October 3rd 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

Today we went up to Kuranda on the scenic railway.  It was a nice trip, but as usual with tourist trips, the most annoying thing was the tourists.  Once again I thanked my lucky stars that most of my time is spent away from them.  One particular Herbert (+ a backpacker at that – it almost made one ashamed) kept jumping up + shrieking as we passed a waterfall or tunnel or bridge.  He even tried to tell me what photos to take – he nearly got a punch in the bracket.  When we pulled into the station, the vast majority of the passengers were whisked off into coaches to go on extra tours, so we were left with the town more or less to ourselves.

We strolled thro’ a walk called The Jungle Walk, tho’ it wasn’t very entertaining.  The most interesting aspect was the dog who accompanied us – couldn’t work out whether he worked for the Tourist Board or for himself.  We ended up back on the railway track, so only had to walk along there for a few hundred yards to complete the cycle, + bring ourselves back to the station.  So we strolled once more into town, + when they started serving lunches at one of the pubs we had that – it seemed too good an offer to miss – peas, potatoes + pie for $1.70.  We should have known better of course – one spoon of peas, one scoop of synthetic mash, + a commercial pie with a dollop of tomato sauce was no sort of bargain.

There was very little else to see kin the town, apart from groups of aborigines sitting in the shade, so we decided to head back.  We’d only bought single tickets, with the intention of hitching back, + tho’ I’d been doubtful about this policy, regarding it as another example of Jonas tight-fistedness, but in fact it worked out very well indeed, as the first car that passed pulled up.  A nice guy – an ex-sailor  who had taken his pension money + kitted himself out very nicely, with a Toyota Land Cruiser +, as he was to show us, a brand new $30,000 home unit.  He gave us some hope that we might be able to find a cargo boat to Thursday Island, off the top of Cape York, + from there, so we understood, there would be no trouble finding a boat to New Guinea.

After showing us his unit, he dropped us off at the dock, + showed us the office to try.  From there tho’,  our luck dropped, since we were treated like the ball in a pinball machine, being bounced from one place to another, from the office to a fishing company, from there to a private contractor, from him to another phone no.  Still, it wasn’t entirely hopeless – at least one can get to meet people, + we reckoned it would be worthwhile giving it another whirl, this time perhaps being not quite so specific – not just Thursday Island, but anywhere on the way.

For the rest of the afternoon, we strolled around town performing various chores – if we could get everything done today, we would be able to head up to Cape Tribulation tomorrow.  A mixed day – had our latest film developed, + it was OK rather than stunning.  Most worrying aspect was that 6 shots hadn’t come out – is our camera about to play up again?  And the news from the Air Niugini office was very discouraging, since it seemed we would require a multi-stop ticket thro’ at least part of Indonesia even to enter the country, + that would cost us a minimum of $470.  Not encouraging, not encouraging at all.

A quiet evening, chatting with various other guests over our meal, + then giving the video movie a whirl, but it turned out to be the most appalling nonsense.  “The Chairman” starring Gregory Peck, so we gave it a miss + went up to our room to read + write.

Something of a mixed day, combining a bit of tourist stuff – the train – with some business; clearly we are still looking for an alternative way of leaving Australia, especially since flying seems both expensive and difficult.

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