29 June, 2005

heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to cairns we go...

Well here I am, adorned with big black coat and explorer socks, purple scarf wrapped cozily round my neck, little heater buzzing quietly at my feet. Yes, lovers and dreamers, mindlessmunkey has returned to his freezing, foggy Southern homeland.

Aye, 'twas a dark and stormy morn on which we embarked. Well, not really. But 'twas dark. Anyway, patermunkey, Ms Cait and myself got on a plane last Saturday morning, and by about midday we were in Cairns ~ which was sunny, hot and humid. Our place of residence was Palm Cove, about 20 minutes out of Cairns along the Northern Beaches... a nice little place, predominantly a resort town, spread along a lovely, unspoilt beach.

The first few days were largely spent exploring the surroundings, lazing by the pool, lying in the sun... and of course drinking LOTS of bourbon. Our resort was a self-contained apartment affair, surrounded by a beautifully lush garden complete with barbecue and pool. On Tuesday evening, defenses lowered by booze and slothfulness, the Curse Of MindlessMunkey's Fucking Crappy Left Ankle struck once again. Walking along a simple footpath, my foot suddenly rolled and crumbled beneath me, and I tumbled to the ground, trying to be a brave munkey and wait out those shocking first few seconds of intense pain where you just want to vomit and cry and go to sleep. But it passed, I hobbled back to the resort, packed my crippled foot with ice and drank even more bourbon as an anaesthetic.

The next morning, injury and all, the munkey family went horseriding! *equitorial munkey* Hurrah! I was placed upon an EXTREMELY lazy horse by the name of Noddy. Now, I don't want to alarm PETA , but I could swear Noddy was stoned out of his horsey mind. He moved very slowly, was extremely reluctant to trot or walk down steep hills, and was utterly compelled to munch on anything even vaguely edible that we happened to pass. I know I'm only a beginner, but I would have preferred a beastie with a bit more oomph. Ah well, it was still a lovely ride from the lowlands up into the rainforest, to a lookout over the coast, and then back down among the tangled trees.

On Thursday we caught the historic train through beautiful scenery up to a place called Kuranda ~ a former mining town which has since become a Mecca for tourists sporting bird sanctuaries, butterfly houses and sprawling markets. However the best thing about Kuranda is the ways of getting there and getting back. After going up on the wonderful old train - truly an engineering masterpiece of its time - we came back by the spectacular Sky-rail: essentially a huge, enclosed chair-lift which soars and rattles high above the rainforest canopy.

Bundling into our hire car, our last full day in the Land of Queens (alas, such a misnomer) was spent exploring the Daintree. This is a truly beautiful area, where the rich forest tumbles down to the very brink of the ocean shore. So we drove up to Cape Tribulation and Mossman River, and wandered among the mangroves and high, broad-leaved trees, as the heavens opened and gently made the rainforest true to its name.

That night, after a spectacular seafood meal with the family, I kicked on and joined the locals for a couple of gallons of bourbon and (for the first time in my life!) a spot of karaoke. Yes, dear readers, my spirited rendition The Beatles' "Back In The USSR" left the Covesters cheering. Alas, I was showed up by the smarmy grin and American-Idol pizazz of Mike, the 18-y-o singing waiter form Palm Springs California. Cheesiness prevailed as he performed a string of well-rehearsed old-school karaoke classics, and became the star of the night. Ah well, I was happy with my debut achievement nonetheless.

So I stumbled back to our apartment, drunk and cheery. The next morning patermunkey and I were both hungover (he - perfectly understandably - having been obliged to finish the red wine we had remaining on our final night), but managed to get to the airport early (in time for munkey to buy the CUTEST little monkey toy you've EVER seen!) and onto the plane for the long trip home.

It was a great week, and a lovely chance to warm the bones, but i must say it's nice to be back... back in the arms of my beloved boy, back snuggled in my favourite warm clothes and back in my own comfy bed.

Thanks pop and cat for a fantasic week!




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