Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA


G’Day, Mate! I have now arrived in the land down unda!

Let’s start from the beginning:

Plane ride:

It was probably a good thing that I didn’t get much sleep the night before I left (around 3 hours – I was just really sad to leave Tim…) However, the lack of sleep helped me totally pass out on the airplane!!! It was great! The flight to Australia honestly felt shorter than the flight to LA from Nashville! I also somehow scored some awesome seats – I sat in the seats where there are baby carriages that fold out of the wall – which means lots of leg room! I could stretch my feet out flat out in front of me and still have a little room to the wall. On a raw food note, I packed lots of fruit to be secure about the long flight – I brought a container of strawberries and one of papaya and mango. I found that the cut up fruit gets mushy and bad very quickly so in the future I know to eat this stuff first. I also brought lots of dates and some dried fruit for backup. And Quantas has a fruit/vegan option for meals when I first bought my ticket, so I also signed up for that. The funny thing is that they served dinner and breakfast at the most random times! Both times they had to wake me up when it arrived, lol. It was basically just chopped fruit (dinner was pineapple/honeydew/cantelope, tiny salad and a banana and breakfast was honeydew, cantelope, grapefruit, strawberries and oranges. Both meals had some sort of bread and butter served with it, which I obviously did not eat. I only ate a few bites of each meal, as the fruit I had looked more appetizing, and they served it at the weirdest times (for instance, breakfast was at 2am!) Anyways, I had to throw away all my fruit when I arrived to the airport and before I went through customs. I was very sad to throw away such good food (especially my dates!) I then realized I probably could have gone through customs without them even knowing!!! Makes me sad! Oh well.

Culture and Adventure program:
I did a week-long adventure program in the tropical land of Cairns, Australia! Here’s the lowdown on the week:

-July 12 – arrived to Cairns & had dinner at a brewery – they provided me with a colorful bowl of veggies, which was nice. Honestly though, I was dying for some fruit! It was hard to get acclimated at first since I was stuck with a HUGE group (around 140 people) and most of their meals are provided, whereas I have to find my own. After a couple days I learned where the markets were so I shopped on my own. =)

the big group of americans, all studying through australearn
a beautiful rainbow in cairns
the backpackers hostile we stayed at
-July 13 – Volunteer day – helped plant trees in the tropical rainforest! This was a really cool experience – I had the opportunity to give back to the community and leave something that I planted in Australia. It’s cool to think that there will always be a tree in Australia that I helped place in the ground! I learned a lot about the rainforest this day, and it was a cool experience.

crazy looking flower
me opening a coconut with my bare hands & a flimsy pocket knife: SUCCESS

me & anna w/ the coconut we foraged & avocados we bought
-July 14 – Great Barrier Reef! There’s really only two words to explain this: mind blowing!!!!!! I snorkeled in the crystal clear blue water and it was absolutely amazing. The coral reef is so beautiful and it is home to some of the most bizarre fish I’ve ever seen! I highly recommend checking this out sometime; it’s a MUST-SEE. Swimming with the fish is just such an amazing experience. Like I said, mind blowing! That night I met up with another low fat raw vegan who is from New Zealand but recently moved to Cairns. He is 20 and we share a passion in fruit eating! It’s really cool to meet other raw vegans!
my lunch on the boat
beautiful waters
me and anna getting ready to snorkel
snorkeling!
crystal clear waters
me on the boat
amazing scenery

Daryl, a young raw vegan from NZ
-July 15 – Rainforestation day! I toured the rainforest, hung out with kangaroos and wallabies, saw a crocodile, held a snake, threw a boomerang, watched aboriginals perform songs and dances, took an army duck through the rainforest, and held a koala – I got a lot of the stereotypical Australian touristy stuff done! It was SOOOO much fun!!!! I had a blast.
baby wallaby - so cute!
me and a kanga
aaawwww
these guys are so chill
A big croc named "Big Ripper" i think
a native aboriginal showing me how to throw a boomerang
facing my fear of snakes
not sure what to think, haha!
australian spider
a beautiful cassowary
lunch in the rainforest
-July 16 – Free Day! My new friend Anna and I went to Rusties, which is apparently the biggest farmers market in Queensland! And let me tell you, its HUGE! It is absolutely overwhelming. Take a typical farmers market (like the one Chattanooga or Nashville, for instance) and times it by 3… insane! So much to choose from! I am now convinced that being a raw vegan in Cairns is extremely easy. I had to walk around the whole thing at least 3 times to even know what I should buy! I ended up getting a young green coconut, a few paw paws, a couple avocados, and a couple huge black sapotes. I also got fresh squeezed sugar cane juice and it was incredible!

rows and rows and rows of this stuff!
Overall I have had the best time of my life! But honestly I can’t wait to be in Brisbane, where I am living and attending school for the next year.

I’d also like to note that although I’m not homesick in any way shape or form. I will say that every time I experience something absolutely awesome (like snorkeling at the great barrier reef) I can’t help to wish that Tim was there right beside me, sharing the amazing experience with me. I love you, Tim! And I really miss you and I want to share all these amazing experiences with you! =)

6 comments:

Kim said...

I feel like I just took a mini-vacation with you as the tour guide. Cairns is now on my travel wish list. :) I would say "have a great time" ~ but I think you have that covered! ;-) Keep enjoying...and thanks for sharing the beautiful pics and story of your travels.

Anonymous said...

Nice record keeping Ash. Your trip may be as close as I get to Australia.
Thanks.
Rog

coletteloc said...

yay girl!! good luck on your new adventure!! the pics are great!! xxx

Odub said...

Looks amazing Ash! That Australian spider looks badass. Have the best time ever!

thinck said...

that note meant a lot! I lOVE YOU!

Kimberly Rowe said...

Looks amazing Ash! That Australian spider looks badass. Have the best time ever!