Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Wasted Day

I was supposed to be picked up for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Atherton Tablelands this morning at 4:10am, but I turned my phone (and hence, my alarm) off and didn't wake up until 4:30. It sucks that I missed an opportunity at another "first," not to mention a champagne brunch upon landing. Sounds a bit posh, doesn't it?

I came up with a set of rationalizations to comfort myself, though:

1) Getting up in time for a 4:30 pick-up sucks. End of story. Going back to sleep felt sooooo gooooood.

2) The tour's operated by the same guys who did the whitewater rafting trip. Their idea of a 5-star BBQ lunch was McDonald's-quality burgers and KFC-quality macaroni salad. I hardly imagine the champagne brunch would be little more than cold cuts and a box of sparkling wine.

3) The weather was shit today. Tropical storms, big, oppressive clouds, etc. We drove past the Atherton area this morning and there were some serious storm clouds looming over the mountains. I don't think I would've seen the sunrise anyway.

4) I would have had Duran Duran's "Reach Up for the Sunrise" stuck in my head all day, and that would've been bad. Very bad.

5) Considering everything I've done this trip has involved some kind of injury, I simply don't want to imagine what sort of freak accident I could have during balloon flight. Falling out of the basket? My hair being set aflame by the fire-making-the-balloon-go-up-thingy? Being squashed into a basket with a dozen camera-clicking Japanese tourists and suffocating to death? All pretty grim.

Speaking of injuries, I forgot to mention yesterday that I cut my knee up fairly decently on a bit of the Great Barrier Reef. How's that for a battle scar? Attacked by a world heritage site!! I was hanging on to some dead coral to stay at the bottom and wait for a school of fish to swim by, and as I kicked to go up a bit, my right leg caught some of the coral and I felt an intense stinging pain. Luckily, there was no cloud of blood to attract the sharks. Maybe my stinger suit was holding it in, because the gash is pretty red today.

All underwater drama aside, I'll mention again that it was fucking brilliant. That's another reason I don't feel so bad about the balloon thing. After diving the Reef, everything seems a bit anticlimactic.

This morning I hitched a ride up to Trinity Beach with some Danes I met, about the only spot along the coast here that didn't seem to have thunderclouds enshrouding it. We laid on the beach for a while, and at some point decided to go swimming in the enclosure. Enclosure, you ask? Why, yes! It's box jellyfish (stinger) season. These little suckers can kill you with one of their little tentacles, unless you're wearing the aforementioned stinger suit: A lovely lycra number that flatters the curves and makes anyone look dead sexy - if you're into lumpy, spandex-clad tools.

It was super-mellow, and all the soaking in saltwater is probably what I needed to decompress from the previous day's adventures. Hell, when I came home, the sun came out and I jumped right back into the pool and continued my day of accomplishing absolutely nothing. Sometimes you just have to, I suppose.

So with this being a wasted day, I think I'm going to go out and make it a wasted night. Some touristy bar is hosting a half-price-if-you-come-in-beachwear party. As cheesy as that is, I can't really complain about tons of backpackers in swimwear, now can I?

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