“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” – so goes the opening of one of Charles Dickens classic novels – A Tale of Two Cities. Although, when Dickens wrote that famous phrase, I seriously doubt he meant ‘best of times’ (I’m on vacation in Australia) and ‘worst of times’ (I dropped my IPhone and the glass shattered).
Yes, at the beginning of the vacation of a lifetime, my Iphone – my beloved IPhone has a shattered crystal and is barely functional. It’s difficult to describe the sense of horror as the phone slipped through my fat fingers and went sailing face first onto the stone tile of our hotel room. Perhaps if it had been a cheeseburger or a piece of fried chicken its fate and safety would have been better protected, but alas – there it was, its shattered face staring back at me.
The decision I had was a difficult one. Do I just accept my fate and wait until I get home to replace it, or do I purchase one here? Given that the phone is my only lifeline to the life I left behind in America, and is such an integral part of my coverage of this trip, I felt the only responsible thing to do for you, my loyal fans, was go and purchase an unlocked IPhone here in Australia. Easier said than done.
The nearest place to purchase an IPhone is in the city of Cairns, about 30 minutes outside Palm Cove. Thanks to the above and beyond service that seems to permeate this resort, a lovely young woman named Cara took it upon herself to research exactly where I needed to go to buy a new phone. So, we called a taxi and headed off to Cairns in search of a new phone, which we found – for $1150. That’s not a typo – a 32GB 3GS Iphone was $1150 AU, about $970 US. I convinced myself that it was worth the extra $$ to be able to say I have an unlocked Australian IPhone – but in reality for $1150 this phone should cook me breakfast and pleasure me in my sleep.
However, getting the phone unlocked so it would work with my AT&T account has been a much greater challenge. I won’t bore you with the technical details, but the same black hole that has consumed Wi-Fi and Vodafone customer service is conspiring to keep me from enjoying the full value of my new IPhone (Australian readers will appreciate the Vodafone comment…to our US readers, Vodafone is one of the cellular carriers here in Australia and let’s just say their service leaves a great deal to be desired – they’d last about 10 minutes in the States). If I can find a Wi-Fi connection, I can ‘jailbreak’ my IPhone – oh, for want of Wi-Fi. Take my arms, take my legs but dear God don’t take my Wi-Fi.
Finally, a decent meal
While this resort is lovely, the food leaves quite a bit to be desired. They subscribe to the less is more approach to fine dining – steak sandwiches that have very little steak, or a ham and cheese panini with very little ham or cheese. At first, I thought it was just ‘Australian cooking’, but after some exploring we came across a lovely little Italian bistro right on the beach. Just a 5 minute walk from our resort we found Portobello’s Italian restaurant. A delightful seaside eatery serving traditional Italian food. PURE HEAVEN. We sat on the porch, watched the moonlight shimmer on the water and enjoyed one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. Relaxing, romantic, exotic. It was like something out of a movie. Our vacation was officially underway.
There are no fat people in Australia
While I’m on the subject of food, we’ve been here at the Sea Temple Resort for the last three days and two things have become very obvious – 1) there are, in fact, no fat people in Australia and 2) somewhere in this country they apparently have a factory that turns out runway models. Everyone at this resort is thin, fit and stunning –then there’s me with my 80 extra pounds, the cigarette hanging out of my mouth and running from restaurant to restaurant looking for a decent cheeseburger (for some inexplicable reason they put BEETS on their cheeseburgers – it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen) – but maybe the addition of vegetables to otherwise unhealthy food is why these people look so good.
Today is actually the start of our Adventures by Disney tour. We’ll meet tonight at 6pm for dinner. We’ve already met a few of our tour-mates, a couple from Tennessee and a couple from Texas. Yes, my first reaction to meeting my tour mates was to say “no habla englais”, but I’ll be good and friendly .☺ If I’m to be honest, now that I’ve had a chance to relax and acclimate myself to my new surroundings, I find the thought of ‘new people’ a little less vexing than I did before I left America. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Aussies – they are without a doubt the most lovely, welcoming and charming people you’d ever want to meet, but there is something comforting and reassuring in sharing adventures in a strange place with your fellow countrymen.
So, our real adventure begins in earnest tomorrow with a tour of Mossman Gorge and hike thru the rainforest. Should be stunning – pics and video to follow.
Category: Adventures by Disney