Saturday, 3 January 2015

the far north

Before last week, I knew little about Cairns apart from the fact that mum and dad ate tiger prawns when they visited there. On the beach. 

I did not eat tiger prawns on the beach, I think to mum's disappointment, but I did learn a bit more about Cairns.

The recipient of a very lovely and very generous gift, I was sent to Cairns for two nights. "To put me in the right frame of mind to start the new year."

Two days and two nights of a tropical holiday. Because Cairns is tropical. It is in the far north. Which sounds far. And exotic. The city itself, if it can be called a city as it is actually pretty small with around 150 000 people, is not the main attraction of the area. Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland.

Cairns owes its existence to the miners who arrived looking for gold in the Hodgkinson River goldfield and then became a major railhead and port for exporting sugar cane, gold and other metals and minerals.

Today sugar cane is still its second largest industry. Second to tourism.

It seems as though as soon as tourism becomes important and there is an economic drive to push it, people welcome tourists.The customer service in Cairns was exceptional. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and helpful. With the one exception of the taxi driver who picked me up from the airport. But then, he was listening to the summer cricket series on the radio and Australia were playing India. Of course, he would have been better listening to the Black Caps play Sri Lanka, because at least that would have had more historical and cultural significance. Black Caps Captain, Brendan McCullum, was playing in a way that earned him world-wide recognition as 'the best batsman in the world'. But not everyone has the same priorities.

And I digress.

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