Day 362 | Some Cairns backpacker: the years go by

8 June 2012


Day 365 since I departed Perth, guess that means I’ve been on the road a year.

When you are bike touring that seems an inordinate long time I had that initial night out in view of the passing trucks near Bullsbrook, just north of Perth, on the Great Northern Highway.

And here I am sitting down by the Esplanade on the other side of the continent, kicking back and checking out the latest crop of tourists milling around out on their promenade, different faces but similar ill matching holiday wear and oversized girth:

  • plenty of straw hats
  • sweet smelling sunscreen
  • unnaturally bleached hair
  • T shirts with stupid captions, “Australia’s largest source of natural gas”, “Sponsored by Centrelink”, “I don’t need Google, my wife knows everything”, and the straightforward, “I’m busy. You’re an idiot. Have a nice day”
  • a sight I had never seen previously, but no doubt will often see now, someone holding up an iPad to take a photo of the vista
  • backpacks carried on one shoulder, casual style
  • designer sunglasses, if that ain’t in fact a tautology
  • Asian faces with inappropriate footwear
  • chubby ankles with encircling tattoos and/or bracelets
  • mobile phones cocked
  • digital cameras unsure of what direction to point, but certain there’s life here to be captured, somewhere
  • oversized icecreams with waffle cones for people unneeding of the calorific intake
  • takeaway coffees in environmentally responsible, lidded, cups
  • plenty of thongs on display, both of the feet and female arse variety
  • some under-dressed, scantily clad, gals who really should offer the world less exposure
  • skateboards with riders old enough to know better
  • unsmiling faces, for the most part, (what on earth is the reason for that, here in Paradise?)
  • a whole lot of texting from people milling about in random groups
  • shaven heads
  • far too many cigarettes for people’s good, mostly posed near youthful faces
  • gals in congregations of three or more straight from the backpackers, no doubt thinking like fish that grouping is the way to counter the marauding sharks
  • old style, ie, paper, maps blowing around in anxious people’s hands
  • large, if not massive, thighs
  • an occasional beard from a caravan towing 4WDer, greatly outnumbered by the younger set here
  • caps worn in the correct direction, ie, peak facing forward
  • not so many jeans, except I can announce that the cut-off jeans for young women have returned to the fashion scene, about bloody time
  • it’s 25°C today, water temperature claimed at 26°, if that’s possible
  • tropical foliage everywhere, including the incredibly springy, robust, broad-leafed grass
  • inappropriate, or no, helmets on bike riders out on the parallel bike path, chin strap often not done up
  • a few foot scooters zipping along on the separate bike path
  • baggy, ridiculous, swim shorts
  • a soccer ball, speeding between dexterous European feet
  • over there a frisbee in flight
  • attractive people vastly outnumbered by those who hide their beauty on the inside
  • running shoes that have never been used for that purpose
  • of course, tattoos
  • braids, with the addition of a few extraneous materials of the colourful type
  • funny walks of the unintentional type
  • cleavage, both front, generally female, and rear, not
  • those massive native fig trees with curtains of hanging roots
  • suntans of the painfully acquired variety
  • big arses, indeed, huge arses
  • cans of Coke drunk while on the move
  • gals and boys walking together but not necessarily holding hands
  • long limbed, unselfconscious, Scandinavian gals growling in their native tongue
  • muscle bound blokes well outnumbered by those not, in a major way
  • a few prams with sleepy children

Indeed the full gamut of humanity, the whole tropical paradise phenomena that makes it hard to understand why people bother to leave home in the first place.

Soak it up boy, you’ve just been catching up on the full quota of people that you avoided in the last 46 days since you left Alice Springs.

Those roads will be empty enough once again only too soon.