Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vol 12 - Airlie is fairly cold

Well my last night in Port Douglas was the start of the Port Douglas festival. The biggest night in Port Douglas, there was a parade and everything. I hooked up with my cousins and watched the parade from the comfort of an incomplete accountant’s office.

They retired early but I continued on to the only night club still open. I decided that rather than appearing to be a pathetic loser standing by myself at the edge of the dance floor I might as well talk to the guy next to me. Thus reducing our total patheticness. Turns out he was a German Gigilo (although he didn’t like the term gigilo). He said he goes to functions with older rich women and pretends to be their date. He also works in a manual labouring job just to keep his body in shape. But he’s not a gigilo because he doesn’t always sleep with the women. I’m still not sure whether I met a guy with a strange job or a strange guy without a job. After all, his head was more boxy than a Volvo.

It was then back to Cairns to look at a few rental properties and soak up the sun. One night at Gilligans who should I spot but none other than Steven Bradbury. Australia’s greatest sportsman. You know the guy who won a gold medal in speed skating because everyone else fell over. I couldn’t think of anything funny to say, that hadn’t already been said. I just said, “I know you’re just trying to relax and have a beer so I won’t take too much of your time. Can I just get a photo?” So here it is. Goofy looking fella isn’t he.

Wednesday night was my last night in Cairns. I’d been to the sleazy pick up joint, called the Woolshed, just about every night. So why not go on my last night. After all they had a wet T-shirt competition. It was the first one I’d been to and I have to say I was quite impressed. First prize is $150. Just thought you should know..., Maria. :-)

After the competition I met and kissed a Japanese Volleyball player called Yoshimi. I had a bit of a “dig”. There was no need to “spike” her drink, since she wasn’t “blocking” any of my attempts. But just when I was all “set” it was “game over” and she went home. I’m hoping for a rematch.

Well I’m now in Airlie beach. Though the beach is more of a swamp and most people hang around the lagoon. But like Cairns is not all about the beach.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Vol 11 - Port Douglas is not a mirage

OK so by now I’d racked up many nights drinking in a row. It was definitely time for a break. But it was impossible to sleep in that dorm, and if you can’t beat them join them. After all it was Friday so it was back to the sleazy old Woolshed for another night of shenanigans. Two of the hot barmaids from the bikini night were in amongst the normal crowd. Not one to be intimidated (after a dozen beers) I started chatting to the best looking one. She was from the Netherlands. But part way through the conversation her friend (the other barmaid) cut in and said, "Excuse me do you realise she’s my girlfriend". I said "You’ll have to do better than that, that’s the oldest trick in the book. Some dodgey guy chats to you so you pretend to be lesbians". But she was adament "She really is my girlfriend and I’m getting jealous". Again I was perplexed "Of me?!?" I said. But she was quite convincing so I said, "You’re a very lucky woman" and left it at that.

Later on I was talking to some ladies from Northern Ireland. I told them about the time I drove the BMW with GB plates down Falls Road. For those unfamiliar with the Northern Ireland "situation" Falls Road is a staunch Catholic area and they hate the poms. She said, "Oh noo. You don’t wanna go duwn Falls rowd. I’m Catalic and I would ne goo duwn Falls rowd."

The next night was FA Cup final night. So we decided to have a night in at the TV. But the game didn’t start until midnight over here. So when some English guy from Birmingham pulled out his set of cards and poker chips and announced a game of Texas Hold em Poker, I said I’ll be in that. Hannah the gogo dancer was kind enough to be our dealer (and to give us a quick flash). Now I know what you’re thinking, "But Travis you said you’d given up gambling for good". Well this wasn’t gambling. About 5 of us played for $5 each the winner gets $20 second gets his money back. I’d say we played about 6 games and I either won, or came second in every game.

One guy said he’d played for 6 months online but didn’t know that 5 of the same suit was known as a flush. He called them 5 of a kind. Another guy went all in on a 4 and 7 off suit. His name was Stirling and in my mind now a 4 and 7 off suit is known as a Stirling.

Then the FA Cup started and although I no longer gamble I had some money riding on the game from 6 months ago. I won $60. I was drunk and offensive and rang and texted Jon (West Ham United fan) and Bal (Liverpool fan) back in England. I think my prouded moment was when I sent a text to Jon "You’d better get the washing up detergent and bend an old coat hanger because you’ll be blowing bubbles again tonight". This only makes sense if you know West Ham’s theme song involves the line "forever blowing bubbles, like our hopes they fade and die". Or some such nonsense.

But this is just me bragging and not particularly funny so back to my adventures.

We had a BBQ complete with Sparklers on the last night in Cairns. Here’s a picture of me and Mohawk guy. It’s pretty cool in Cairns, the BBQs are free and you’re right by the swamp. But at night the tides in and the swamp’s full of water and pelicans.

I left Cairns Monday morning for Port Douglas. After all the drinking and poker I was so tired that when I got to Port I slept for 14 hours straight. Tuesday night I caught up with my cousin Lloyd who informed me that it had rained in Port Douglas for 40 days straight. That record looks set to continue.

Yesterday I decided to check out Cape Tribulation. So named because when Captain Cook set out on his imperialistic journey of conquest he had some troubles (or tribulation) there. Obviously not as much tribulation as when he reached that island where they took his head. Was it the Cook islands? I’m not sure.

To get to Cape Tribulation you need to take a Ferry across some crocodile infested waters. For this reason I think they don’t allow you to leave the car. Anyway a bit further down the road I met a hitchhiker, his name of course was Mick. He was a 46 year old Tree Surgeon and quite the character. He lives 50 km north of Cape Trib on some kind of fruit farm. He was a really helpful guide and told me about all the trees, the history of Cape Trib, whether you can get further north without a 4WD, what town he was born in, the name of that tree over there, why the vine wait-a-while is called wait-a-while, his favourite fruit. The only thing he didn’t tell me is about the drugs he must have taken to get to the state he was in now.

But generally he was cool. He showed me a place where some lady brought up 4 kids in the jungle. After that the road was 4WD only. I was trekking through the jungle when I understood the full meaning of wait-a-while. The vine just grabs you and you can’t go anywhere you have to literally wait a while. Especially when it cops you in the forehead.

He was also kind enough to point out that I shouldn’t head downstream as there are crocodiles down there. Why they stay one side of the river and not the other I’m not too sure. But I didn’t see any so it must have been OK.

On the way back I stopped off at Mossman Gorge. Very scenic, very nice and a good place for a swim. At least it would be if you remember your togs.

I’m back in Port Douglas now and I’ll be having dinner at cousin Lloyd’s tonight. Tomorrow night is the street parade. His daughter and fiancé who live in Cairns will be there so it will be good to catch up and have some contacts there. It looks more and more likely I’ll be moving to Cairns.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Vol 10 - There's more to Cairns than the beach

Well well well what a time I’m having. I’m afraid this is a long one so go get yourself a coffee first.

The trip from Townsville was a fairly short one so I had time to check things out along the way. Apparently they had a bit of wind up here, or a cyclone if you want to be technical. I vaguely remember seeing something about it on the yahoo news items. I’d forgotten what they’d called it until I saw this van. So they are sending a message to a natural phenomenon saying we’re not intimidated by you, even though you took my roof and destroyed my bananas.

I guess it’s wrong to make light of the situation though. It’s destroyed people’s lives. You just know it’s serious when poor old Ronald has to fix up his sign. But that was Innisfail. It’s largely unaffected here in Cairns.

Just past Innisfail is the Josephine falls. I have it on good authority that they did a lifesavers ad there. Surprisingly there was no mention of it at the falls. Maybe they think there’s a whole lot more to life than lifesaver commercials.

I finally got to Cairns Monday and after all that driving I was keen to not do much for a while. So I went to check out the beach. Unfortunately the “beach” in Cairns looks like this.

Luckily it’s not so much about the beach here as I will now explain in the next few paragraphs.

I’m staying at Gilligans. Presumably a reference to the ever popular Gilligans Island, I wonder if I can pass at the Professor. It’s the best backpackers I’ve ever stayed in. It’s more like a resort than a backpackers. Though not many resorts are full of 20 year old Swedish girls. I chatted to the guys in my dorm. 4 of them were young German lads and one was a young English twat. It’s hard not to form a bad first impression when he has a 2 metre English flag hung up in the doorway, wears an English football strip and has a mohawk.

I was keen to have a quiet one since it was Monday. But the Germans offered me some of their 4 litre cask of Fruity Lexia. So I went out with the Germans and met up with some Swedes. One of the Swedes had a very strange accent. He looked Arabic but was born in Sweden. It took me a while to realise he was doing Borat (from Ali G) impressions. He was a funny guy, but a little offensive. He told his English roommate she was a minger. She took it surprisingly well. We were out until about 3am.

I got up quite late Tuesday and hung out by the pool. An Englishman wearing a football Strip started chatting to me. This immediately raised a red flag. Because;

1. He was wearing a English football Strip

2. We were surrounded by hot Swedish girls in bikinis, but he was chatting to ME

But he was closer to my age (29) so I thought I’d give him a fair go. I invited him up to the Swedes (or Eurotrash as he referred to them) room for a drink. Unfortunately he got more and more drunk, more and more offensive and more and more full of shit. He spilled his drink, sleazed on to a 19 year old English girl by licking her ear. This despite the fact that he told me he had an Australian girlfriend in Sydney where he’s living. Of course in the eyes of the Swedes I was guilty by association. I’ve had to make it clear that he’s just some guy I met at the pool and I’m sorry I brought him up here. I’ve now spent the last 3 days trying to avoid the guy.

But the night got better, the Swedes and I went out, and one guy brought along his girlfriend. She’d worked in a stripclub before as a drink waiter, but had been trained as a pole dancer. Luckily she was only too keen to practise this pole dancing on every no parking sign from Gilligans to the Irish pub. So to recap I spent a night out on the town with a hot young Swedish pole dancer. Yes there is more to Cairns than the beach. Oh and here’s a picture.

Wednesday night my friend and old housemate Andrew Middleweek and a few of his friends dropped by. I was picking them up from the airport at 10:25pm so I had to kill some time. The night market had traditional Chinese massage for only $20. I should sue them for false advertising. Not only was there no happy ending the guy giving the massage was Korean. I then went and watched Ice Age 2 at the cinema.

Andrew came to Cairns on his way to Bourketown where, a few months earlier his mates 4WD had to be abandoned due to flooding. I still haven’t heard if they managed to get it out. One of his friends knew a local police woman. She showed us some places on the town. She seemed quite nice and I thought she was attractive so of course I made fun of her. I think the first thing I asked was if she could get any drugs. Then when she went into a shop to buy cigarettes, I said “I thought you were getting a donut”. Yes I’ve still got it. She took us to the Irish pub which had Coyote girls dancing on the bar. I thought this was great until I got to the other major club in town and found out I’d missed the wet t-shirt competition. The guys had to go to bed early (about 2am) as they had a 8am flight. So I hooked up with the English twat from my dorm. Turns out he’s not a bad guy just a bit young, and northern. It’s really not his fault.

Thursday it was pouring rain. I managed to get my ass up to the gym. All this drinking is taking its toll I need to get some exercise. I was on the treadmill for half an hour. That’s the most exercise I’ve done in 6 months. I also planned to not drink but Andrew and his mates couldn’t get alcohol on their plane, so 6 cans and a bottle of red were left for me at the airport. Also they had gogo dancers in the bar downstairs. The Mohawk guy and I have another guy dossing in our dorm. He doesn’t have enough money to pay the $27 a night. So he’s in here until just before the cleaners come, then he folds up the sheets and sneaks into the TV room. He’s a bit of a metro sexual pretty boy and had a set of hair straighteners. I said I wonder what I would look like with straight hair. So they roped a friend of theirs Hannah Banana in to do the job.

Later on we get downstairs to watch the gogo dancers and it turns out Hannah is a professional gogo dancer herself, and better than the girls on the podiams. So to recap, I got my hair straightened by a sexy young gogo dancer. There’s really is more to Cairns than just the beach.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Vol 9 - The Rocky road to Townsville

Well I’ve discovered it’s quite far from Edenhope to Cairns. 3,715 kms to be exact. Thus several days driving is required.

The first day I drove 12 hours to get to Canberra. This is so I could get to the dentist in the morning and replace some fillings, and also have a post break up chat with Nikki. Turns out that wasn’t required, she didn’t seemed to fussed about the whole thing.

Then I left Canberra after lunch for Dubbo. But I felt OK at Dubbo so I pushed on to Coonabarrabran, where I stayed the night. Not an amusing story but foreigners might enjoy the placenames.

I must recommend the Newell and Leichhardt Highways to anyone travelling North. They are straight through the middle of Queensland so are not as scenic as the coastal highways, though if you are lucky you’ll spot the odd dead tree and cactus. But the real benefit is that it’s straight and almost empty.

So I sped most of the way. But I didn’t go as fast as in Eastern Europe because

  1. I’m now driving a Mazda 626
  2. Queensland cops are not only as corrupt as those in Bulgaria but they can speak English.

But I only saw one cop the whole trip. He flashes his lights at me as if to say;
"Excuse me don’t you think 130kms is a bit fast for that bend? I do wish you’d slow down for I fear you’ll have an accident".

I gave a nod of reply as if to say "suck shit copper you didn’t get me this time".

Tasmanians are famous for having two heads. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Queenslanders have 3.

Australia is famous for it’s fresh healthy food. But not country Queensland. At lunch one day the healthiest option I could find was a hot roast beef roll with gravy in a white hotdog bun. I should have gone to Maccas.

At dinner time I was at Banana. They had all you can eat dinner for $13. By the look of the dried crusty food on offer all I could eat would be one crunchy chicken wing before mud butt was likely to set in. So I decided to press on to Dululu. Again the names have been included for foreigners amusement.

Saturday night I found myself in Rockhampton. Rockhampton (or Rocky as it is referred to by the locals) is the beef production capital of Australia. I was lucky enough to be there during the Beef Australia 2006 expo. The streets were full of guys doing laps and burnouts in the V8 holden utes. I hooked up with a bunch of foreigners from the hostel and we went out on the town. One lass with us was a freckle faced Kiwi chick. At one point she was telling me a joke that involved a red mini, a person of Maori ethnicity and a popular Australasian candy found in cinemas around Australia. As a reformed racist I felt it was my duty to tell her that it sounded a bit racialist. She said "No, it’s OK, I’m one quarter Maori myself". She then went on to make a similar joke about Pakeha (white Europeans). I’m not sure balancing the ledger like that really is the answer.

Today I travelled from Rocky to Townsville. There’s a lot of Sugar Cane up here. It looks kinda cool. Now that I’m out of the air conditioned car I’ve found it’s hot, muggy and there’s mozzies. Everyone told me it would be like this I guess I just never quite believed them. I might try and find something to do shortly.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Vol 8 - Don't have a cow man! (03/05/2006)

Well is been a bit crazy with the cow situation. They have been getting into the lake and trodding all over the place and messing it up. I wasn't happy about that. But now they're getting into the house yard so that they can get to the hay and make a mess of it.

About a week ago now I'd stayed up late, about 3am, working on my websites. "No problem," I thought "I can sleep in tomorrow". But around 7am I hear mooing outside my window. It's the fucking cows again. "Get fucked you fucking cows", I yelled. "Moo", was the response of the cows.

I looked outside the window. It was cold and frosty, there was a blanket of fog covering the lawn. "I'll just sleep through it and deal with it when I'm more awake and it's a bit warmer", I thought. "Moo", said the cow outside my window. It was then I realised I wasn't going to go back to sleep.

So I got up wrapped a towel around myself and opened the front door. A cow was walking around on my front porch. I whipped off the towel and flicked it at the cow. I missed. It walked three steps forward onto the lawn and said, "Moo". It was then I realised I needed to get dressed, get in the ute, and chase the bloody cows.

Now there were some cows in the lake area, and some around the house, and a fence with a hole it in between the two. I decided to open a gate and chase them all through it. But some decided to stay in the lake area, some stayed on the house side and another 3 found a gate into a whole new paddock all together. At one point I was sprinting along behind a calf, with a big stick saying, "Not that way you stupid fucking, fuck". I fell short of saying Dad's catchphrase "Why does God hate me?" But I was very frustrated.

Eventually I got them all back in the right paddock and they've been reasonably well behaved ever since. For some reason I think they are scared of me. The real problem is that now when I go out at night in the dark to get more firewood I don't just have to worry about the boogey man. I need to concern myself that I don't step in something unmentionable.

My Dad's currently in Bundaberg picking up his ultralight aircraft. It's a Jabiru J160. He's very excited about it. I think he expects me to be excited too. How can I be excited about him spending $76,000 of my inheritance on a stupid toy? Just kidding it's great that he's got a hobby and is starting to relax a bit.

I'm off tomorrow to check out Cairns. Leaving Thursday morning I expect to get there Monday night. So it's quite a drive. This is just a recon mission I'll be up there for a week or two. If it's a real shithole, as some people have told me, then I may have to rethink moving up there permanently. But it's 27 deg. C up there whereas here it's only 15 deg. C. So it's worth a look.