Hot times in Cairns

Cairns is a hot, hot place. Even though it’s just entering the dry season, a more comfortable time, from the wet, it’s still in a tropical zone, and a good ten degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than anything I’ve experienced since really, last August. Summer, two months early. I’ve taken to changing my clothes a few times a day, and stripping off my shirt as soon as I enter my thankfully air conditioned dorm room. As I write this, the machine is spewing cool air directly at the back of my neck. Honestly one of the best feelings ever in the context of the last five days, and the only time I’ve ever enjoyed being dealt the top bunk in a dormitory.  

I went shirtless a lot on the dive boat too, mainly because there was little enough time between dives that I didn’t want to contaminate my clothing with my salt coated body. The trip was a lot of fun, although I was seasick for most of my time on the boat, unfortunately. I think it might have been mainly something in the seawater that I would inadvertedly swallow every dive; I actually threw up just before my fourth dive, on the second day, and immediately felt fine. The motion of the boat certainly didn’t help, though. We encountered choppy seas more often than not. But overall, the experience was a complete success. I took a lot of pictures with the underwater camera I rented and I am now a certified diver to 18 meters anywhere in the world. Definitely opems up a new front as far as travel is concerned, although dive trips are quite expensive so I guess we will see how that factors into future stops. Plus. I have to undergo further training if I want to dive into sunken ruins, which is an idea the classics major in me is absolutely in love with. Diving for Dwaraka springs to mind in particular.  

The last couple nights at the hostel were among the best I have experienced in my travels so far, certainly the most companionable. I’d been on good terms with the kids in my dormitory the night before I left. There’s Josh, from Germany, Matt, from England, and Wayne, from Scotland. When I vacated for the night I spent on the boat, Christian, also from Germany, took my old bed, and I was put into another dorm when I came back. The five of us have been hanging out a lot since then. The night before I went diving, we drank a little with some other kids in the hostel. I proved my mettle by riding the bus, but a short while. On the night I returned, five of us hung with three fun and absolutely adorable Swedish girls who left early the next morning. We drank Coonwarra, or Goon for short, an inexpensive boxed wine. Not the tastiest, but I can deal (and miles above Franzia, for sure.) It’s nice to have made some friends during my time here, and I will probably meet up with the Germans when I go to their country later this summer! And Wayne and Matt, when I pass through Britain.  

Josh left yesterday afternoon, so we cooked a nice lunch as a sendoff. Christian had been talking about how delicious kangaroo meat is since the previous night and hey, we’re in Australia, right? So we bought some kangaroo steaks, and Josh prepared some baby potatoes to go along with it. On a whim, we also bought some chicken schnitzel which we cooked for lunch today, along with the remaining potatoes in the bag. That’s two hearty lunches for seven bucks apiece. Not bad, and yet another perk of traveling with people. After dinner, Wayne and I went to a chocolate buffet at a posh hotel that another diver had told me about. It was twenty five dollars, but also a chocolate buffet. Totally worth it.  

I am now back in the city and preparing for my departure in just three days. I’m very excited to see everyone! First stop is Tufts, since I’ll be in Boston anyway. Spend the weekend there, and then head up to Manchester to meet my family and sister for her birthday. After that, it’s a whirlwind three weeks of visitations and preparation before flying out again at the end of May.

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