After sorting out my room for the next week and a half, I talked with Front Desk Dave about recommendations for my to be determined Australian Adventure. He spent at least 30 minutes answering all my questions and giving me great advice.
After that I paid my $2 for unlimited toast and made two toasted PB&J sandwiches. I started talking with a kid from Germany who has been living and working in Australia for four months. He worked in Sydney as a furniture mover for two months to fund two more months of travel. Everywhere I travel I meet at least one German. Germans here, Germans there, Germans are freaking everywhere.
Anyways, the German (never got his name) convinced me to give the infamous vegemite a try. Apparently Hugh Jackman was on Jimmy Fallon's show and taught him how to properly eat Vegemite which is a thin layer spread on top of already buttered toast. Which is how I tried it. Still can't say I'm a fan though. And I don't know how they get away with the Vege prefix: it's basically just concentrated yeast extract and salt - there are no vegetables to be found in the ingredients.
I extended my single room for two more nights through Sunday and then switched over to a four share room for the rest of next week. Then I went back to my room with full intentions to start sorting through all the marketing materials I had discussed with Front Desk Dave, and promptly fell asleep. I slept for the better part of 3 hours until noon when I was abruptly awoken by a knock on my door. I shot up out of bed and the door opened and closed in a flash - I’m guessing it was a custodian coming around to empty the trash because my bin is right next to the door.
It was dark and rainy for most of the day - the perfect time to spend planning what to do for the next few weeks and make the most of the 24 hours of internet that I bought for $6 AUD. At first, I get really excited and want to do everything and go everywhere and completely blow my budget. Front Desk Dave got me all excited about a trip to the Whitsunday Islands but that would entail a long overnight bus ride each way and at least one night in a hostel in addition to the 3 day/2 night Eco Sailing Safari that I was lusting over because OMG I’d get to live on a boat in the Great Barrier Reef for a few days! Not to mention it would put me $600 over budget and it’s not very eco-friendly to travel so far from my home base. Nope. If I wanted to do the Whitsunday Islands, I should have stayed in the Airie Beach area.
So I crunched some numbers and picked a variety of activities including a local pub crawl, white water rafting, a hot air balloon tour, a day trip to the waterfalls and rainforest in the Tablelands/Yungbarra and a weekend trip to Cape Tribulation. Then I’ll come back to Cairns and stay at another hostel because there are about a bazillion in the area and then book a reef sailing/snorkeling day trip next week.
It’s so great starting out with my own room and being able to spread out and not worry about anything being stolen. But honestly I’d imagine most backpackers are like myself and are lugging a bunch of their own crap and don’t have the room or desire to take on any more.
Hearing the rain beating down on the roof makes it really hard to motivate myself to get dressed and go out to find food for dinner but I’m really hungry as I’ve locked myself in my single room all day and only had a granola bar since breakfast. I assembled a quick-dry outfit including my vibrams and my raincoat. The sun was down before 6 PM so it was already dark by the time I made it outside. I ended up with a falafel kebab wrap and a Ginger Beer at a nearby walk-up joint, but they did have a few plastic tables and chairs outside. By the time I finished eating, the rain had stopped so I headed back to the hostel. I used the last bit of my energy to do a quick yoga practice then showered in the communal bathroom before bed. (Feels like being in college again.)