Cape Tribulation With The Bar Manager
Before I start today, a little extra information that should have been added to the Cairns Carnage diary entry: I went up to the Crystal Cascades, a waterfall formation, with some Englsh girls whom Wally was living with. We went off the beaten track a bit, and saw some huuuge spiders with enormous legs. Also found out that there's a beach north of Cairns called "Yorkey's Knob". Now call me an unbeliever, but I never guessed that Chris was so well-smiled-upon by his genes. Lucky Jane.
Also, some random t-shirt quotes I've seen:
- He who dies with the most toys...still dies
- If you love something, set it free. If it doesn't come back to you, hunt it down and kill it!
Booked a tour today with Jungle Tours to visit the Cape Trib/Daintree rainforest area, encompassing spectacular old-growth tropical rainforest; from this forest it is thought that the planet's first echniosperm (flowering plant) evolved, about 120 million years ago, give or take a fortnight. Arrived at PK's Jungle Village about midday, after passing Australia's northernmost McDonald's. Spent the rest of the day lazing on the beach and reading the Guardian Weekly and Thomas Hardy's "A Pair Of Blue Eyes". Hardy's reputation as one of England's greatest wordsmiths is well known, so I didn't expect to come across such phrases as, "He heard her musical pants" as a chapter sub-heading. Then again, he redeemed himself with such lines as, "Of course, a sensible woman would rather lose her wits than her beauty".
The next day, on Monday, I decided to take a walk along to Emmagen Creek, a mere 2 hour hike along the road into pristine rainforest. I'd been told that there was a great waterhole where you could jump off a large rock and generally enjoy good swimming. But could I find it? No chance. My sense of direction, especially handy when locating toilets at a moment's notice, failed me, and I had to walk back to the hostel after lunch without having swam, which was none too comfy on such a hot day. On the way back I saw a track, and followed it to the beach. A little way along, I saw a sign saying:
Danger - Estuarine crocodiles inhabit this river!
but that was ok as I was nowhere near the river. On the way back, though, I wandered onto another path and ended up at the river's edge. But not for long, as I did a Linford (minus lunchbox) back to the road. This brings me onto the story of Beryl Ruck, the last person to be taken by a croc in this area, about 2 years ago. After a few too many Bundy and cokes, she decided to go skinny-dipping with a couple of fellas from the pub, leaving her clothes on the sign like the one I described above. As crocs are lazy hunters, they take the smallest thing in the water, and this just happened to be Beryl, whom the croc bit in half. So be careful where you swim.
When I finally got back to the hostel, I met a couple of quality women from Clacton-on-sea, and a guy called Stuart, who was weraing a Scottish Rugby Union t-shirt. He turned out to be part of the Scottish tour over here, having played numerous games, including against the Wallabies. He told me various stories of boring nights at British consulates that were only made enjoyable by all the "rules" that each squad member had to do, at any given time. But it's all in his Player's Diary, so check it out as I'm not about to go into it all here.
At 5am on Monday night/Tuesday morning was England's second World Cup match, against Rumania. But the PK's bar manager, in his wisdom, was not allowing the game to be shown. Not unless we collectively coughed up $200 for the privilege of opening the bar! This guy - an English backpacker - was going to watch the game anyway, but wanted cash to let us in! So what could we do? About 30 of us got the cash together and handed it over to this - what other word is appropriate but - WANKER! And then we lost in the dying seconds despite Owen's best efforts and Hoddle's misplaced faith by leaving out any semblance of a coherent midfield.
Woke up again on Tuesday morning to find it raining. In a rainforest!? I want my money back!! As part of the Jungle Tours package, we then visited a local ice cream factory, where I ran into the girls from Wally's house. Then we went on a crocodile cruise up the Daintree river, seeing 3 medium-sized crocs and a few kingfishers, but it was overcast and drizzling, so the bigger predators didn't come out. I could feel their eyes upon me, though. One American guy spotted a bird with his binoculars.
"What's that one over there?" he asked.
"That", the guide replied, "is what we commonly call...a duck".
Very amusing. After that we had a look at Mossman Gorge, then returned to Cairns, where I met Rob, a top bloke from Newbury, at my hostel. Had pizza, chilled out.