Wow, its been a long time since I last wrote. Can't
believe its been only a month since I left Australia.
Feels like an entire lifetime has passed and my six
month adventure was but a figment of my imagination.

I last left you in Alice Springs. I realize that I
failed to write an epilogue of my travels, so here is
a synopsis of my last few weeks down under. It wont
be as alive or vibrant as my other tales, since this
one is tinged with sadness at the relaying of my
stories from memory only. Giovanna and I decided to
take a bus to Cairns since it was roughly the same
price as a flight and we wanted to see more of the
outback. This was a mistake. It was 2700 kilometers
to Cairns, along a bumpy, bumpy, dirt road that passed
scrub, dirt and termite mounds. This was the only
scenery for three days. In addition, the AC failed on
the first day, which just happened to be my birthday,
so we had to contend with 40+/100 F temperatures
inside the cabin of the bus whilst being tossed around
inside. It was a horrendous journey only highlighted
with a stay at a working cattle station where I got to
play with more baby kangaroos.

Our stay in Cairns was lovely. We took our first dive
ever on the Great Barrier Reef. The experience of the
dive itself was incredible ; I am definitely going to
go and get certified; but I was disappointed by the
reef which seems to really be suffering and dying; at
least the spot where we were taken. Cyclones, tourism
and rising ocean temperatures have all taken a huge
toll on the color, vibrancy and health of the reef.
Whilst there, I also took a trip to Cape Tribulation,
only to discover what an incredible marketing tool
calling an otherwise ordinary strip of beach �Cape
Tribulation is. That's all it really was, but we did
some hiking in Mosman Gorge National Park on the way
back which was very beautiful. We frolicked in some
more waterfalls, hiked the rain forest, and generally
recovered from our bus experience, only to head south
a few days later on yet another bus, this time to
Airlie Beach.

From Airlie Beach we took a 3 day sailing trip around
the Whitsunday islands on a 55ft yacht. The boat we
had booked was in repair, so we received a great
upgrade to a fancier vessel; the only drawback was
that we had to share it with four of quite possibly
the dullest English people my homeland had ever
produced and sent to Australia on vacation. Their
conversation skills sent me to bed about 9.30pm both
nights. The ship itself was beautiful, and I wish I
could say the same about the weather but it howled and
poured for the entire trip. On a plus side, I got to
steer the boat through some rough sea, and we
snorkeled for two days on sections of the reef that
were far healthier than the one in Cairns. Overall it
was a great trip tinged with too much water and
sea-sickness. The highlight was visiting Whitehaven
Beach; one of the top three voted beaches in the
world. I am forever spoilt by its silicone white
sand.

We then headed south to Hervey bay on another bus. It
poured in Hervey Bay, so we contented ourselves with a
visit to Shark Museum ( I am still obsessed with
them.) The museum was somewhat disturbing; the guy
who owned it claims that the Australian Government is
operating a huge cover-up over how many people get
attacked each year by killer sharks and how
protecting these so-claimed over-fished man-eating
species, the government was simply waiting for a
disaster to happen in a decade or so when it wouldn't
be safe to step a toe in the sea anymore because
numbers would be through the roof. Wasn't sure how to
take it all, except that if it were true, it would be
an ENORMOUS blow to Australian Tourism; making it
somewhat more believable. So, just when I thought
Jaws was just fiction.

The next two days we visited Fraser Island, the
largest sand island in the world. It was very
beautiful with clear lakes, stunning beaches, and lush
rainforest. The second afternoon we sat up on some
cliffs and literally watched sharks, manta rays,
turtles and dolphins swimming in the ocean below; the
water was that clear. Beautiful spot.

By this point, however, I was eager to get back to
Sydney. I was excited to visit the Sheraton and catch
up with old friends. We ended up flying from Brisbane
back to Sydney as we had both just had about enough of
buses. In fact, never would be too soon. We had a
lovely last week together, staying at my old house,
visiting with friends and partying. I felt sick all
week, however, at the thought of leaving and returning
to the US. Change when you least want it, is very
difficult. Saying goodbye was painful, especially to
Giovanna; there were many tears shed that week. It
has been just so incredible to spend so much time with
her, she is still the bestest friend that anyone could
ever hope for! It will be so weird to go from seeing
her every single day, sharing every meal, to not
seeing her at all. God, I will miss you, Giovanna.
Thanks for the memories..

So, May 8th, I packed my bags for the last time (at
least in Australia) and got on a plane to San
Francisco and then on to Seattle. I cried at the
airport and then again when I got on the aircraft to
discover I would be wedged between two men who
collectively weighed more than a baby elephant for the
next 16 hours!

I will never forget my time here; All of you GO to
Australia! I hope my tales have inspired you all to
travel there...!
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