Yes You Cairns

Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
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59
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Trip End Jun 11, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today we leave the outback behind and head to the east coast of Australia (specifically to Carins pronounced like "cans") to meet up with our friend Ken who is joining us from New York. Our flight wasn't until 5pm though, so we had some time in Alice Springs in the morning.  We wanted to sleep in as long as possible since we had not done so in a few days, but the 10am checkout time ruined those plans.  Luckily Amy was able to use her negotiation skills to get that checkout time pushed back to 11, and we used every minute of that.  As we checked out, we had to put our bags back in storage (they were getting used to the storage room, but we promised we would be back to pick them up in only a few short hours) and headed back to town.  Since it was light out, and I didn’t want to spend $12 to take a taxi 2km, we decided to walk.  The weather was a little fresh (a term the Brits use for cold), but that didn’t bother us for the 20 minute walk.

The first order of business was to grab lunch.  The first place we found was a pizza/kebab place (which are very popular throughout Australia).  The pizza looked as if it had been sitting out since last night and was overpriced as $5 a slice, but so is everything else in this country.  Amy and I got 2 sandwiches instead and the owner of the restaurant was very interested in talking to us and our life story.  Once finished we decided to continue down the street and go to the shops that were all closed on Friday night.  We find a few more aboriginal art galleries and one in particular which had items at "Backpacker Prices."  Most of the stores sold tacky souvenirs, which isn’t that surprising since people usually go to Alice Springs as a jumping off point to Ayer’s Rock.  We did find ourselves talking to the owner of one of these stores because he was wearing a Michigan sweatshirt.  Apparently a good friend of his went to Michigan, so the store owner follows all of the American sports and roots for Michigan and the Detroit teams (he was a little upset that the Redwings were just eliminated in hockey). 

As we walked further down the street we stumbled upon a mall that had a Target.  Kmart and Target?  This Alice Springs place feels just like Bloomington.  We go in to replace the toiletries that Amy donated to the campsite back in Ayer’s Rock and for me to get a wallet as well.  I didn’t bring a wallet or sunglasses on the trip and had the intention of buying both at markets in Asia, but never got around to getting a wallet since my money belt was adequate enough.  However my money belt was starting to rip and I didn’t want my credit cards to fall out, so it was time to invest in a cheap wallet (thanks Target).   We also purchased a carry-on sized bag to tote around all of our souvenirs from Oz through the end of the trip since shipping things home at this point seems silly.  We had last shipped a package home in Bangkok so we’ve been carrying around a few things.  We also have plenty of room since we each have only one checked pack and one carry-on backpack.  We were able to find everything we needed except for a comb and even saw Bruce Lee shopping at Target, so I would say it was quite successful.  We did have to find a comb for Amy though, so we walked to a pharmacy.  The only combs they had were in a package of 4.  Well Amy didn’t need 4 combs, but there was another woman there who also needed a comb.  So I came up with the brilliant idea to split the pack with her. 

By now we had exhausted everything there is to do in Alice Springs, so we walked back to our hotel.  We grabbed our bags and hung out for an hour before we were taken to the airport.  Once at the airport we found out that our plane was delayed.  The weather was perfectly fine in Alice Springs and Cairns, but there was heavy fog in the southwest.  So the plane coming from Perth was late.  Now you are probably thinking that the plane from Perth was our plane, hence the reason for the delay, but you would be incorrect.  Our plane was ready to go as well, but we were delayed so that we could wait for the people coming from Perth who were connecting to Cairns.  We were told it would only be delayed 10 minutes, but instead we were an hour late so that 5 people wouldn’t miss their connection.  You would never see this in the states.  The delay didn’t bother us as we met up with one of the Brits and the Swiss guy from our tour, who were also on our flight.  We enjoyed some beverages at the airport bar for a while and then took the very smooth 2 hour flight to Cairns.  Ken was there waiting for us a baggage claim and it was good to see a familiar face.  We felt bad though because Ken had been in airports/on planes for the last 44 hours.  His flight from NY to LA was canceled, so he had to go route through Miami.  Then he had to wait all day in the Melbourne airport for his flight to Cairns.  Finally when he did get to Cairns, he had to wait another hour for our delayed flight to arrive.  But we were all together and got in a taxi to go to the hotel.  We got our key and checked in right away to the very comfortable suites at Queens Court.

By this point it was 9pm and most restaurants near our hotel were closed.  So we walked quite a bit (stopping at a pharmacy to get Amy some medicine as her sinuses were bothering her again) and eventually made it to the Esplanade.  We found a bar that was still serving food, so we got some food and drinks as Ken told us what was going on back home (we have been out of the loop).  It was good to catch up, but we could see Ken fading fast so we went back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep for everyone.
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