Last day in Cairns
I'm leaving the conference early this morning so that I can catch a direct early afternoon flight home. Considering the only later direct flight to Melbourne lands just before midnight, I'm very happy to trade the last sessions of the conference for getting home and seeing my family earlier. Sook.
Despite the hard work I've had to do here (seriously, no, seriously) and the utter boredom inspired by some of the conference presentations, Cairns has been fun, though certainly no holiday.
Unlike some of those I met at the conference, I didn't arrange to stay an extra couple of nights and make a trip to the reef or nearby islands, fly my partner or whole family up to join me for the weekend, or take day-trips in the middle of the conference. Unfortunately, it didn't even occur to me to fit in a tour to the Great Barrier Reef – for which I'm kicking myself.
While I've only hung around in the CBD, I've enjoyed what I've seen and experienced: the heavy grey clouds that descend from the hills ringing Cairns and stifle us with the humidity without a single drop of rain, the blasting sun and humidity of 32 degrees C days, and how with the refreshing cool that sunset brings, the lorikeets roosting in trees in the centre of town deafen passers-by, while the flying foxes ghost silently above us on their way to their breakfast.
And I've very much enjoyed how culturally mixed Cairns is: with the strong presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, tourists and backpackers, and the particularly the Japanase holiday who choose to make Cairns home for few months and work in the hotels, shops, Japanese restaraunts etc, giving me a contemporary impression of what Thursday Island and Broome would have been like at the height of the Japanese involvement of the pearling industry.
On all this, hopefully much more once I get settled when I'm home again.