Hi Maureen..

Coolangatta, Australia


It was time for me to spread my wings and fly away to Cairns. As I said my goodbyes to Rikki, I was instantly struck with the feeling of.. I don’t know how to describe it, but maybe I was feeling a bit displaced..? I was truly on my own, but I knew it would be an experience.

I found several ways to amuse myself whilst making the trip from Perth to Cairns. Taking a peek at the name of the woman in front of me and saying, “Oh, hi Maureen! How are you??” and then going to sit in my seat and watch her try to figure out how the hell I knew her. Yes, I am aware I am evil.

I downloaded a film on iTunes called Les Invisibles, which is a French documentary about the LGBT, which documents the trials and tribulations the elderly French people went through back in the day when homosexuality was frowned upon, and seen as a psychiatric disorder. They were forced to defend their dignity and fight for acceptance. I was heartened by the courage, articulacy and openness of those people. I don’t think the lady next to me appreciated seeing a clip of several naked gay men walking around the beach with their dongles hanging out. Well, it’s my iPad, don’t look at it, you nosey cow. I highly recommend it – it’s touching, and amusing. I especially loved the kind of relationship Bernard and Jacques have – I would like to have that kind of relationship with my wife when I’m at their age. Watch it.

I landed in Cairns, and they weren’t lying when they said it was a tropical place. I was instantly hit by the humidity. I picked up my bag was looking forward to meeting everyone at the hostel. The bus arrived to take me and another girl to the hostel. As soon as we got on the bus, I decided to go in for the kill – I knew I had to say something or we would ride in awkward silence. One thing you should know about me is that I hate awkward silences. I will always try to fill it – I will talk non-stop about ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING. Or I’ll just say, “Well.. this is awkward.” Too honest for my own good. So, if you find yourself sitting next to me in complete silence, be flattered. It means I’m comfortable enough to sit in silence with you.

So.. I said, “Hi! I’m Abigail! Where are you from?” and as just when she was about to reply, my hearing aid, very much like Ellie, decided to have a heart attack and broke down. ***** sake! So, there I was, in a minibus in the dark, with a girl who could talk for Sweden, and I had NO idea what she was saying. Cue a lot of deaf nodding. For those who don’t know what that means, sometimes when deaf people don’t understand what is being said, will just nod to avoid having to ask the person to repeat what they said. This works successfully most of the time. SOMETIMES, this can be awkward.

“So, my grandfather died, I was really upset about it.”

*chuckles* “Oh yes, I know what you mean. Yes.. very funny.” *carries on nodding, oblivious to the fact that they’re absolutely raging with you*

Turns out that the Swede wasn’t even staying at my hostel. FFS.

I arrived at the hostel and I loved it. It had a tropical feel to it, palm trees, swimming pool, bar, pool table, etc. I went up to my bedroom and tried to resolve the hearing aid situation. It would be okay, I had brought four hearing aids. Turns out.. three of them didn’t work. You cannot imagine the anger I felt at that moment. Imagine the Incredible Hulk having period pains. Something like that.

Nevertheless, I could hear Chumbawamba chanting, #I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down# (why do I constantly feel the need to use song lyrics as references to my ever-changing moods?) floating around in my head and resolved to not let it get me down, and went downstairs.

Instantly, I was dragged into a game of beer pong by a 6ft 4 Mancunian called James. We won.. I think. Drinks and shots followed after that.. Agwa – amazing. I then got chatting to Daniel, a guy from Crawley, which is near Brighton. Typical, I go half way across the world and end up talking to people who live 45 minutes away from me..?

11pm, and everyone in the hostel bar announced that they were going out into town. What?? Why?? I had just landed an hour ago and had to get up at 6.30am for a rainforest tour. NO WAY JOSE. I decided to stay in, even after some pretty impressive pleading from James, Daniel and the hot red haired Canadian girl in my bedroom. I said my goodbyes to them, and felt slightly guilty for being a party pooper. I went into my bedroom and saw a blonde girl getting changed. “Excuse me, are you going out with the others into town?” I asked her.

She pointed to her ears and signed, “Sorry, I don’t understand. I’m deaf.”

What are the chances of that happening?? I immediately shouted “You sick ****er!!” at her. Please don’t ask me why I said that. I seem to say that quite a lot recently, and I need to stop doing that. So, it was decided. We would go out after all. I have no idea why we decided to go out. We were obviously quite ready for bed, but somehow, after realising that we were both deaf – we would go out and get drunk. I mean.. what is even the rationale behind that? It’s not like an one legged person would walk into a room to discover another one legged person chilling out, and they would decide to go out and get legless.. I’m sorry, please excuse that tastefully offensive pun.

Her name was Sofie from Denmark. She went to Gallaudet University in America, and was now studying in Melbourne – she was in Cairns for Spring Break. Sofie, Daniel and I, along with 20 people from the hostel went out and got completely rip-roaring drunk. Happy hour was at a strange hour and was possibly my downfall. It was a good night.

I woke up the next morning in a state of panic. “What time is it? What time? 6.50. ****. Coach leaves in 10 minutes. Shoes. Jumper. Bag. Run. Now!” I ran outside and got into the coach that would take us on our rainforest tour. It wasn’t until I talked to the Irish girl next to me, that I realised I was very much still drunk.

****.

The first stop was the wildlife zoo. Now, I love the zoo. But.. the zoo and a drunk Abigail? Bad idea. I roared my head off when I saw this bird that looked like it had a block of wood glued to its head. I have no idea what it was, but I swear to you, it wasn’t a hallucination. I saw koala bears, and they are ******* cute.

I fed and stroked the kangaroos, and was transfixed by their feet. They have MASSIVE feet. So, I was just staring at a particular kangaroo’s foot for about a good minute or so, (I am easily amused when I am drunk) when I decided to bend down to get a closer look.

RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPP!!!!!

My trousers had ripped. I had a huge ******* hole, thus revealing my **** to the whole world and his dog. Thank God I’m not the commando type. ******* typical. As Rikki so eloquently put it when I sent him a text later that evening, ‘hahaha wtf dude only you.’ Yes, indeed. Instead of trying to hide and cover it up, what do I do? I decided to tell the girls in my group what had just happened, much to their delight. Again, too honest for my own good. Shut the **** up, Abigail. Luckily, I had a jumper to cover my modesty.

We saw the crocodiles, and instantly, I wanted to cuddle them. It was at that point that I realise I was definitely still VERY much drunk. I mean, who the hell wants to cuddle crocodiles? I thought to myself, ‘Go drunk, you’re home.’ before realising I actually meant, ‘Go home, you’re drunk.’ and then realising that I couldn’t go home cuz home was 9,457 miles away and even if I tried to go home, I would probably end up in Timbuktu.

30 minutes later, and my hangover kicked in. Big time. I wanted to be enveloped in a huge hug (not by the crocodiles, obviously) and have ‘soft kitty’ sung to me. But instead, I had to spend all day listening to a guy talk about ******* trees. I thought we would be going on a rambling tour, climbing rocks and waterfalls and all that **** – it turned out to be a very civilise
d stroll through a constructed rainforest.

“Fjksdfn aksdvsdk vin skdjfns… poisonous.. Fdkjh jsdjc is dus ddmdm dkdfg.. natural.. Klpo thwen tnfj dnsm.”

That was what I pretty much heard all day. It wasn’t all bad though, I met some pretty cool girls from England, went for a stroll down the beach and saw some amazing sights, especially the Aboriginal rainforest, and went on a crocodile cruise.

I got back to the hostel to find Daniel, the red haired Canadian, the bar woman and the dreadlocked girl all STILL suffering at 6pm – I was pleased to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering. They all admired my dogged determination to go on the tour and ****** themselves laughing when I showed them the hole in my trousers. Why did I have to do that? It’s like… I have no shame.

Things I’ve learned this weekend.

* Never ******* drink the night before a tour.
* Wear sturdy trousers.
* Always throw yourself into unfamiliar situations, matter how shy or uncomfortable it may make you feel – it only lasts a few minutes. You never know who you may meet.

Now, I’m on my way to the Gold Coast to meet Andrew, an Aussie, who has kindly offered me a place to stay at his house in Sydney. We’ll be going on a little road trip to Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads first. Lets just hope it isn’t Wolf Creek all over again.

UPDATE: Sofie read the blog and emailed me to let me know that I had already ripped the trousers the night before. So, basically.. I bared my **** to the world and his dog, the hostel people, the people in the nightclub, the taxi driver and the tour bus people.

Things I’ve learned in the last 5 minutes.

* Always check what you’re wearing before you go out, no matter how drunk you may still be or how much time you have.
* I can’t ever go back to the Calypso Inn backpacker hostel.

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