From the Desert to the Tropics

Too much time on our hands until our flight to the Great Barrier Reef, nothing else to do but shop. So we picked up some more aboriginal arts, first at the little market on the hotel grounds and then, at the hotel shop. A couple of aboriginal artists come to the market every day. They sit and paint right there as a marketing ploy. It appears that there are more women among these painters than men.
We have been very lucky with good weather until now! Like I said, it had been raining everywhere in Australia for three straight months. The rain tapered off the day we arrived in Sydney and it has been sunny ever since. Our guide told us that several days ago, all this rain created a waterfall down Uluru, and that is in the desert! On the bus to the airport, a Japanese boy told us his sad story: yesterday, he was flying to the Outback from Melbourne via Sydney. The plane took off from Melbourne, but because of torrential rains in Sydney turned back to Melbourne. The poor kid had to stay in Melbourne one more night and came to the Outback just in time to catch a plane to Cairns, not seeing the Outback at all.
The bus driver was so friendly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he gave us a hug. A luggage handler flashed a wide grin at us and inquired if we liked the Outback. I have a radar for insincerity, but these people seem truly genuine!
We arrived in Cairns 6:30 pm. Now Cairns is ahead of the Outback by half an hour. What is with these crazy half-hour time differences? I hope our luck with good weather has not run out. We arrived into a monsoon. Apparently, it’s raining season now on the Great Barrier Reef. I am keeping my fingers crossed it’s not going to rain every day!
But because it’s off-season, hotel prices are reasonable. Because we don’t have a car, we opted to stay in the Great Barrier Reef’s hub, Cairns, rather than going to a more secluded location. We can walk everywhere from here and our hotel is right across from the marina. Outside our window, from what we can see through the curtain of rain, there is a body of water, mountains on the opposite side, and a marina with rows of sailboats. In addition to this great view, our rate includes full breakfast and canapés (appetizers) with drinks between 5 and 7pm. And that was what we had instead of dinner. And it was delicious!

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