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Showing posts from May, 2016

Reflections on Cairns

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May 21-24, 2016
Cairns will always be considered a casualty of bad timing.  We landed and it immediately started raining.  As we took off towards Ayers Rock three days later, the rain stopped and the skies cleared.  

It was a bit of a crappy situation.
But what could we do??  We traveled thousands of miles to get to this place.  We couldn't just wallow in the room, feeling sorry for ourselves.  
So we didn't.
The first two days were set with the tours.  The third (and final) day was the one where we were finally able to explore on our own.
Our first stop was breakfast at Perrotta's at the Gallery.  Much to everyone's disappointment, we didn't have breakfast as a part of our room cost.  And breakfast at our hotel was seriously expensive (side note, everything is seriously expensive when dealing with four people).  I had scoped out this place before leaving home and when I asked the concierge for breakfast recommendations, their first mention was this place.  Perfect.

We sa…

Snorkeling in The Great Barrier Reef

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Monday, May 23rd
When we were planning the trip to Australia, the family sat down and made lists of what they wanted to see.  Cairns was on the list for one reason only.  It was the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.  And if you're doing this big of a trip, you might as well do this stop.  Right??
Yes for half the crew on this trip.  Meh for the other half.
Neither Mom nor Elias swim.  They were basically along for the ride.  Dad and I were jazzed about an item being crossed off the bucket list.  So we both pushed for this stop.  Now of course we didn't expect tropical rain to happen while we were here.  But I've already gone on about that.
We knew we were going on a tour that involved snorkeling or not, depending on your interest.  What we didn't know was specifically how this was going to happen.
The bus for Quicksilver Cruises picked us up at 8a.  The bus was taking us from Cairns and dropping us in Port Douglas, about an hour away.  Easy, right??  Well...in theory, it w…

Riding the Rails to Kuranda

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Sunday, May 22nd
There's going to be an overarching theme for Cairns.  The weather has been super crappy.  Like really, really crappy.  The sky opened up as we landed and wasn't going to let up until we took off to the next location.
So there's that.
I mean, I regret nothing.  There wasn't anything we'd be able to do about this unfortunate turn of events.  The rain is unseasonable.  And because I'm writing this a few days after we went on this excursion, I can say, the rain is so unique for this time of the year that this day had the most rain in Cairns since the 1920's. Yay, timing!!
The other overarching theme about this trip versus many of the others is that there are guided tours or excursions.  This is a thing for several reasons.  
#1 - I'm traveling with the family. #2 - There are more "off-site" things planned.  I don't do well with busses and I will not drive in Australia.  Spain damn near did me in and not only was I barely driving, bu…

Crashing Business Class - My First Qantas Journey

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Thursday, May 19
We left our flight from Chicago feeling defeated and broken.  We were mostly separated on the plane, with two of the four of us stuck in middle seats for the four hour trip.  The journey had barely started and we were tired.  But fate had a way of making sure we were feeling ok about this whole long journey.  A Business Class Upgrade.

Our flight landed at LAX in Teminal 4.  Following the signs to the Tom Bradley International Terminal was easy.  An escalator here, moving walkways there.  I had read a blog post in yesterday's frenzied Internet research about Qantas Business Class to know the terminal was relatively new.  And walking to the terminal was quiet, but quick.
At this point, we didn't actually have tickets in our hands.  They couldn't be released when we checked in a few hours earlier.  So my main goal was to figure out where to check in.  As we walked through the terminal on Level 5, we began passing by the lounges.  The first being Qantas First Cla…