Adventure Bill's Great Pacific Exploration travel blog

Balloons alight and ready for flight - apparently it did not get...

View while I ate breakfast

One of several play areas for kids along the city's Esplanade

Organized place for kids to use skateboards, on-line skates, or BMX bikes...

City has lots of volcanic origin hills and mountains on three sides...

Really cool sculpture along the Esplanade

Hello FOBTs,

The picture included in this update may not have been included in the one for 8 April about my balloon adventure. If it's a duplicate, enjoy it again because I do think it's a pretty good photo.

Today is a relaxation day. I did not arise until almost 0900 local, which is kind of amazing for me to sleep that long. The weather is somewhat cloudy, but I am going to venture forth for a walkabout (don't think I used that Australian term before) to see if I left any reasonable part of Cairns unexplored by your intrepid explorer. I suspect there will only be a few photos with this update, but we'll see.

The morning's breakfast was spent in quiet contemplation of a quite nice outdoor scene, and I'll share a picture of that with you later as I finish this update.

More later.

The weather took a turn for the better, becoming sunny, warm, and windy. I could see clouds off in the distance. In fact one picture I'll include shows some of the volcanic hills surrounding Cairns on one side with clouds sitting atop them. Gradually, the wind picked up intensity, and at times I felt like I was getting sandblasted.

Cairns has a long, narrow beach. Along its curved length, the icy built a great park area. In addition to the large municipal pool I mentioned before, it has exercise stations, playgrounds for kids (one photo of the outside), an area for kids (or perhaps crazy adults) to see if they might qualify for the Darwin Award (No, not named for the city but allegedly after the famous scientist who came up with the theory of evolution. Purportedly, it is given posthumously to those people who remove their own stupid genes from the human gene pool thereby helping to raise the potential for humanity to continue successful evolution.), volleyball and tennis courts, and a soccer/rugby field. The city has signs encouraging an active life style for everyone, offering free classes in yoga, plates, Zumba, and other things around the pool area. The Esplanade itself has a separate (for most of the length) lane for bicyclists. I think they did an excellent job creating a place that is close and supports people being physically fit. In fact, if you are in a hurry to get there and back to where ever, they even have a helicopter landing pad along part of this promenade (no joke).

The whole Esplanade is 2.5 kilometers long or 5 round-trip. That comes out around 2.75 miles. I walked the whole length and back, and then dropped my camera at the hotel and did a walkabout into and around the city so that I could get in about 4 miles. As I walked the length of the park, I saw no one on the beach. Of course, I saw several signs warning people that saltwater crocodile inhabit the beach area, and the water color was murky enough to convince me they were not kidding (as Bill Bryson correctly called it in his book Down Under). I did not see any of the seashells that are poisonous, but I did see some more cool sculptures, and I included two pictures of them. The bay area supports a wide range of marine life, such as the famous oyster goby (I never heard of it, but what do I know?), egrets, pelicans (I saw some fishing, but could not get good enough pictures to include them in this update), and a large amount of crabs - soldier, ghost, mud, and fiddler crabs. Mangrove trees grow just inside the park boundary, perhaps indicating that the water level gets pretty high and/or the water table is high. In fact, the airport's boundary with the city is demarcated by a mangrove swamp.

I have to say that I'm really impressed with the city's devotion to encouraging a fitter population, and providing a wide range of facilities for people to indulge. Lots of other municipalities could follow suit.

Tomorrow, I hit the road again, flying to Brisbane. I've been watching the news broadcast from Brisbane, and it appears that Australia is not isolated from similar troubles affecting other parts of the world. For instance, they have random street violence where small gangs smash store windows or attempt to rob places like convenience stores (not armed robbery, but run in grab stuff and run away) and the country seems beset by some drug problem called ICE. ICE is some equivalent to crystal math (looked it up before doing this update). Just goes to show that people can be people everywhere, both for good and sometimes for bad.

Before I finish, I have to share something with you. Eileen has told me that she might alter her appearance in some manner such that I might not recognize her at Sydney airport. Of course, this has led me to speculate on how I might reciprocate. One observation I have made is that the trend on so-called "body art" or tattoos (or I like to call it, "tats) has certainly been taken up by a decent portion of the younger Australian population. Likewise, hair styles and coloration is also very noticeable. Consequently, I have been wondering about getting some kind of "tat," perhaps some facial one along the line of Mike Tyson. Due to being in the sun a lot, I've noticed that some of my hair has lightened in color. I guess I could move in that direction and just get it colored blonde. I think that would certainly fool Eileen when she saw me! So, if you would like to express your thoughts on this matter, I encourage you to sign in as a guest, which I'll have to approve, and share your thoughts with all of the FOBTs out there. We have limited time in which to do this, so hurry if you want to participate.

Thanks for reading.

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