7/24/01 - 8:15pm I'll start our by commenting on yesterday's events. On the flight to Sydney, I ended up getting something like 6 hours of sleep. After that and a change of clothes, I felt much refreshed. There were three movies. They consisted of some weird knight movie and "The Tailor of Panama" with Pierce Bosnan. then it finished up with "Spy Kids." I talked quite extensively with one of the leaders of the New York delegation and enjoyed the passing of another book... That being Hemingway's "The Man and the Sea."
We arrived at Sydney very early in the morning and enjoyed chatting wtih friends and browsing the airport shops during our 2 hour layover. We boarded another 747 but it was a 200, not a brand new 400 like on the way over. I ended up sleeping through everything from push back to the serving of breakfast. Then I watched the in-flight movie which happned to be the same cheesy knight movie that we saw on the way over.
I asked one of the flight attendants for a tour to the flight deck using the excuse of my CAP membership and my strides at the private pilot license. He obliged and I went up to the second level and got a tour of the flight deck of one of the largest planes in the commercial fleet. The airframe's age was apparent by the complete lack of television instruments. The displays resembled that of a Cessna 182 minus the GPS system. I intended on asking for the same tour of the return trip to LA.
We arrived in Cairns and went through immigration and customs without a hitch. We met our delegation manager, Janice, and sped off to Port Douglas to our hotel, the Rydges Reef Resort. We all felt like sleeping but we were strongly encouraged not to in order to convert to Oz time. After a nice shower and another change, I was ready to explore the resort with one of my roommates, Nick, while the other one, Derek, went out swimming.
There was a great dinner prepared. Another full night of sleep, almost 11 hours and I was ready to tackle the day. We were awoken by the loud phone for a wakeup call at 7 O'Clock. Brecki was served at 8:00 and we were on the bus to Sky Rail, the gondola tour of the rain forest. It was an old Poma six-passenger gondola and we ended up getting off at various stops to see the beautiful forest and magnificent waterfall.
At the other end of the gondola we met the town of Kondura where we found our coach and were wisked off to rain forest station for some Aboriginal culture. We started with a show of traditional dances and then we were shown to different stations such as boomerang and spear throwing and digerydoo playing. I bought one of the most beautiful digerydoos I've ever seen.
Then, I found myself in a wildlife park surrounded by kangis and alligators. I got some great shots of those and some beautiful pics of koala bears. I bought dad's koala... very real, and a road sign to Australia. We did an aquaduck tour of the rainforest at the station and then we were treated to a "mediocre" dinner and a night of bush dancing. I promise I'll explain more about that when I get home but right now it's 8:45 and I need sleep. James M. Connors