AB drove me to the airport. Neither of us can believe I'm already leaving; despite my time in Perth being full-on & packed with stuff, it feels like I only just got here. I'm so SO glad I came; I can't thank you enough, Ron & Amanda, for everything. I really love you guys & I'm really going to miss you. I can't wait to stand up there as a bridesmaid & cheers to you getting hitched! :)
Apparently, here, you can go all the way to the gate at the airport even if you're not a ticketed passenger. So AB came in with me & we sat & had a coffee together & talked for about an hour. It was really nice. When we hugged goodbye, aint gonna lie, I teared up. But she's coming to LA in January, so I'll see her in a month! No need to be sad.
Two mostly empty flights traversing the country. I had a row to myself both times, and I got two full meals as well. I nodded off for a little bit, but not for long. Wrote a lot in my journal to pin down all the stuff that's been rattling around in my brain. Stared out the window at the red earth, white clouds, blue sky. As we flew through the red center, I felt a strong affinity for it. It gets to you, this land - the richness of its colors, the starkness of its landscape & how much it changes as you cross the country. I don't feel like I have enough time here.
Landing in Cairns & Oh. My. God. This place is BEAUTIFUL. Its what I pictured Fiji would look like (which I realize makes sense given geography), all rolling green hills & distant shrouded mountains bordering patchwork farmland, golden rays of sun breaking through cotton clouds to illuminate points of spectacularly blue ocean. And I expected it to just be an beachfront city!
Driving to the hostel, the suburbs remind me of Charleston - palm trees & tin roofs, hurricane shutters on houses built up on stilts. Oh be still my heart.
I'm meeting my friend T here (she arrived yesterday); I haven't seen her in years so I'm not sure what to expect...
The moment I walked into the hostel, T was entering the lobby - we saw each other at the same moment, huge smiles, huge hug. We fell into step immediately.
After dropping my bags in the room & a quick catch-up, we headed out so I could get a feel for the city & some dinner. Wandered down to the water - mud flats (again, like Charleston!) - passing by big hotels, little shops, crazy multi-trunk trees, and lazy music from buskers on the corners.
We stopped into some travel centers for brochures on the rainforest, reef & islands, and then sat down for dinner with the glossy pages spread out before us in all their infinite possibility. Overwhelming. It took us a couple hours, but we finally came up with 3 tentative plans of action, including a definite top choice. We also decided we need professional help to book all of it so that's the first step, first thing in the morning.
I think we're going to have a great time together.
Came back to the hostel - its really nice, clean and adorable - talked some more & then went to bed under the cool of the (thank God) AC & the untuned-ukelele sounding ceiling fan.
Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ safe flights
~ a nice double room
~ a new adventure