Vacation ends…

There is something about the end of vacation.  I always feel that when I get on the plane to go back home, the timing is just perfect.  I couldn’t have stayed one more day or one more hour more.  Is it just knowing that vacation stops that moment and being prepared for it, or is it just time to go home.  More than likely it is not the latter.

We drove back to Cairns after landing on the other side of Dunk Island (which took about 10 minutes on the water taxi).  It was really an interesting drive.  The topography is dense, green and lush.  Sugar cane, bananas and lychees are grown on the coast line.  We stopped at a banana stand where you pick your own and honestly leave your money in the box.  It could have been because the last few days of food was so bad or maybe because the bananas had been picked that day but it was the sweetest and best tasting banana I have ever eaten.

Our hotel was right on the waterfront.  The town of Cairns is basically a tourist destination.  Restaurants, retail, hotels and a variety of places to take you on day trips outside the area.  We parked ourselves in the room for the afternoon and just relaxed. 

We had dinner at Oliver’s that night.  Oliver, who actually waited on us, changes the menu every twoOlivers
months.  Australian cuisine from Emu to Kangaroo.  The service was definitely lacking but the food was pretty interesting.  Most of us started with a fish carpaccio topped with passion fruit.  Josh had a lamb shank for dinner, the girls went with the braised trout with lotus root and Fred and I have the Bug.  Bug is like lobster which was served over paella and topped with a sangria based sauce. 

We woke up the next morning and had a late breakfast downstairs at the hotel.  The heat was high and we strolled through the town and checked out the mall.  The mall was filled with American stores that use different brand names in Australia.  There are two grocery stores next to each other there and a butcher in between.  Sort of interesting that the grocery stores weren’t anchors but next to Mall
each other.  Otherwise, it was basically a middle priced mall that was packed.

After the mall, we did the best thing there was to go in town, we head to the movies for a double feature.  We saw Atonement and Into the Wild.  Atonement is one of the few Ian  McEwan  books I could never get through although I have read most of his other books.  Didn’t love the movie or the story so I guess I am glad I never finished the book.  That book went under “my life is too short” category although I did try twice.  I really enjoyed Into the Wild.  I read the book and thought Sean Penn did a fantastic job.  Beautifully filmed, well acted and the story is so thought provoking.  Made for good conversation over dinner.

After the films, we went directly to the Red Ochre Grill for dinner which was good.  Service was wonderful.  I had the kangaroo which was served in a Thai salad.  It was really good.  Sort of like steak.  Josh went with the pork belly and scallops and the rest of the group had the shrimp with an incredibly sweet and tasty mango salsa.  For dinner, most of us went with a local fish that was a fillet pan fried with crispy skin over a spicy tomato cilantro salad and soba noodles.  Josh went with the chicken which was loaded with spices and interesting.  The first time I had seen chicken on a menu here.

We walked home and packed.  Had to leave at 530 am from the hotel and being our journey.  It is a long way home. 

Great trip.  Will definitely make my way down under again.  Interested in going to New Zealand too.  Loved the coffee, the people and their attitudes, everyone is so helpful and kind.  My favorite restaurants were Bills in Sydney and Fish Face.  Either of them would be a huge hit in NYC. 

Next year??