Pools and Pancakes (and a very nasty wind)

Waking up and rolling over to check the time, we were faced with some terrible news. We’d missed breakfast. Oh dear. So far on this trip we’ve learnt that you never turn down free food so this was a hell of a disappointment. Grrrrrr. Feeling a bit annoyed with myself for being so tired and not waking up in time, I turned over to go back to sleep and suddenly remember something great; there were free pancakes at 11. Hooray! I celebrated with a little bit longer tucked up in bed before we got up and dressed then headed out to indulge in a morning sugar rush. The pancakes were really very tasty, especially when covered in maple syrup and there didn’t seem to be any rules about going back for seconds so Codie went off and came back with more! Not that I was complaining, they were just too nice to leave and they’d only have been eaten by someone else so why not us?

After breakfast we went and sat on the sofas for a while, watching drops of rain fall down and listening to the sounds of it pitter pattering on the roof. I really like Australian rain; it’s nice to be able to walk in it without being freezing cold and I had to stop myself going and standing outside in it for ages. In hindsight I should have done, after all what was the worst that could have happened, but instead we waited it out and then went to get ready to go to the lagoon. I have to say, it felt very strange covering ourselves in factor 50 sun lotion after such a downpour and I really felt the distance from the UK. You definitely wouldn’t be able to go out swimming and get sunburnt in weather like this! Greasy coating applied and towels stuffed in a bag, we left the hostel and set off for a swim feeling the clamminess from humidity.

I don’t have any idea what I was expecting but it definitely wasn’t what we were faced with when we reached the lagoon. The grass was saturated which turned the usual “find a place to sit” game into quite a challenge and the sounds of screaming children pierced the air, exacerbating the pressure headache I was starting to suffer with. Hmmmm. It wasn’t what we were used to in Cairns at all!  Not wanting to just abandon our plans and go back to the hostel, we carefully put everything down in a puddle free zone and made our way to the pool.  That was equally as shocking as the soggy grass. It was freezing! We drifted around for a while watching the seagulls hovering over head and the planes flying over but it was so cold, we just wanted to get out. Ah well. There was always the pool back at the hostel to enjoy. Rather than enjoy the water, I decided to just sit on my towel and enjoy reading my book instead; one of my favourite things to do. The nippy wind had other plans though. Even though it was still quite hot, there was a bit of a breeze and if it caught you, froze you almost instantly. Brrrrrrr. It seemed like a day at the lagoon just wasn’t meant be.

Instead of trying to be brave and ignore how cold we were feeling, we decided to pack up our things and go back to the hostel instead. They may not have had sea views or pelicans plodding about but they did have a pool and one which was hopefully sheltered from the wind. When we got to it, it was completely deserted, quite warm and  breeze-free so we hopped in there and I enjoyed a decent swim whilst Codie swam about underwater. We stayed in there for a while before deciding it was time to get out and get showered and changed before we went to watch the christmas tree lights being switched on. It hasn’t felt very festive around here so far other than the odd song in Woolworths so I was eager to try and make myself a bit more christmassy. I always seemed to miss the lights being switched on in both Preston and Cardiff so it also seemed the perfect opportunity to actually get to see it happen for a change and after getting sorted, off we went. The walk there was really nice as the wind had died down and lorikeets were flying around in the trees, tweeting to each other excitedly. I liked to think that they were looking forward to the tree light count down and were trying to find the best seats in the palm trees to watch. That was a funny thought and not just birds watching lights, the fact that there were palm trees about instead of conker trees and oaks. Carefully making our way through the crowds, we found ourselves a good place and managed to see Santa and some elves lined up ready to press the button. It was time for Christmas to begin.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1! On flickered the christmas tree lights, lighting up every branch to the sound of cheers and camera shutters. It was such a strange experience watching a Christmassy thing and not being wrapped up in jumpers, scarves and gloves and I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it. To me, Christmas is about being snuggled up next to the fire eating lots of lovely food and watching rubbish TV but here it appears to be the opposite. I think sitting next to a fire might finish you off in Cairns! There just didn’t seem to be the same excitement as you’d get at home; all the children were more interested in paddling in the pool than talking to Santa and the adults appeared to just want ti leave as soon as the tree was lit. I felt a bit sad about this as I still love seeing the sleigh go past the house at home, collecting money for charity and I still enjoy all the little traditions that come with this time of year but these kids didn’t seem interested in any of it. Perhaps it’s just the differences between Britain and Australia, it’s not the same “event” here as there, who knows. All I know is that I’ll definitely appreciate the run up to next years one, even if it does start in September!  After watching the bats for a while, we decided to head back to the hotel for some tea and to sleep. The bats are always really cool to see and some of them got so low I was able to see all the little patterns on it’s wings and it’s little ears too. Awwww. I’m so glad that we’ve seen so many of them about rather than just the ones in Hervey Bay as they’re such fascinating creatures and I hope we get to see more throughout the rest of our trip- I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching them.

Today hasn’t been the most exciting of days but as strange as it was, I enjoyed the light turn-on. Although it was a bit chilly at times, I also enjoyed experiencing a cooler side to the country as you don’t really tend to think of Australia as being cold. Well, I knew it was cold sometimes but after the heat and humidity we’ve had in Queensland so far, it slipped right to the back of my mind.  I’m looking forward to encountering more of the continents weather systems as we carry on moving around, whenever that is of course, and I have my fingers crossed for a proper storm. They look stunning and I’m sure they’re even more amazing to see for yourself so fingers crossed I get the chance to!

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