Down Under Day 35: Cairns, The Silent R

To Aussies, Cairns is pronounced without the ‘r’ which can be quite awkward at first. Same with Melbourne, it has the same misplaced ‘r’. Now back to my day. I checked out of Caravella Backpackers before leaving to go to my new hostel at Tropic Days. Since this whole Southeast Asia was not in the cards when I first packed my bags to head to Australia, I needed some time to plan, to figure out how to get around and decide what I would like to do and see. With the small matter of money playing a part, I had been trying to get into contact with all of the hostels in Cairns to see if any had a position available to work for accommodation for a couple weeks. Sure enough as luck and brute, stubborn determination would have it, one hostel was willing to take me up on my offer. So here I was walking on the side walk to the one hostel that resided outside the core of Cairns City Central. With my pack firmly attached to my back, I proceeded onward hot but still somewhat tolerable. Halfway through my journey, the heat progressed and the humidity forced itself upon me. I did not realize that I had stumbled onto the surface of the sun. I had dealt with haunting heat before but this was of another variety. My face and entire body for that matter dripped thoroughly and with no remorse. When I somehow managed to arrive at the hostel, I swear I had lost a good liter of sweat and almost all of my dignity. Reception must have thought I just stepped out of a sweat box. With this kind of heat I may need to take a minimum of five showers a day just to appear respectable. After taking care of all the nitty-gritty (great word/phrase by the way) at reception, I sat down to Skype my family and give them some proof that I was still alive, albeit fully engrossed with sweat. So disgusting; I don’t know how I live with myself. By the way, I don’t try to hide the fact that I am a bloody mess. I accept it full heartedly making it a joke to everyone around me. Still not wanting to step outside for fear of melting, I continued to stay within the confines of the air-con (the Commonwealth expression for A/C). Having not eaten yet, I needed to find a grocery store despite my most desires to do otherwise. The walk was still a sweat fest but thankfully I was not caring my overbearing backpack along. Before hitting up the grocer, I got information from a nearby clinic and pharmacy about vaccinations for foreign travel. Not that I wasn’t already hallucinating and drifting off enough due to the humidity, the fees for vaccinations were about to have me passed out onto the floor. Across the street and into the shopping centre, I was still in a daze in disbelief. Poor, poor wallet, you tired old soul. Since I would be in Cairns for awhile (the longest I will have ever been in a city besides my own home in Cleveland), I packed up my cart, even with a pack of Lamingtons, a delicious dessert composed of sponge cake coated with chocolate and coconut, mmmh magnifique! The small problem with all those groceries is that I still had to transport it back to the hostel for a good twenty minutes in the prime time of the sun’s rays blasting me relentlessly. Upon getting back, I told reception that one of these days you may not see me come back; I will find a permanent grave on the side of the road. Family back home worry that I won’t make it out of Southeast Asia alive; they should be worried whether I can make it out alive from this oppressive heat. Sweet Moses, I need a shower. I cooked up one of my better dishes yet and as expected several others peeked in out of curiosity. Wanting to see what they thought of my egg, napa cabbage, pasta sauce, carrots, onions, garlic, chickpea, and red pepper mixture, I offered a taste. They looked into the pot less than thrilled but the taste altered their opinions of my less than thrilling looking dish. The crockpot method has very rarely let me down. While cooking and afterwards, I talked with some of the people that will be my co-workers over the next couple weeks. So far I like the small, family-like feel of the hostel and love the people I have met so far. Now, I must attempt to find a way to sleep in this kind of heat. On days like this, I do in fact miss the cool winters of snowy Cleveland.

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