Something old, something new – Cairns

Something old, something new
Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Australia


Our fortieth wedding anniversary has just dawned and Nanette has already posted something sweet and touching on Facebook. No worries, I can match that!

Step one – sachet, boiling water and viola – chai latte in bed! But that’s not all, flick a switch and we get to watch the Eurovision final while we eat our cornflakes.

Step two – “Hey, when this is finished, how would you like to go somewhere special for lunch?”
“Sounds great! Where?”
“Innisfail!”

Nanette doesn’t seem impressed. “We’ve been west to Kuranda, north to Port Douglas, and it’s raining at sea, so I thought it would be fun to go south and see something different. You know, cane fields and mountains and stuff.” I get the “How is that different?” look, but pretend not to notice.

Twelve-thirty. We have just completed a second lap of beautiful downtown Innisfail. It’s Sunday afternoon and there’s only one place open in the whole town. “Oh look, they have a Coffee Club here too. That’s different!”

The lunch is actually pretty good. Then Nanette makes one of those innocent remarks my forty-year tuned ears are always so quick to pick up.

“Is that highway the only way back to Cairns?”
“Nah, there’s another road, but it goes up through the tableland.”
“Oh….is that far?”
“Well, it takes at least an hour and a half more.”
“Oh….if it’s too much driving….”

Thus begins a trip down (up?) memory lane. We haven’t been to the tablelands since ABBA. Look – there’s that waterfall where you lost your sunglasses. Isn’t that the spot where we ran out of fuel? And, there’s the sign to the famous curtain fig tree. We have a great photo in the archives of a gorgeous young woman standing next to that same curtain fig. Hey – we could recreate that photo forty years on! Alas, a couple of critical elements have changed. The fig tree now has a boardwalk at the exact spot we need, and I probably couldn’t get the focus right without my glasses. Ah well, at least the tree is still here.

We spend the rest of the afternoon revisiting the spots we remembered from our previous visits. The roads are better, the towns are a little tattier, but my wife of forty years and I are just the same.

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