Day 70 – Cairns / Darwin / Singapore

The shuttle bus picked us up on schedule at 10am and took us to Cairns airport. It’s interesting to see all the different airports and their locations. Cairns airport has ‘beware of the crocodile’ signs posted just as you enter the airport road! Luckily the signs disappear as you near the airport building!!

We checked in and went through immigration with no problems – Seio was once again double-checked after passing through X-ray screening. They seem to like Seio for some reason….I think he has been asked to ‘please step this way sir’ about 5 or so times during our rtw trip!!

The first leg of our journey to Singapore was a 2 hour flight to Darwin. We were asked to de-board the plane, only to have to re-board the same plane an hour later! Similarly to Fiji, we were dropped off right outside duty free….I’m sure they do that on purpose!!

The second leg of our journey was a little bit longer and took about 5 hours. As we flew over the harbor into SIngapore, we were amazed to see the amount of container ships in the port. I think Singapore is the second largest port in the world, after Rotterdam. Apparently they unload the cargo onto smaller boats and deliver them to shore that way….

After collecting our baggage from the reclaim carousel we hopped on a city shuttle bus with a number of other tourists and headed to our hotel – the Hotel Re! The journey was rather amusing, as no-one on the bus could understand what the driver was saying…we eventually figured out what he was trying hard to say…generally publicizing his company and telling us to retain our tickets if we wanted to use his bus on the return journey as it had his phone number on it!!

The Hotel Re! was a very interesting and fairly new boutique hotel…mostly bright pink or bright green in colour with funky designs of Elvis and Marilyn decorating the lift and room walls. Even the tiles in the shower room were bright pink and glittery (^.^)>

After checking in to the hotel we headed downtown through a traditional ‘Chinatown’ market area and onwards to Clarke Quay. It was buzzing with people, eating, drinking, and being merry! Seio and I had a quick walk around and decided to grab a bite to eat at a seafood restaurant called Jumbo seafood. The food was delicious – we had some fried rice with seafood, shrimp balls wrapped in smokey bacon with a  salad cream dressing, and a roast duck and mango salad. All very naughty but worth the guilt!!

After our feast, we headed back to base for some well-earned rest….

We have made arrangements to meet Seio’s friend, Wai Hon, for dinner tomorrow.

Day 69 – Palm Cove

‘Pinch and a punch on the first of the month’…I can’t believe it is December!! We left the UK at the end of September and now it is only a couple of weeks until Xmas.

We spent most of the day today at the hotel ‘long pool’, doing lengths and trying to top up our tans..some of us obviously have to try harder than others. Seio seems to just soak up the sun’s rays, whereas I seem to reflect most of them!! I don’t think I will ever be brown….

The main event of the day today was me nearly getting hit on the head by a falling mango! It just fell off the tree as I was going under it…lucky escape!

We headed down to the beach in the afternoon to get food and water, and after dinner we decided to go for another swim. It was quite dark by that point but very nice and relaxing all the same. Tomorrow’s flight to Singapore is not until 12:45pm, and the bus to the airport will not be picking us up until 10am, so we have plenty of time to pack the suitcases in the morning.

Day 68 – Palm Cove

We got up fairly early, as usual, and had breakfast in our room before getting changed and heading down to the pool. Today was my final chance to get a tan….I think I have a bit of colour…mostly pink and red but it may turn golden yet!!

In the afternoon we headed into the village shopping area at Palm Cove beach and  set ourselves up at the internet cafe…a small, very hot and humid room at the back of the visitor centre – its saving grace a large fan that chugged away on full power trying to keep the space cool.

Seio and I took it in turns to update our blog entries, one of us braving the cafe, while the the other sat on the beach reading books. I’m not sure whether it was warmer in the internet cafe or or actually on the beach!!

Once we had updated a couple of day’s worth, we walked down to ‘Pete’s Place’ and picked up some food supplies before heading back to the hotel.

Day 67 – Palm Cove

We didn’t have any plans today – just relax, do some more swimming and try and get a tan!

We went down to the pool late morning and had a swim before heading to the beach for some lunch. When we came back we headed back down to the pool again and did some more lengths – still only us there so it was like our own private pool!

In the evening, we walked down to the beach and went for dinner at the Pizza restaurant – they did a gluten free pizza which was very nice indeed and went especially well with the Western Australian white wine. Seio had a Nutella pizza – a folded pizza stuffed with melted Nutella and topped with Vanilla ice cream – I couldn’t resist and had to steal a little bit. It was very nice….

We walked back home via the beach and watched a couple of movies on TV before calling it a night.

Day 66 – Palm Cove

Oh dear, I went to the loo in the middle of the night only to be greeted by a mother cockroach and her family!! There were about 20 kids scurrying around…yuk! I hate cockroaches – i have done ever since living in Japan. I guess it is par for the course of this area – there seems to wildlife (not just the creepy crawly variety) everywhere you go in Cairns, from small lizards on the footpaths to tropical birds and cockatoos in the treetops. It’s like living in the rainforest!! I put some sticky tape down on the bathroom floor to try and catch anyone that decided to venture out into our domain!

As we were in quite a wildlife mode, we decided to head out to Cairns Tropical zoo today. It was only a 15 minute walk from the hotel and they had all kinds of animals there. It was a really nice zoo because the animals were mainly all Australian, and the pens were quite open, which meant that the animals were living in an environment very close to their natural habitats. We saw a free flight birds of prey display, held a koala, fed some kangaroos and saw the ‘salties’ or saltwater crocs being fed. We also saw some ring-tailed lemurs (like King Julian in Madagascar!) and a Nepalese red panda called Rara. The Dingoes were asleep and hiding inside logs to escape the heat. We also saw some quite scary looking Cassowaries roaming around their enclosure.

The koalas were very sweet and they all looked so different! I held a young male koala called ‘Harry’. He was very well behaved and just draped himself over my arms. You could also hold a snake or a baby crocodile but Seio and I decided that a koala was the safest choice (^^)v

 

The bird aviary was pretty good, and if you looked very carefully you could see owls hiding in the trees…not in cages! There were a lot of Kookaburras too, and some kingfishers. The Kookaburras are quite funny looking birds actually. Walking through the rainforest aviary was very interesting – that typical jungle sound – cicadas chirping away, the song of tropical birds, some screeching and hissing sounds, lizards scuttling into the bushes. Some of the birds – especially the cockatoos were extremely vocal….

We had some lunch in the cafe before going off to see the emus, wombats, white kangaroos and a couple of tiny monkeys.

While I was getting carried away taking photos of birds, Seio managed to catch the wombat being fed – very cute – wombats are apparently cousins of the koala, and as many people will remind you here – koalas are not bears and therefore they are called koalas and NOT koala bears!

 

We stayed at the zoo until 3pm, and then took a leisurely walk back to the hotel via Palm Cove beach.

In the evening we went for another swim – still only a few people down at the pool!

Day 65 – Palm Cove

We got up fairly early and had some breakfast before hopping on the 1X bus to Pam Cove. It was only about a $5 trip there and took us about 40minutes or so. Our hotel was a bit like the one in Hawaii with an open entrance – giving it quite a tropical feel! There were also some water features in the reception – little pools with reclining Buddha statues by them.  The hotel had a very welcoming and relaxing feel to it. We checked into our room, which was a bit on the small side, but will do us fine I’m sure. We had arrived late morning so it was nice to be able to check in so early – normally these places make you wait until about 2 or 3pm before you can go into your room. After we unpacked our stuff, we had a quick walk around the hotel – it has 4 pools altogether all different shapes and sizes. the one nearest our room is the lane pool – about 60m or so in length! We found the route to Palm Cove beach and dipped our feet in the ocean…very warm but not as clear as Waikiki! Also there are ‘stingers’ about at this time of year and so we only saw a couple of Jet Skis out and no brave people!! The beach front has a small selection of shops and restaurants, a post office and a little tourist information centre – everything you need really! We stopped off at the little corner store ‘Pete’s Place’ to buy some stuff for lunch and headed back to the hotel. In the afternoon we headed done to the pool to have a dip and cool down…it’s very very hot here indeed (^^)v

I don’t think there can be many guests staying here at the moment, because the receptionist doesn’t seem very busy and there is never anyone down at any of the pools apart from me and Seio!!

We did about 5 lengths of the pool and dried off very quickly in the sunshine. In the evening we relaxed in the room and had an early night – sunshine and swimming can be quite exhausting!!

Day 64 – Cairns

Woke up early in ‘Cockroach Motel’ with the feeling that I had slept for ages – it was rather strange really, seeing that I didn’t think I could fall asleep there at all!

We got showered and dressed and left our suitcases (sealed shut!) at the ‘Roach Academy’ whilst we went to see what had happened to our first motel. After walking down the street a little while, we came across a Police Forensic car parked outside one of the neighboring motels….this didn’t look good and Seio and I started seriously wondering if something sinister had been actually going on. We got closer to our first motel and there were quite a lot of people in the reception – thank goodness. I was all ready for a ‘refund’ fight if necessary, but as soon as I explained that we had rung the bell but nobody answered, the nice big guy at the front desk said, ‘Oh yes, we’re ever so sorry, but the caretaker died last night…that’s why nobody answered and why the police were here. He went out for a walk and passed away en route!’

Seio and I felt sorry for the people there – they looked as if they may have been the old man’s family or something. At the same time, we were quite relieved that the police visit and Forensics vehicle hadn’t signalled a murder or something equally as dramatic. The reception team was very apologetic and refunded our more expensive first night stay at the ‘Cockroach Palace’!

We decided that we would relocate from ‘Cockroach Towers’ to the deceased caretaker’s motel for our last night in central Cairns, and we were glad that we did. The room at this motel is lovely, fully equipped with microwave, shower, fridge, air conditioning, but most of all clean and cockroach-free! What a relief (^^)v

We were given some fresh milk and showed to our room, where we proceeded to unpack and relax finally!

It is very hot and humid in Cairns right now – reminiscent of Japanese summers which are very uncomfortable at the best of times. We managed to keep cool in the air conditioned room and later in the morning we decided to brave the heat and head into the city centre to explore a bit. We came across the Cairns Central Mall and did a little bit of shopping there – more food and souvenirs. Neither of us had had anything to drink since last night and so we were both glad to get something to drink – I had a Coke and Seio had a Shake from MacD’s…

On the way out we picked up some Thai food for a late lunch and headed back to our clean and fresh motel.

In the afternoon Seio caught up on some sleep and I did some reading – I didn’t like reading that much before this holiday, but I’m getting quite into it now. I always find I have something more important to do at home, but with time to relax on holiday it’s quite nice to sit down with a good book!

In the evening we sat outside on the patio, relaxed and had a cool drink. Tomorrow we are off to Palm Cove – a nice beach resort just north of Cairns. Time to top up my non-existent tan…or at least join up some of these freckles into something more respectable!!