What do you mean “NO WI-FI”????

| September 3, 2009

Oh, where to begin.

First, let me say that my updates to the blog may be more challenging than I could have possibly imagined. The resort has no Wi-Fi. How a five star resort gets by without Wi-Fi is beyond me, but perhaps we’re just spoiled with that in America and the rest of the world is still using an abacus, I can’t be sure. But, when I went to the front desk and asked if there was an internet café in the area, or someplace that offered Wi-Fi, the young man behind the desk politely said “no”. Of course, I smiled – surely he was joking. But alas no, not only is there no Wi-Fi here at the hotel, according to the concierge (and I’m sorry, I find this impossible to believe) there is no Wi-Fi ANYWHERE IN PALM COVE! My first reaction was to scream “I CALL SHENANNIGANS” at the top of my lungs, but I figured that might both confuse and scare the locals. I’m pretty sure nowadays that even people living in mud huts in the Congo have Wi-Fi, but apparently not in Palm Cove.

Of course the hotel has internet- a wired connection located in the absolute most inconvenient space possible – on a shelf above the refrigerator. It’s not possible to be connected to the internet in this room AND type something on your computer simultaneously – it’s just plain bizarre.

I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated and hope that as the trip progresses I uncover someplace, somewhere that I can get a decent Wi-Fi connection.

It goes without saying that we’ve arrived safely. Our flight, while long, was without a doubt the most enjoyable flight I’ve ever had and for me to say that after going 14 hours without a cigarette is really saying something. It didn’t hurt that our premium economy seats on this flight were in business class, so we had those nice ‘lay flat’ sleeper seats. Pure heaven. Here’s a tip for those of you considering a flight into Australia from the U.S. Apparently, the Qantas run from L.A. to Brisbane doesn’t have a premium economy class yet (they’re still in the process of re-fitting their planes). But, this particular route has become very competitive with other carriers (namely Virgin) turning up the heat on Qantas. Rather than not offer premium economy on this route and cede that business to their competition, for the time being they’re putting those who buy premium economy in business class seats. Keep in mind that you still get ‘premium economy service’, but who cares – it’s the seat that counts. How long this will go on I’m not sure, but it’s something to keep in mind. The price difference between premium economy and business class is about $5000 p/person round trip.

Customs and Immigration in Brisbane was a breeze – took all of about 30 minutes to get our bags and clear customs. Before we got off the plane, we were given a form to fill out for customs, and one of the questions asked if you were bringing more than 250 cigarettes into the country. In fact, I had three cartons (thank god because the price of cigarettes here is obscene). I debated lying on the form, but decided honesty was always the best policy – so I checked “yes” to the question. Upon going through customs, the agent informed me that normally a very heavy tax would be levied in a case like this, but because I was honest I got off with a warning. Lesson: Check customs restrictions before you leave (I didn’t) and don’t lie on your customs forms.

From Brisbane we took a domestic flight to Cairns – about 2 hours and while we were in coach and the plane was a standard 737, it was a pleasant flight and the flight crew was outstanding. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Qantas based on the first leg of our trip.

After arriving in Cairns, we got a taxi to Palm Cove where our hotel, the Sea Temple Resort and Spa, is located. Make no mistake – this is a GORGEOUS hotel. The service is impeccable and the location is truly inspired. The resort has a private beach that offers one of the most beautiful beach vistas I’ve ever seen. In fact, it reminds me a great deal of St. John in the Caribbean – peaceful beaches with mountain ranges out in the distance. Like I said, just plain gorgeous.

But, there are some unusual aspects to the resort (I’m using the word ‘unusual’ right now, because these differences may very well be cultural. Having never travelled overseas before, I’m not sure, so I’m being careful not to pre-judge).

The first thing I noticed was in our room. The rooms here are very nice – they are decorated with a very contemporary feel (in fact, in some ways the décor reminds me of Disney’s Contemporary) – with one very important exception. Notice the picture below. See that big bay window? That’s just on the other side of THE SHOWER. While the glass is frosted, it’s lightly frosted meaning that when you take a shower you are on display for anyone else in the room.

Have you ever been to Sea World? You know that underwater viewing area they have at Shamu stadium? This is what I imagine I look like taking a shower on the other side of the lightly frosted glass. “Look Mommy, Shamu is lathering himself up in his naughty places.” It’s just wrong – on every level, it’s just wrong. Bathrooms should not be part of public spectacle. Bathrooms should not have big bay windows – dining rooms should have big bay windows – not bathrooms. I’m making Walter leave the room when I take a shower – it’s just too much for me to handle.

Then there is the food. It’s weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. Those that have followed my exploits on the show know that I’m no neophyte when it comes to gourmet food. While I’m no expert, I like to think my palate is a bit more refined than most. But a quick look at the pool side lunch menu looks like a main course at Citrico’s. Items like “steamed black lip mussels, tomato sofrito and chorizo” ($18), duck spring rolls with Asian salad and nam jim ($14) and of course, grilled seafood cake with green papaya salad and lime ($18). Grilled seafood cake? Now granted, I hate seafood, but I can’t imagine anyone who likes it wanting it in cake form. I feel like asking “what’s wrong with a tuna fish sandwich”? It’s a poolside lunch menu for God’s sakes. I did ask if the chef could make me a cheeseburger – you would have thought I asked them to kill a child at noon in the lobby. However, being the good fat ugly American that I am, I’ve scoped out the nearest McDonalds and plan on making a pilgrimage to that Mecca of food very soon. Let’s hope they don’t have squid on their Big Mac’s.

Finally, there’s this tid-bit from the “Oh Jesus what the hell is that” file. While out in front enjoying a smoke, I saw this “welcome to Jurassic Park” looking insect. Heaven help me. Until next time…..

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Category: Adventures by Disney

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  • cocowum

    Thanks for the update Pete! The resort is spectacular and you are hilarious! I hoping you and Walter are having a blast!

  • disneyfairy

    Hi Pete!
    Enjoy having no wi-fi in that paradise! It looks beautiful! Hope you find something delicious to eat and have a wonderful trip.
    I would make my hubby leave with the shower like that as well.
    I have decided it is time for you to write a book, an autobiography maybe, you are just too good of a writer. You wrote that on top of a fridge while on vacation – amazing!
    (DIS – Disneysnel)

  • Cap.Steamboat Willie

    Hi Pete,

    I think that the insect is a WETA, but I could be mistaken. Hope you have success in keeping us updated on your exploits down under. Your posts have me cracking up. I keep picturing poor Walter exiled until your finished with your shower. Keep having fun.

  • Dave Parfitt

    Interesting, I’ve travelled to Nicaragua and Romania, and they have WiFi in both of those places. I would think those countries are a lot less developed than Australia. Maybe it’s a sign you need to unplug and relax.

  • Cyrano

    Think they may be copying the UK model. Most hotel chains do not offer free wi-fi here, although McDonald do !!!

  • KateT

    I am so loving your blog. Thanks Pete!! I’ll be waiting anxiously for your next post.

  • ladydanger

    While I’ve never been to Oz, I have taken several trips outside of the US and I’m pretty sure that bay window into the shower would be considered pretty weird just about anywhere. That would freak me out!

  • lsumom24

    I’ve seen those big black “grasshoppers” here in Louisiana this summer – usually dead in the yard.

    I googled them and the Orlando Sentinel had an article about these “lubbers”:

    Lubber grasshoppers can grow to more than two-and-one-half inches long. And as they grow bigger, their color changes to yellow with dark spots and blotches, and their appetite greatly increases. They no longer take little nibbles but can quickly consume major portions of leaves.

    So I guess they are more common and strange that they would be in several countries; I guess they are cousins!

  • michael_bluth

    pete -

    two words: verizon mi-fi

  • michael_bluth

    but probably don’t work down under. sorry

  • pennyb123

    The Colonial Club Resort in Cairns has free wi-fi. I stayed there in june of 2007. Not sure how far it is from you, or if you have moved on to another location on your trip. Best of luck!

  • mel

    When looking for Wi-Fi in Australia, check McDonald’s – they’re rolling it out all over the place.

    As for the shower, be grateful that there is frosted glass there – about 10years ago it was all the rage to have it totally open, so you could soak in the bath and converse with those outside the bathroom. This is actually a common complaint about some Marriott resorts in USA, so it’s not an unusual cutural issue :)

    As for the giant grasshopper, that’s just a big grasshopper, they make them big in the tropics! Wait till you see the size of the spiders.

  • andona

    Last time I was in Palm Cove you could get Internet access in the tours shop in the littel shopping center. They had a couple of PC’s and you paid by the half hour. That was a few years ago, though.

    I’ve been in a couple of resorts here in Aus with the window/bathroom. Luckily it’s not very common :-)

  • beansf

    My husband and I took this trip with ABD, October 2008. I am enjoying reading your perspective of the trip. We had a terrific time!


    We stayed at a Hilton in Toronto about 8 years ago and it had that same picture window in the bathroom but only it was clear. It also opened up!

  • fearghas

    Always interesting to see how other people feel about our wonderful country. The insect is a grasshopper, basically the same as a locust. These ones are very common, they love hibiscus and chooks love them. (google chooks if you aren’t sure what they are)