It’s Chrrisstmmasss! It was really strange waking up in Cairns on Christmas day. Really, really strange. Firstly, I didn’t wake up to my sister Tish sitting on the end of my bed with our stockings and secondly, it just didn’t feel very christmassy at all.
After waking up at about half 9 which is generally quite late for Christmas Day, I read some of my book on my iPad and then we decided to get up for breakfast. I was very excited for this as I always have smoked salmon and scrambled egg on Christmas morning so I’d made sure I got some for today. Once we’d braved the kitchen, found a pan with a plastic handle (a Christmas miracle!), I made the eggs whilst Codie made beans and toast and we went outside to sit on a bench and enjoy our food. I felt a bit bad because I’d managed to get my ‘traditional’ breakfast but we hadn’t got Codie’s full English and he just had to make do with scrambled egg, beans and toast. He didn’t seem to bothered though and after serving it on festive plates, we both really enjoyed it. It was a lovely familiar start to our otherwise peculiar Christmas Day, the only problem we had was that we couldn’t finish it all!
Following our tasty food, we headed back to the room to have a little sit down and swap presents. Jade and Jenny, the two girls in our room, were getting ready to go out for food in Cairns and as much as I was looking forward to our little homemade dinner, I was quite jealous as I think eating out would have been lovely. I do think we’re better saving our money for trips out though, especially now we’re off to somewhere new in a few days. After we’d spoken to them for a little while and they’d gone our for their Christmas Dinner, it was time to exchange things. First of all, I opened my cards from my Grandma and Grandad and my dad which I’d brought with me; it was really nice to have something from home. It was then time to open Codie’s presents and we chose to give each other them one by one with our eyes closed due to the fact that we hadn’t been able to wrap them. I got two koala chocolates, some purple spotty socks, some pandora charms and a card with a kookaburra on which I’m going to have framed when we get back. I’d gone for a koala theme with my presents and had given him a koala keyring, a curly koala straw, a single koala chocolate (I know, how stingy of me!), some koala eucalyptus tea and a koala photograph holder although it was decided it looked a bit more pig-like. I really liked getting presents from the night markets, they were a lot more interesting and much more exciting and fun to buy. With our Christmas being so different to normal, we decided to carry on with the strangeness and pay a trip to the lagoon for a swim. Armed with our Christmas hats, we set off in the heat and despite it being really busy, managed to find a bit of shade under a palm tree and flopped down. To be honest, it didn’t really look much different to another other day in Cairns; people sunbathing, having a swim, barbecuing, playing games but it was a lot busier. Families were huddled around tables, just like at home really, and there was a couple of people arguing, just like at home really. I found it really strange to be sat outside in 33C heat instead of being snuggled up in pyjamas by a fire and as much as I like Australia, I think I’ll enjoy being home next year. Unfortunately, there was a group of people who thought it was appropriate to shout over us to each other about their child’s toilet habits which was a bit grim and it was at that point we decided to go in the pool.
After hanging around for a while, we decided to go back to the hostel to try and cool down a little bit. As the sun was moving across the sky, the shade was escaping and with so many people about it wasn’t easy to move and we ended up just sat in the scorching hot light. I would have liked to have stayed a bit longer but nobody wants to end up as a lobster and even with loads of sun lotion slopped on, it never seems to be enough. As we walked back, it was strange to see so many pubs closed in Cairns and tourist shops still open as you’d expect it to be the other way around. It really is like a complete reverse of the UK! With so many backpackers and tourists about, I’d have imagined that any venues would have made a fortune but I think it’s nice that the staff probably got to spend the day with their families instead.
With it being so hot outside, we decided that it was best that we cooled off in the swimming pool and take a few photos of us in our christmas hats. There was a group of people in the people who had openly laughed at us as we’d walked past and had made it obvious it was directed it us so I wasn’t too keen to get in but then decided I just didn’t care, put on my hat and off we went. The water was so cool and refreshing and it was lovely to be able to just bob around for a while though I still couldn’t get over the fact that we weren’t wrapped up in blankets and watching Christmas TV. Very, very strange. Codie had a few jumps into the pool and spent most of his time underwater whilst I bobbed about and swam for a bit until we decided to get out and quickly put our washing in so we had nice clean clothes to get changed into after our warm showers. I don’t think I will ever take advantage of being able to easily do washing ever again! I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve run our of clean clothes and have had to quickly make a dash to get change for the machines. It can be quite a nuisance. Unfortunately we’d decided to wash our towels and so after another quick swim, we had to sit out in the sun for a bit to dry off. It’s not the worst way to dry, especially on Christmas Day, but I was getting quite hungry and very keen to go and make our delicious food. Lucky for me, it didn’t take long and we were soon back in the room for showers and a change out of our swimming things.
A little while later, refreshed and ready for food, we got everything together and went to make our Christmas Dinner. I have to say, it was incredibly strange not being at home for this bit in particular bit but instead of moping around, I decided to make the most of it and set about pulling apart our ready cooked chicken ready for the tasty potatoes, mash and vegetables. I would have loved to have made a proper roast dinner but the hostel doesn’t actually have an oven so it would have been quite problematic and nobody wants a raw chicken! As we’d expected the kitchen was horrendously busy but we navigated it well and within about half an hour, we were sat outside on the benches with our Christmas themed plates piled high. Yum, yum, yum. There was a lot more food than I thought there’d be so that was a lovely surprise however it was soon hoovered up with only traces of gravy left to remind us what had just been sitting there. It really was very nice. Not the same as a home Christmas Dinner but for an Australian Christmas, I was really quite proud of it. A couple of groups were making traditional food from their home countries and I found it extremely interesting to see what they were eating in places like Sweden, Germany and Turkey (not turkey like you’d think!). It all looked really delicious though for me it was the Swedish one that looked the most appetising with plate after plate of meatballs, cheese and various meats. Yum!
Full from our food, it was time for us to get our laptops and get ready to Skype home. Whilst we were waiting for everybody to wake up in the UK (damn time difference!) we looked through some of the photos we’d taken of the day and generally just relaxed after a busy but enjoyable day. Cairns wasn’t as festive as Longton but it was still a fantastic experience if not a bit odd. I did find it a bit annoying that the hostel didn’t seem to have made any effort at all and had even turned the radio off for the day but to be honest, we were so busy that it didn’t really make much difference at all. An hour or so later, I began the skyping and it was lovely to get to speak to my mum, grandma, sister, dad, stepmum, grandma and grandad and even the little woofs. The internet connection wasn’t the best, presumably because everyone had had the same plan, but it was great all the same. By the time I’d finished talking it was after midnight and we were absolutely shattered so headed off to the room for a well-deserved sleep. It’d been a bit of a peculiar day compared to normal but having the chance to experience Christmas in a different country was very memorable and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget!