I’ve settled in a place called Port Douglas which is an hour drive north of Cairns. Cairns is pronounced “cans” – lets say that all together now. CANS! In case you are wondering, Port Douglas is pronounced “Port Douglas.” 😭
I flew into Cairns and came straight to Port for no good reason. At the time, I thought I had messed up and should have at least seen Cairns for a day or two before I came up here. I booked the flight weeks in advance with the intention of coming to Port Douglas and staying at United Backpackers. However, I waited until the very last minute to book my accommodation. So after I finally booked the hostel in Port Douglas I realized that I should have stopped in Cairns – maybe I would like it there. But I had never considered that and it was too late now. I thought I really messed that up. But it turns out my intention had been correct. I arrived to Port Douglas right when the high season started. A little late in terms of getting set up with a job quickly but still, quite a good time and much better than a week, or even days, later. Right away I knew I wanted to stay for awhile so I asked the hostel if I could work for accommodation and, fortunately, they said yes! Another guy (now my friend) asked right after me and he was turned away. They told him that I had just asked and pointed to me as I walked away. Too late! If I had stopped in Cairns I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work for accommodation. It’s meant to be, I guess. I’m excited to stop spending my savings. I’m also excited to learn how hostels operate. Have you ever seen Hotel Impossible on TV? Love that show! I couldn’t stop thinking about Anthony yesterday when I did my housekeeping shift.
In case you’re wondering, working for accommodation is very common and it’s exactly what it sounds like: I work (technically I believe it’s called volunteering) for the hostel and in exchange to don’t have to pay to live here. I’m working the bar and doing housekeeping for 16 hours per week. It’s a good deal. This is the newest and nicest hostel in town. There’s a pool, a bar with cheap but good drinks, nightly events, and it’s a few blocks to the beach and one block to the main street. And I still have plenty of time to enjoy the weather and go to the beach!
Most importantly, the people who work and stay here are good quality humans from all the usual places. They’re mostly English, German, French, Sweedish, and Canadian. Other countries represented are Italy, Denmark, Norway, Wales, Scotland, Uruguay, and Chile. Such great people. I really do believe most people in this world are good-hearted, and if you are skeptical about that, traveling is a great way to find out how many kind, wonderful people are out there. Oh, and also how many versions of the English language are out there to be heard! We all have very different accents. Like, there’s a Danish guy who sounds Scottish. Very interesting. Sometimes I have no idea what people say and I just shake my head or say “uh huh” – it gets really good if we are out at a loud bar.
There are also three or four other Americans here – that’s a lot! “Heaps” as they say in Oz. I had probably only met a total of 5 American backpackers in my previous month of traveling. And it was quite dissappointing that everytime I heard an accent that sounded like home, the person turned out to be Canadian. Someone told me that only 6% or Americans have passports. Do you think that’s true? Seems a bit low to me, but believable at the same time.
Anyway, we have a guy from Cali, a Texan guy, a guy from either Chicago or Detroit (no one seems to know for sure), and a girl who lived all over the states but last lived in Richmond. We celebrated the 4th of July together, we actually did it on the 5th but we did it right! We went and found really American food at Coles (the local grocery store). I wasn’t too confident we would find the right foods but we found potato salad, chips, baked beans, Heinz Ketchup(!), French’s yellow mustard, and most importantly “American Hot Dogs”- that’s what they were actually named! So we cooked them up and gave some away to our amigos. It was a feast. I hope you all had a happy Fourth as well. Oh, and the hostel also put on a little event in honor of Independence Day. They made free sausages and also gave away Buffalo wings. Not exactly what we think of for the 4th of July but it was really cool for them to do that.
I was expecting more foreign people to know about our Independence Day. Like, it was obvious to me… 😁 Turns out it’s not something people of the world just happen to know about. Why would they know? It seems completely American for me to expect someone from another country to know about our American Independence Day, ya know? I guess this is where those American stereotypes come from. I mean, I didn’t know about Canada Day – which is July 1st, by the way – and I had no idea what “poutine” was but now I do! Poutine is so delicious, you must try it. Consult Google or your favorite Canadian. Do you know when Australia Day is celebrated and what they are celebrating? I love learning these little things about other countries.
Port Douglas is a beautiful place. Very small and very beautiful, kind of posh, and a great place to vacation. From here you can take trips to see the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, and boats trips to see crocodiles. I heard it was easy to get a job here, too. However, I am still looking (it’s only been since last Wednesday). Hopefully I get one soon so I can save some money and fund a trip to Bali. I want to visit a medicine man like she did in Eat, Pray, Love. I’m such a dork. ☺️ I’ll leave you with that, so long for now!
The front of United Backpackers Port Douglas. It sits on a quiet tree-lined street just behind the main street.
My favorite hammock spot where I sat writing this blog today.
Thus far, I’ve been quite pleased with the road less travelled. Hostel at the pool complete with pool toys.
Sorry, new friends, didn’t I warn you that you might end up on my blog?? No, mom, we did not drink and drive! We were waiting for a taxi.
This is called Four Mile beach. These beautiful mountians are off in the distance to the south. You drive along the base of these mountains to get to Port Douglas and all the curves are almost vomit-inducing. It only takes an hour though so you’ll survive. Now, who’s comin to visit?!
Our 4th of July feast. See the “American Hot Dogs” by HANS? Lol.