Finding Nemo in Cairns, Australia

He Says: It’ll be hard to have a better time than we did in New Zealand because of the family and friends who made it fantastic. From this point on we’ll be traveling like most people do – hostels or hotels, public transportation or our own two feet…but I have no doubt we’ll enjoy every second of it. 🙂

Well, maybe not every second. We had a little hiccup upon checking in for our flight from Auckland to Cairns. At the counter we were told we had no checked baggage allowance for the flight. Unbeknownst to us, the airline website prompts you to check your luggage online prior to checking in for the flight. We booked through a third party, Cheapoair.com, so were never prompted to do anything of the sort.

Okay. No big deal. Easy fix. “Then we’ll pay to check our luggage now” we told the clerk. So we place our bags on the scale, she does her calculations and we’re all set. “That’ll be $385” she said quietly and calmly. Cue the screeching brake sound in my head. — “I’m sorry. Did you say $385??”

We hoped it was a misunderstanding but those hopes were dashed quickly. She definitely said $385. We did the usual stomping of our feet, sighing, crying and demanding to speak with a manager. All to no avail. All we could do was get her to come down to $320…which was still almost as much as our flight tickets for the flight. She continued to tell us calmly that we could wait for her supervisor but she was currently preparing the plane and wouldn’t be able to help us until the plane had taken off….which wouldn’t help us much because we wouldn’t be on the flight.

So, as the saying goes, we got screwed in the ass with sandpaper. And not just regular sandpaper. It was that course 40-grit sandpaper. With no real choice, we paid the good lady and were on our way, less $320. We’re still trying to get our money back but it doesn’t look hopeful. From now on, we’ll be sure to quadruple check the fine print.

Eventually, we took a deep breath and realized that in the grand scheme of things our problems could be a lot worse than paying extra for luggage. So we calmed ourselves, got excited for Australia and, after a few hours flight, we made it there safely along with our very expensive luggage.

We checked in to our “quiet, family run” hostel to find we’d be rooming with the roudiest blokes Great Britain had to offer. Not really a big deal as they turned out to be great guys and were hilarious to watch, even when not drinking. Unfortunately (kind of), they got kicked out after a few nights for partying too hard. They were on their way to the next unsuspecting hostel where they could “get some sleep”. It was sad to see them go but the next few nights were definitely a lot calmer. We had a few more roommates come and go but no one nearly as entertaining. 🙂

When we weren’t enjoying hostel life we were enjoying downtown Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. We spent a whole day on a catamaran and stopped at two different sites for snorkeling. The coral wasn’t as vibrant as we expected but still beautiful. Tons of fish, a few sharks and the occasional turtle. We also learned that 4 coats of sunblock still isn’t enough when you’re that close to the equator.

I think, even more than the reef, we were most excited to watch the All Blacks play Australia in the semi-finals of the RWC. We wore all of our fan gear and found a huge pub with an outdoor patio and giant projection screens showing the game. Surprisingly, there were quite a few All Blacks fans so we didn’t feel too out of place. Fortunately, we met a few Aussies who made it an interesting night by heckling us and giving me the “boring” glasses when the All Blacks weren’t doing so well. All in good fun, especially when they won. 🙂

Other than that, not too much to say about Australia. We didn’t venture outside Cairns so we didn’t see much. Most people said Melbourne is a great city so maybe we’ll put that on the list for the next trip.

She Says:  I truly believe someone was trying to test our detox mission.  We booked the only hostel listed as “quiet” and as John said, we received a room with the characters out of the movie Beerfest.  These guys were at it 24/7 just about.  Proud to say – we only participated one night out of 7.  I don’t know how we did it, but we beat the odds.  Good job babe!!

These guys were great though.  We thoroughly enjoyed them and we all got along well.  It was also fun learning their language.  Yes they were English, from northern England, but both J and myself had a hard time understanding them sometimes.  Funny isn’t it – we speak the same language and at times it seemed foreign.  I am sure it was equally as challenging for them.  Hopefully when we visit England we can meet back up with them.  Paul, another English bloke, roomed with as well but was more of a balance.  He partied with them a couple nights and was low key a couple nights.  True Englishman, he sat on the fence 😉

The reef was a good time.  I loved all the fish!! It was amazing the colors that these fish were.  They were colors similar to a shirt I wore in the late 80s/early 90’s.  Although, apparently the neon fad is making a comeback. The coral could have been a little brighter, but hey I am not complaining. I just snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef!

It is true as J said that the highlight was watching the All Blacks beat Australia. It was a pretty close game.  The Aussie guys at the bar were definitely a hoot and even bought us a beer upon our victory.  Aussies aren’t that bad after all.  I suppose I wouldn’t mind visiting again and checking out more of the country.

Oh and Jet Star is ridiculous.  At this point we have been on the phone with them about 5 times without speaking to a supervisor or anyone who can help us in anyway.  If this part of the world has a BBB I will be contacting them! If anyone has ideas on what to do we welcome suggestions.

Esplanade Walk

The Lagoon

Diving is for cool kids, snorkeling is for the coolest kids 🙂

The Great Barrier Reef!

The GBR from our boat

Some Scottish women I met at the hostel

Our English roomies!

This about sums up every night in our room 🙂

Scene for the All Blacks game

John with his "boring" glasses

After the big win over Australia!

Celebrating with the defeated Aussies

Pool at our Hostel

Awww 🙂

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