Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me Part 3

Where were we?

Oh yes, we were just about to get to the hotel.

So, after admiring all the scenery we finally made our way to the Mai Tai Resort, which just so you know was not a resort like what comes to mind when you hear resort, it was in fact a 4 bedroom B&B. They call all of their small hotels resorts here for some reason. I DON'T GET IT. But anyway, not to impugn the beautifulness of this little B&B though, set up on a hill overlooking the rainforest, it was stunning!

This was our view for breakfast every morning. Gorgeous!

Since it was my birthday and we still hadn't made any plans for that evening we sat down with one of the owners, Andre, and had a little chat about our options. Fortunately enough Andre knew absolutely everything there was to know about Port Douglas and recommended we go to Flames of the Forest since it was a special occasion and that it would be a one-of-a-kind experience. Basically Flames of the Forest is like dinner theatre. You end up out in the rainforest with a bunch of other tourists where they give you WAY TOO MUCH BOOZE =) and interesting dishes like kangaroo to gorge yourself on while you watch aboriginals play the digeridoo and prance around telling a bedtime story. And like any practical minded individual who just shelled out a ridiculous sum for this one-of-a-kind experience we felt it was our duty to consume as much alcohol as they would give us...to make sure we got our moneys worth. Like I said...practical.

UNFORTUNATELY it just so happened to also be THE COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR. Now, I'm not talking NYC cold, but let's just say I WAS NOT DRESSED APPROPRIATELY for anything below 70 degrees F. I was wearing a long flowy dress, a cardigan and sandals...I think the sandals were my downfall.

Oh, and we were dining outside! But we made the most of it and just kept drinking to try to warm ourselves up ;-) And after shamelessly declaring that it was my birthday to the whole group because someone sitting next to me, ahem, did not, I somehow ended up with a shawl from the waitress which did warm me up enough to survive the evening. All in all, it was a very interesting experience...but I wasn't blown away by the whole thing and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone going to Port Douglas. Keeping in mind that I was cold and slightly depressed that I had no friends around to celebrate my birthday with me and that Dom didn't immediately tell everyone at the table that it was my birthday so they could all bask in my birthday glow...I may not be the best judge on the whole evening. Not Dom's fault mind you, I was being a brat, but whatever, my birthday, my blog, I was not happy.

The aboriginals and their digeridoo.

Moving on to the next day which got off to a VERY late start because let's face it it's not a good birthday unless you drink too much and have to have a late start to the next day =) After finally dragging myself out of bed we headed north again towards Cape Tribulation, which is the farthest north along the coast that you can go in our car hire (car rental) because the rest is all unsealed (gravel) roads. See, I can talk like an Aussie. Anyway, we set off looking for coffee, but instead made it all the way to the ferry and found more signs...oh the signs! This one was for crocodiles.

That sign basically says, don't be stupid, the crocodile is bigger than you and faster than you and will eat you, don't go in the water.
Why they don't just build a bridge over this little river I've no idea, but because they haven't built a bridge you have to take a ferry, which apparently during high season you can be waiting for 3 hours to get across this tiny stretch of river because the ferry only holds about 20 cars...and because there are crocodiles. Lucky for us even though it's high season we waited all of 10 minutes before loading onto the ferry and continued our journey into the Daintree Rainforest.

Since Australia is all about doing things that we wouldn't normally have the opportunity to do...I decided I would try my hand at driving with the steering wheel on the right. (Don't try to tell me that because Dom's family all live in England I have ample opportunity to drive on the right, that's not the point of my story...just go with it) I was fantastic, just ask Dom...ok don't ask Dom he'll tell you I sucked. But whatever, I drove on the "right" side of the road, YAY FOR ME.

After successfully not driving us off the side of the road or into an oncoming car (which is my definition of fantastic driving for this post) we made it to Cape Tribulation. This part of Oz is particularly beautiful and amazing because the rainforest meets the sea, which I was told by MANY a Queensland Aussie this is the only place where such a thing exists. I disagree and think that the rainforest meets the sea in Hawaii as well...but if you google rainforest and sea you get a bunch of sites about Cape Tribulation and the Daintree forest so.....I don't know, maybe there's some definition of rainforest meeting the ocean that I'm missing.


Before taking a little stroll along the beach there were MORE signs.

So, the cassowary, have you ever heard of a cassowary? It's a giant 6 foot bird, much like an emu or ostrich except it has 3 razor sharp claws that it can RIP YOU TO SHREDS WITH. Seriously, they've attacked people before and they use their claws to rip your intestines out...STAY AWAY FROM THE CASSOWARY. He looks like this:

Then there's the box jellyfish sign, you know the one, the jellyfish that has a sting so powerful that people are ON MORPHINE FOR A WEEK BECAUSE THE PAIN IS SO INTENSE. And those are the lucky people that survive the sting because THE OTHERS DIE. Yeah, so there are those at this beach. I was however amused by the bottle of vinegar that they had with the sign, how awesome is that! No peeing on yourself or getting others to pee on you when you get stung by said jellyfish...so at least the beach has that going for it.

Then there's the crocodiles ON THE BEACH. Apparently the use the beach AND SOMETIMES SWIM IN THE OCEAN to move from one estuary to another. I don't know about you but I DID NOT KNOW THAT CROCS WERE EVER ON BEACHES. Perhaps this is because I've never been to Florida or any other place where you might find crocs in the wild...yes, that must be the reason for my ignorance.

All of these signs are at 1 beach, that's right 1 beach with ALL these ways for you to die...and that's not including the sharks! Which they don't have a sign for...I guess you're just supposed to KNOW there are sharks...anyway it makes for a very uneasy stroll along the beach and along the path, but ultimately I think it was worth it to see this:

One little creature I did enjoy on this beach, because it could not kill me, was the soldier crab. He apparently mows through sand voiding it of nutrients and deposits it back in these little balls. And for whatever reason they end up in these pretty star shape patterns.

They were ALL over the beach...it was pretty amazing.

That's it for today folks, next post will be The Great Barrier Reef!

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