Friday, November 25, 2005

Recuperation in the Far North

BANG BANG BANG. There was a knock on my door this morning. This time, the driver wasn't leaving me behind. "You're late, mate," said the guy who came into my room to get me. "Sorry..."

"Sorry ain't gonna cut it, mate, I've got three more to pick up. I can come back around and get you." He was angry - probably the first time I've seen a grumpy Aussie.

"I have my stuff ready - I can be down in 20 seconds."

"Oh! No worries, then, mate. Let's go!"

You see, I knew I had a 7:15 pickup this morning, and I was determined not to miss it. So I awoke at 6:30, put all my crap together, and apparently passed right back out. The previous night's stink was still with me. We were hanging around on the patio when two German girls introduced themselves and insisted I share their 1 litre bottle of Absolut Mandarin with them before heading out for the night. A gentleman never turns down a drink (or 6) from a pair of lovely ladies, so before the night had even begun, the bottle was drained and three of us already tanked. The whole group of us then went on to the Woolshed for jugs and jugs of beer and more dancing. All I can clearly recall from the night was drinking directly from the jugs, running into Laura again, and walking around wasted with a couple of other lovely Germans after club closing to locate their campervan park, which apparently was actually miles away. We put them in a cab and were off on our merry way for a good night's sleep... at around 5:30.

So it's with great pleasure that I say that today's trip was pretty much uneventful, which suits me perfectly. Our first stop was Port Douglas, where we checked out the Rainforest Habitat. Once again I got to play with kangaroos and wallabies, coo over the cuddly koalas, and see kookaburras, vipers, and crocodiles chilling out in the humidity.

We then got a little tour of Port Douglas, which apparently is a celebrity hideaway. Current guests include John Travolta and Christina Aguilera. Yay.

After seeing where the rich and famous live it up while in Queensland, we made the long, windy way up to Cape Tribulation. There isn't much in Cape Trib, but it boasts one very amazing bit of status: It's the only place where you can stand on the beach and have rainforest immediately to one side, and the Great Barrier Reef to the other. Within spitting distance. Absolutely amazing, and worth the long drive.

Our group of 12 feasted on barbecued chicken, veggies, and assorted breads, then made the long way down to Mossman Gorge. Now someone from the night before said how amazing Mossman is - like the Grand Canyon with a rainforest in it. They must've been on crack - or too much Absolut. It's not even the size of King's Canyon, nor as spectacular, but it definitely is beautiful. We checked out a funky rope bridge over the gorge before heading down to the smooth, giant boulders in the river for a refreshing swim. Swimming amongst the fish (trout, were they?) and in the ice cold water was exactly what I needed today. For once, I wasn't in 80-degree water, and it felt gooooooood.

The biggest surprise of the day came that I did not injure myself in any way, shape, or form. I could've smashed into some submerged rocks or slipped on algae-covered rocks at the Gorge, but somehow disaster was averted, and I've survived my first activity unscathed.

Of course, tonight's the big Frog & Toad pub crawl, so who knows what's going to happen.

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