Sunday, April 03, 2005


If you can locate these two points—you can find me…so come on down and when you do, give me a shout. The Tropic of Capricorn surrounds me as I sit less than 25 degrees away from the equator.

It’s Saturday here and I gathered all my clothes—casual and professional (smile) and taxied out to the airport. I am heading to Carins today. For starters I’d like to thank the person who invented the airport members club and more importantly, the person who pushed through the idea of club membership reciprocity or rather a “one-world” alliance. These places are the best. I enjoyed a flat white while a taped down all my taxi receipts. I got through two days of receipts during my one-hour wait.

A huge plane took all of us on the 3-hour flight from Sydney to Cairns—equivalent to about the distance from FL to Maine. I had a great seatmate and she works as a teacher on an island off the very northern tip of Queensland—where on a clear day she can see New Guinea. New Guinea is the kind of place, if given a choice, you’d rather see than ever visit.

I’m seriously in a rut. I have gotten into an old habit--when I’m afraid of something, I’m exhaustive at asking people about their opinion of what’s ailing me. For example, when I biked and hiked through Alberta, Canada—I stopped almost everyone that crossed my path and asked them if they had seen any bears? Most of the Canadian or European trampers didn’t appreciate this type of inquiry—but it didn’t slow me down. Well now the subject is the Barrier Reef and the question is of the same you think I’ll get attacked when I go out to the Reef? Thankfully everyone, up to this point, has laughed at me and I am starting to feel slightly reassured by that response. But I think my seatmate on this flight may have helped me the most when after initially laughing at me she said—you have a better chance of getting hit by a falling coke machine than being attacked while snorkeling at the Reef. I have never, ever worried about being in the unfortunate path of a falling coke machine—so I am truly starting to settle down a little.

I took a motor coach from the airport to Port Douglas and for the first time things are starting to look much different than I have ever seen before. It is very tropical here; the early stages of our trip were through sugar cane fields on both sides of the road for as far as you could see. About halfway through the trip we saw five kangaroos hanging out. Honestly, I missed actually seeing them because as more often than not, I was on the left side and the action was on the right. But everyone else seems to confirm the sighting.

I checked into the pink hotel called the Newport—it’s more Pepto-Bismol color than I would like but the lady owner/manager is very nice and remembers when Eisenhower Fellow Jean Davis was here last year. I went to the Court House Pub and Bistro for lunch and I’m guessing this is where they filmed Casablanca…or they should or could have. Jean Davis—if you’re reading this blog, how would you describe Port Douglas? I’m going to suggest it seems very much like a backwater provincial town that has a blend of people who grew out of the local mud, newbees looking for a piece of paradise and the regular Aussie traveler on holiday. Then there is me—the brash American, interviewing anyone who makes eye contact with me asking if they were out on the Reef and, if so, did they see any sharks? Then I ask—has a falling coke machine ever hit you? They’re going to ship me off to New Guinea if I don’t watch it.


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