Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Yesterday was a travel day, so I didn't write a post. Plus I picked up a bug the day before yesterday that stayed with me through this morning, so I wasn't up to writing. Yesterday's experience at the Sydney airport is worth mentioning. We were dropped off by a taxi at the domestic Qantas terminal, our scheduled airline to Cairns. As in America, we approached a self-service check-in kiosk to get our printed boarding passes and tags for the bags we would be checking. But there the similarity to flying back home ends. We proceeded to a self-check baggage monitor, where a machine scanned each boarding pass, asked us to place our bag on a scale to be weighed, and then to lay the bag flat so the conveyor could read the baggage tag we had secured at the other kiosk. After that, the conveyor took the bag away. No one asked to see our identification at all.

Next we went to security, and again no one checked for ID or even to see if we had a boarding pass for a flight. No need to take off your coat, your shoes, no liquids needed to come out of carry on luggage, and there was no X-ray machine that we had to walk through. The carry on bags were screened, however. I didn't know whether to be impressed or appalled! Certainly a terrorist could walk right into this airport and onto a plane. 

As Admirals Club members with America Airlines, we are allowed to use the clubs of One World Alliance airlines, so we went to the Qantas Club to wait until it was time to board our flight. When I asked the lady at the counter about the whole ID thing, she said, "God forbid we should ask an Aussie to show an ID!" Obviously they haven't had the terrorist attacks like we have in the US to warrant the extreme measures travelers in the states have to go through.

The Qantas flight was great, with the seats in the "cattle call section" as we like to call it seeming more comfortable and a bit larger than American Airlines seats. Plus we got a meal, which doesn't happen on a three hour flight back home. Not that I ate it. In fact, the smell of food was not a good thing for me. Thank goodness for the hot tea on board! The next surprise came after we landed. While the front of the plane was being emptied, they opened a back door for those of us in the cheap seats. We had to walk down an outside flight of steps and across the tarmac to the terminal, but there was sunshine and palm trees, so who cares?

There was free wifi at the Cains airport, which was great as it enabled me to let our AirBNB host know we were on our way. By taxi it took us less than fifteen minutes to get to our scheduled meeting place. Our accommodations here are right on the Esplanade, the boardwalk that runs along the water, so there are many places to eat and shop within walking distance. A view of the water and the harbour from the balcony is a bonus. The unit is only a studio, but we have a decent sized refrigerator so we can keep beverages and food cold. 

Today we have been checking out the town, starting with breakfast next door overlooking the Esplanade. As we walked afterwards we came across the swimming pool pictured below. There is not a swimming beach in Cairns, so the city built the next best thing - it is free and open to the public, as is the town's free wifi! We found Woolworths, which is a major grocery store not to be confused with our old five and dime stores. We were able to pick up some items for lunch, and a light breakfast for the morning. It is sunny with a nice breeze, and in the low 80's. As more of that is predicted for tomorrow, we booked our excursion to the outer barrier reef leaving at 8:00 a.m. We can't wait!

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