Cairns, Australia

Well, I have had a couple of ‘firsts’ in the last few days.

1 – I stepped onto Australia. Thats another continent under my belt
2 – I met a bunch of Scottish folk, something that eluded me during my SE Asian leg of this trip.

I am having a fantastic time here!

So whats happened? Well, the flights to Cairns were painfully slow. When I arrived in Darwin I had a little bit of trouble with the Immigration people, they seemed to be having a go at everyone though, they were really paranoid about quarantine issues. Though in saying that, some of them were really nice, just one guy in particular was being a total asshole. As I was waiting for my luggage, he came over and asked to see my passport, OK. Then a whole bunch of questions ensued ‘Who is paying for this holiday?’, ‘Why are you spending such a short time in Australia?’, ‘What do you study?’, ‘What countries have you been to?’. Most of these sound innocent, but he was quite rude really.

Anyway, I had to wait five hours in Darwin Airport. I got chatting to a couple of Scottish girls from Edinburgh who had just graduated and were going round the world in 5 weeks, I swear I have met one of them before somewhere! Then I met an Irish girl(not scottish but close enough) who was working her way round Oz. When I finally arrived in Cairs, after being questioned again I might add, I caught a bus to my hostel, where I was met by Julie the manager. Julie frightens me slightly, an Ozzie girl, I want to stay on her good side. I was introduced to a guy called Ricky – who low and behold, was a fellow Glaswegian! He is a joiner, but is working round Oz and plans to go home and be a spiritual councellor. Then, I met another Glaswegian, from Clydebank, who I am sharing a dorm with, Dave, is currently sorting out his tax and bank accounts so he can get a job out here and work his way around. Then, there is Jonny, who is a staff member working his way round Oz also – I couldnt believe it when I discovered he goes to the same University as me! He is one year up, doing Graphic Design. Then there is Joane(I think thats the spelling) who is also from Glasgow and again working her way round Oz. There is also an older couple with two 8-9 year old kids who are on an extended holiday(All scottish) the kids are really funncy actually.

So it has been a strange experience meeting up with Glaswegians again, it is cool though because these are Glaswegians who like me, decided they need to get out of Scotland for a while. The Hostel is fantastic, best hostel I have stayed at I think, really social too, but not in the boozy sort of way.

I arrived there at ten am or so, so I was knackered and didnt get up to much, so I spent the afternoon chatting out in the garden. I met a really nice Ozzie girl, who strangely is travelling round Oz(though she insists it is not strange at all), so myself her and Jonny spent the whole afternoon in the sun.

The SUN! This is the sunshine coast right? The sun is out but it is freezing. It was 21 degrees celcius yesterday, with low humidity, not a cloud in the sky – but I was a shivering wreck. I gess coming from 31 degrees and 90% humidity in Singapore I really felt it. Of course it is ‘winter here’. I had a dip in the unheated pool and I think I had hyporthermia symptoms.

The hostel is slightly out of town(20 minute walk) in a quiet neighbourhood, and is an old Queensland house. Alot of the more experienced Oz travellers have said to me that this place in the best they have been to – so I am pretty sure I made a good choice coming here. There was a Pizza night last night, pretty much all you can eat for 10 bucks, it was goooood!

I am in Cairns town right now, having walked from the hostel. I spotted a heated swimming pool on the way to the hostel, so I am looking for it, no luck yet. Then I am going to go to the supermarket and stock up on food, most people cook at the hostel, and given my tightened budget I need to follow suit – Oz is not cheap. My dorm for 4 nights cost 50 UK pounds!(No regrets though). There is so much to do here, but nothing is cheap, so I will stick to my plan of chilling out before Oz – I may do a skydive, if I can justify the expense in my head.

Anyway, having heaps of fun. The backpacking scene here is totally different from Asia. I think poeple come here more for the social experience with the different culture shaved off a little and the Asia travellers go there for the experience of a totally foreighn culture at the expense of some of the social side to it. I mean for example – in Laos and Cambodia, Hostels in the Ozzie sense, are few and far between so you dont have a base where people come to socialise. I really enjoyed SE Asia and I will go back, but I am enjoying Oz too – they are totally different! If I came to Oz, it would be for a year and I would work my way around the place – if I go back to Asia, I would just travel.

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