14 February 2014


Cairns, Australia, isn't the mix of city or outback I was expecting. Knowing that Australia's largest cities are further south and all along the coastline, I assumed that Cairns would more resemble outback lands filled with dirt, mountains and lots of open space. Since expats - specifically commercial pilots - abound, I was expecting residential areas as well but nothing like a downtown cityscape.

Well I was right about the non-cityscape but my outback scenery was way off base. Cairns looks more like a rainforest than Singapore with the mix of tropical trees, bushes, high grasses and tree-filled mountains.

With a tropical landscape comes tropical weather (or is it the other way around?). Heat, humidity and heavy rain were more prevalent than kids at a toddler's birthday party. The warm air mixed with the clouds above to form mist along the skyline. Sometimes the mist seemed to descend from the heavens to embrace the mountains below and other times the trees seemed to expel the mist, breathing the mist toward the sky.

When the sun peered through the clouds it gave light to beautiful landscapes. We decided to take a drive north toward Port Douglas on an actual coastal road. The road was windy like any West Virginia drag and oftentimes framed by trees on either side, clasping branches above the road.

We were met by rockscapes, cascading waterfalls hidden around angled curves and vacant beaches.

The mood was gloomy most of the weekend as the rain dominated; luckily we were in chill moods and enjoyed hanging out with Beth in her condo watching endless hours of Olympics coverage (you know how much I love the Olympics!).

The humidity inside often seemed worse than the humidity that awaited outside. We think Beth's air conditioner was broken because the air was damp and the floors glistened with moisture.

The condo was so humid inside that when we returned Monday afternoon, the clothes inside my suitcase were still damp. Spending more than two years in Singapore, we cannot recall a time when our condo was ever that humid.

Our weekend away was informative on several levels. We learned why so many Aussie pilots choose to live in Cairns: they have solid infrastructure, good healthcare, Coles food stores and Target. Oh how I miss Target.

But the area did not appeal to me and neither did the constant rain. If given the choice between PNG and Cairns, Paul picks Cairns. If given the choice to live anywhere in the world, I pick somewhere else. 

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