New digs

This guest house lark is all very nice and comfortable, but it isn’t cheap, so I move into a flat next Tuesday.

It’s in Clare St, Parramatta Park, where I’ll share a downstairs flat with two others. Private bedroom, aircon, desk, broadband, and shared bathroom, kitchen , living area, $165 AUD / week.

I’m a little nervous about the caper, having told myself in 2018 after a cold winter in a Railway Terrace, Whg flat, that that was the last time.

But the house-owner seems like a straight-up no-bs sort, and it was advertised as a “non-party” ( read codgers’ ) household, so all may be well.

Pedalling

I’ve been putting in the biking miles, and will be buying my own ( second-hand, circa $80 ) for transport as I’ll lose the free use of the guest house two-wheelers.

Sights

.. and I’ve been further exploring the Esplanade and waterfront. Evidence below.

July 22, 7:47 a.m., the Bay
July 20, 10:29 a.m., the Salt-Water pool
July 22, North End of the Esplanade, looking over the Bay

Finding my feet

Day six in Cairns, and what follows is the stew produced from throwing the spaghetti at the wall. A hodge-podge.

On that note, here are some random pictures taken since arriving.

Cycle City

There are bikes lanes, dedicated bike paths, centre-line cyclist stops, and even lanes for bikes on the major arterial routes.

Cairns is the purple spot , probably covering about 25 kms each side

Cairns is also pretty much flat for miles around , as you can see at left.   When there’s been a breeze, it’s pretty mild.

And lastly, the airBnB guest house I’m staying at includes free use of its three mountain bikes. One at a time.

Waterfront

The waterfront is spectacular. Ok, it’s not Nha Trang bay, but it is very nice.

How many words is a video worth?

This is looking out over the bay from The Esplanade, near the town centre;

And this is from a similar position looking more toward town;

The Briny

The tide was out, but even so, it looked inviting enough so that I was fixing to swim there one day soon. The host has told me, seriously, that this just isn’t done. People fish there, and eat the catch, but it’s considered unsafe for swimming. Go figure.

The Colourful Side

While I was near the town centre, I stumbled across the colourful side of town, notably four Vietnamese restaurants and an entire “night market” mainly dedicated to food.

Also from the “good news for gluttons” department comes the discovery that dairy here is good quality and cheap, including cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

The Digs

The guest house has been blessedly quiet after Queensland started shutting out those scurvy southerners from Victoria and NSW. It’s bad news for the host, with a slew of cancellations. But good news for yours truly who, along with a quiet young couple, have the run of the place.

It has good cooking and bathroom facilities, and the bedrooms are ok. A minor annoyance is that its proximity to a well-trafficked road. The laptop mike picks it up, meaning I’m confined to barracks ( my room ) for online teaching.

But it is a little outside a budget I can manage longer-term. Accommodation is going to be the major challenge if I decide to stay on here. It’s the ‘High Season’ for tourists right now, and the best option for me appears to be finding a room in an established flat.

The Weather

Below is the view from outside at around 8.15 a.m., about 21 degrees celsius.

Down to earth in Cairns

After spending most of yesterday aloft at 30,000 feet, today is a recovery day in Cairns, Australia.

I arrived at the BnB at just before midnight. Exhaustion, and too much rubbish food, meant I slept only about 4 hours.

Nonetheless, the first order of business today, before parking myself on a couch, was a trip to stock up. Recovery equals eating, right?

The AirBnB place I’m staying in provides free bikes, and the lazy 3.5 km trip to Woolworths and back took about half an hour each way.

The BnB I’m staying at is comfortable, an older house large enough for the four guests to easily avoid each other.

The Trip

I left Whangarei ( 5 deg C on waking ) at around 10 a.m., sitting next to a ruddy, chatty type on her way to an automotive convention in the South Island with her husband and son.

Then it was 6 hours at Auckland airport. Auckland turned on a warm day, of course, given that I’d dressed in as much clothing – with as many pockets – as possible. All in an effort to reduce my baggage weight, since it’s fair play for myself and clothing to weigh 80 kgs for the day.

A four-hour flight to Brisbane was next. The plane was maybe 25% full, so there was ample room to spread myself over the spare seat separating me and a young Aussie guy on a short trip back to Queensland to visit relatives.

I did get “taken aside” but breezed through Aussie customs in 10 minutes. There were no requests for proof of the travel declarations ( one for Queensland, one or Australia ) I’d scrambled around to finish at Auckland airport. I’d read that only one was required, but that wasn’t the case, according to Auckland airport boarding staff.

Two hours at Brisbane airport, and lugging everything from the international to domestic airport, followed. The last leg to Cairns was a Qantas flight maybe about 70% full.

I won’t be taking too many taxis here, with the fare from Cairns airport to ‘home’ costing AUD $25 +.

Right, I’m off to find a dark corner and turn on the Tele for a while until that depresses me too much and youtube takes centre stage.

Change of plans

Yes, I’m still champing at the bit to get out of here, but it won’t be happening on Tuesday July 13.

So I was told via text at 11.55pm last night. Their explanation was “operational reasons”. The Air New Zealand phone support spent nearly 5 minutes to tell me they couldn’t explain that further.

I’m now escaping this miserable winter from Wednesday July 14, in the morning.

I’m not overjoyed about it, because it means a six-hour wait in Auckland, and a two-hour stopover in Brisbane.

Meantime, here’s hoping Queensland continues its good covid record.