fun of all of our bags and told us about goon-pong (beer pong with wine). Everyone is very friendly... and they're ALL hippies.

We checked into room 26 1/2 and immediately discovered roommate #4, a dead cockroach. Our way of dealing with it was by kicking it under Jamie's bed... it's spirit lives on in Jamie's nightmares. We made our beds, covered the pane-less windows with sheets, and walked around the town for a bit. We were passed out dead tired by 9 p.m.

Today, we OBVIOUSLY woke up around 7 a.m. and went for a run on the Esplanade (basically their board-walk here). After grabbing some necessary groceries (i.e. PB&J and bananas), we discovered our future dream job - HOSTIES! We immediately found Reef Experience, the company that will take us to the Dive and Snorkel Cruise on the Great Barrier Reef. After signing up for a 1 night, 2 day excursion, we will work as "hosties" (basically maids/deckhands) for an additional 3-5 days. This work will allow us to stay on the boat with free room, board and snorkeling on the reef. Wohooooooo! We board the boat next Tuesday morning and will be back to Cairns by next weekend.

Impressed and excited, we rewarded ourselves with a relaxing afternoon at the lagoon (yeah...who knew that there were no "beaches" in Cairns???). We've found that Cairns is a small town, and not completely what we expected. The landscape is beautiful and the natives and backpackers are very welcoming. Apparently it is very difficult to find jobs here as well, so we will most likely begin our trek down the coast sometime next week after checking out the Daintree Rain-forest. Our next stop will most likely be Airlie beach with hopes of working on Whitsundays Island. Stay tuned!!

We'll do our best to keep you up to date (after we get off the boat!). :)

Missing our friends and loved ones,
Your 3 Vagabonds
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Comments

jim.needham.bsu
jim.needham.bsu on

Hello from Indiana
Dear Jamie,

Have a great time diving, but if you can, be sure you get to see the Outback and aboriginal paintings that are around Laura, QLD.

I don't know you, but I am a childhood friend of your mothers. She and I and Donna planned our high school reunion last year.

I worked as a TV documentary producer in 1987 and produced a documentary centered in Laura, Australia, the template for Crocodile Dundee's tavern in his movies. It's located about 100 miles nw of Cairns. My friend Percy Trezise and his wife lived at 5 Fulton Close, Whitfield, Cairns, QLD 4870 as I recall, and owned a 25 square mile 'Station' as ranches are called, just outside of Laura where the 'Quinkan Hotel' is.

Percy died in 2005, but his wife Beverly is still living in Cairns, I believe, with their step-daughter, Patti. The Trezise's also own an Bush Guide service centered at Jowalbinna (which mean Dingo's ear), northwest of Cairns, and if you could see the Outback, they'd be the people to see it with. Here's the last phone number I have for Beverly 607-40553500, and her son, Steve's number is 617-40603236. they also have a daughter, Patti, who is aboriginal, who might answer the phone.

I have a new number 607-01-404-10-5727 I got in 2005 when Percy died. His son, Steve's number in 2004 from the U.S. was this: 011-60-740-55-3500

Laurie Farrely, the Lawyer, died in 1996, I just learned. If you go to his firm at 12 Alpin Street, in downtown Cairns, Queensland, and say you are friend of the man who did the Art of the Dreamtime video with Percy Trezise and Laurie Farrelly in 1987, I believe will be glad to see you.

All best wishes for a great time in Australia. You should also check out Port McQuarie (where the Koala hospital is) and Surfers' Paradise (though that's really expensive).

All best wishes,

Jim Needham
Assistant Professor of Telecommunications
David Letterman Communications & Media Building
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana
my email is jneedham@bsu.edu
********************
Here's the info from the web on Trezise Bush Service out of Laura:

LAURA
READ IT HERE
LAURA 's store-cum-post office, roadhouse and Quinkan Hotel (tel 07/4060 3255; $70-90) support the two-day Aboriginal Dance Festival , an electrifying assertion of Aboriginal identity, held in June of odd-numbered years. At any time of year you can visit the sandstone caves and ridges at Split Rock , 13km south of town, where a steep track leads to a two-hour gallery circuit. Paintings depict animals and startling spirit figures associated with sorcery: spidery, frightening Quinkan with pendulous earlobes, and dumpy Anurra, often with their legs twisted upwards. Other sites show scenes from post-Contact life, depicting horses, rifles and clothed figures; some caves were probably in use until the 1930s. You can find out more through the Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation Caravan Park (tel 07/4060 3200) or from Trezise Bush Service/Quinkan Tours (tel 07/4060 3236), which has a camp west in the scrub at Jowalbinna, about an hour's drive from Laura (4WD only; for reservations call tel 07/4051 4777, www.adventures.com ).

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