Hello Cairns, I didn't expect to see you here.
So, I'm in Cairns. Somewhere I really never thought I'd end up; not because of my old flaw of judging somewhere before I'd been there. Sure I'd only been to the shopping centre, but I'd heard one too many stories concerning goon/vomit/dorm sex for me to ever want to go there for an extended period of time.
That was until I returned from my time back home. Having re-experienced living in capital cities - with nightlife, culture and actual shopping - I found myself less sure that my plan to live in tiny Port Douglas was quite what I wanted.
Then came a weekend in Cairns. Granted, I mostly saw my hotel room and the outer reef, but talking to people who actually live here started to change my mind. I read the local backpacker mag and saw articles about gigs, theatre and pubs. Realised that being able to dive the GBR on my days off would be amazing. Slowly but surely Cairns began to win me over...
Back in Townsville I couldn't work out what to do. Trying to apply for jobs when you're 350km away is an absolute nightmare; I didn't have enough money to live in Cairns without a job. Equally the thought of living on mum's sofa didn't appeal (to either of us!) especially as she's in the process of moving back to the UK. There seemed little point in finding a job that I'd only be working in for 5 weeks before I had to move on and repeat the process elsewhere.
Essentially, I didn't have a bloody clue what to do.
After much faffing, worrying and refreshing of the gumtree job page I decided to pull myself together and make an actual plan; as luck would have it my plan worked almost instantly. Working for accommodation in Cairns seemed my best option, and the third hostel I called had a vacancy literally of that morning. The hostel also happens to be one of the best in Cairns. Hurrah.
So off I popped (via a weekend in Airlie beach because, well, why not) and arrived at 6am on a Monday morning. After dragging my (now extremely diminished) pile of stuff to the hostel and napping on the sofa I was greeted by two smiles almost as broad as the northern accents coming out of them. If you're going to be scrubbing floors then the right colleagues make all the difference - and thank the lord for Sarah and Jess. They left Cairns yesterday and I'll be in mourning for quite a while I expect. It also later turned out that I'd be working with a lovely lady called Helen who I already knew from my hostel in Melbourne - the world really is teeny tiny sometimes.
My first week passed by in a blur of cleaning, early mornings and job applications. On the Friday night I had a trial shift in a bar. Oh my, the only good thing about that is going to be it's anecdotal potential. Unless having a manager aged 18 and 3 weeks, an owner who shoved his finger in my face and a quick pour tray filled with bar flies and rotting mint leaves (all for a top wage of $12 an hour) seemed like the start of a beautiful working relationship.
Thankfully I was offered a job with Wicked Travel, something that thus far seems to be going pretty well. The only downside is that I had to leave my cleaning job, meaning I had to pay rent - an outgoing I hadn't budgeted on as i figured I'd clean in the mornings and bartend in the evenings. I've found a room in a lovely house share with my new friend Dave (coincidentally the person who handed in his notice to the hostel the same day I called asking for work) which means that right now I'm totally brassic. My bank balance is the lowest it's been in a long, long, long time. Two weeks in a hostel (a bloody horrid, dirty hostel), plus two weeks rent up front is a lot of dollar I hadn't counted on paying.
So, I hear you say, bet you hate Cairns then? Worrying about being homeless, starting a challenging new job and dirt poor? WRONG. I love it. I absolutely bloody love it.
I love that the sun shines almost every day. I love that the reef is only a boat ride away. I love that everyone I've met has been generous, helpful and kind. I love that even on a Monday you can go out and dance on the tables in a nightclub. I love the lagoon. I love that the art gallery is hosting a Goya exhibit. I love the Green Ant Cantina. I love that everything is within walking distance. I love that you can have a brilliant night out for $10. I love that the majority of the population is from every corner of the world.
I. Love. Cairns.