I began the day earlier than expected since the heat couldn’t hold off for a couple more hours. After breakfast, I moved into the staff room and found the most beautiful thing imaginable: free, unlimited air conditioning. Now, I just might be able to sleep without having to strip down to my skivvies. Sadly, my time in the cool embrace of the staff room had ended; work must be done. I cleaned a couple hostel rooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen along with another worker. The work was easy but you wouldn’t have guessed that if you saw my appearance. Sweat trickled down from my forehead like a leaky faucet that refused to quit. Bonus: since I had to clean out the refrigerators to get rid of old food or food that had been left behind from departed backpackers, I got first pickings of the free food. Beer, pineapple, eggs, pasta sauce, pizza were all left behind and I was just the guy to turn some of that into a meal. After our shift had ended two hours later, I had the rest of the day to enjoy it as I pleased. I planned to sprinkle in adventures in Cairns to see the city but my main purpose and goal was to plan for Southeast Asia, the reason I was staying and working in Cairns for as long as I was. Peering through articles on visas, vaccinations, and travel itineraries and contacting travel clinics took up most of the afternoon. I spent some time getting to know more of my coworkers who have been quite friendly. Needing to get out and do something, I made a mad dash out of the hostel with my iPod playing my favorite, motivational music. Cruising along the sidewalk zipping past fellow pedestrians, I had the Cairns Esplanade on my mind. Unfortunately, I learned that Cairns has no swimmable beach due to the jelly fish and crocodiles that call these waters home. My plans of snorkeling in my free time like I had down in Coromandel and being a beach bum for a short while had vanished before my eyes. Only further north and a bit south can you find beaches from which to swim since they have nettings set up to prevent most from getting through. So the boardwalk on the Esplanade is a 5k jog or walk along the waterfront starting at the Lagoon (Cairns public pool) all the way to the end of the park and away from the entertainment district. It was so incredible to get that high and sense of freedom. Despite the intolerable heat and the fact that I had yet to go on a proper jog in awhile, the jog was so peaceful and relaxing; I kept pushing to see how many gears I had left. As you might be able to guess, my shirt was fully drenched, not a dry spot in sight. To cool off, I collapsed into the Lagoon. The Lagoon is not like any other public city pool; it has sand surrounding half its edges to give the feel of a beach. The water itself is saltwater, although quite a bit tamer than the ocean variety I am used, and has been siphoned from the ocean water of a beach a short ways up north. I wasn’t in there long but God it felt good. I’m sure I will be spending quite a bit of time on and near the Esplanade feeling like a local for the first time on my travels. After the hostel bus service brought me back to the hostel, I enjoyed a quiet, relaxed night in the sweet serenity of my A/C haven.
Down Under Day 36: The Working Man