On September 22nd, Steve and I left for our Australia R&R trip! This was the first time either of us had ever been to Australia, and neither of us really knew what to expect. We have had friends advise us of where to go, and heard how nice it was, but we really weren’t prepared for the wonderland that awaited us! The first choice we had was which part to visit first … We wanted to avoid Sydney this time, because of the Olympics and the crowds that would be there (living in Asia makes you learn to avoid crowds whenever possible). The decision was to be between going to Adelaide and the wine country, or to Cairns and visiting the beach area. This trip, we decided to visit the beach. And it was a great choice.
We left Nanjing on a Friday, and flew to Hong Kong. There, we spent one night at the Park Lane Hotel, since we have discovered an Outback Steakhouse right around the corner! Figured we should start this trip off right! On Saturday morning, we left Hong Kong enroute to Singapore, where we switched planes and began our flight to Cairns. Although it was only a 6 hour flight, it was an all-nighter. We left Singapore around 10 PM, and arrived in Cairns around 6:30 Sunday morning (they are two hours ahead of us in China). Steve had made arrangements to get a rental car (which wasn’t the easiest to obtain, even in Cairns, because of the Olympics), and we headed over to the Cairns Hilton which would be our home for the next 5 nights. Since neither of us had restful sleep on the plane, we both decided that a few hours sleep would be best, so we crashed. I have to admit that it was hard to get back up (around Noon-thirty), but once I was up and had a shower, I felt much better.
Once we were out and around Cairns, we found a whole new world to discover awaiting us! Not only does Cairns have about 3 malls, they even had a Target department store! You have no idea how much we miss stores like Target and Wal-Mart (since we are currently living in China) but especially Target! We were able to find, and purchase, a bread machine! Something I have been looking for in Asia ever since we moved there! Since Australia uses the same type electricity as China, we knew the bread machine would work back in Nanjing, so we grabbed it! Ask me if I was thrilled! (no need to really ask … I think you can tell) Anyway, after checking out a few other stores around the area we found out that our 'checking out' was just about over for that day. On Sundays (which is the day we arrived), all the stores close at 4:30 PM, so that was the shopping for that day. Fortunately, the restaurants stay open longer as do the tour booking agencies. And since we only had four days to play in Cairns, we decided that the sooner we decided exactly what activities and tours we wanted to take, the better off we would be time-wise. It turned out to be a good decision. We booked both tours that evening (fishing and a snorkel trip), and we were set for the week.
The first night in town found us dining at Barnacle Bill’s. It was a nice, open-aired restaurant, with a great selection of seafood. Steve ordered a fish dish in lime and chili sauce, and I ordered the fried prawns. I won. My prawns were huge, with a special sauce for dipping. On the side was a tasty fruit salad. I had already decided that I was going to like dining in Cairns!!! Ha!