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  • Writer's pictureClaire

16/02/24 Townsville to Bowen

The nasty alarm went off at the even nastier time of 0500hours. Dear lord what fresh hell is this that I'm subjecting myself to... again! I am really not a fan of mornings, even if they do mean cheaper transportation! Anyway, a quick shower swilled the sleep out of my eyes and went a short way to making me feel a little more human. We loaded The Sturdy one onto my lap in Mildred, put one small backpack on the the handles and the other on Si's back, handed the keys back in and set off for the Bus pick up point at the ferry terminal. The electricity is all back on down the street and the cafes are all open. Their outside tables full of people who have been for their morning runs and are re hydrating themselves. At just after 0600hrs, I can but only admire their dedication to their fitness goals.

The walkway along the beach to the Ferry Terminal was full of runners, walkers, dog walkers, cyclists and the outdoor pool had every lane full of people doing their laps. We heard the phrase of "coming through" more times than I can actually remember! We nailed the trip in under 20 minutes, a personal best for us and had the added bonus of giving Si a great little work out. I think he was inspired by the exercisers we passed, and who passed us along the way. The Bus pulled in at 0630 and left exactly on time at 0700hours. I'd selected the very front seats as they are just easier to get to. The driver informed us they were actually the worse ones on the bus, even though we had full access to the view ahead, he said it was really uncomfortable, I didn't quite catch why it was the case, but we have been on much more uncomfortable buses so it wasn't a big deal. It was only a two hour trip anyway, and it went really quickly. There was a little baby a few rows back and she was gurgling away to her self, telling the whole bus the best stories.

Driving along through acres and acres of sugar cane fields was pleasant, and made me think of the Toad racing again, which predictibaly bought a grin to my face. As I say, It was a short journey and we soon rolled up in Bowen. Just after 0930hours which is slightly more reasonable time of day. Our Hotel is just down the street from where the bus dropped us off and we popped to ask them if they would be kind enough to let us leave our bags. They went a step further, and gave us the room key! Out bloody standing! we went in and were really impressed with the accomodation. White tiled floors and skirting boards with white wall gives it a light and airy feel, and there is a black out blind on the window over a net curtain. shower and toilet are in seperate rooms with the sink in the middle of them. Dropping the bags down and unloading from Mildred, we crashed onto the large comfy bed. First impressions ...comfortable!

At 1000hrs, the pub that the motel room is attached to, opened and we went and had a coffee. Its a big place, with great music playing. We checked out the menu and instantly decided we would eat there tonight. The Bar has a Boaster challenge. It consists of a 5kg beef burger with all the trimmings and chips to be eaten in under 25 minutes. If you manage to eat it under the alloted time you get it for free and the honour of your name on the Champions Board. Now I can eat, but I don't think that I could manage to get all that down me in less than 25 minutes!!! Im so not going to even attempt it, and neither is Si. The coffee was very nice, and we went for a walk as soon as it was gone to get our bearings. Where we are in Bowen is very quiet, and we are 500 metres from the beach. We walked in the general direction of it past a few shops and down onto the front. Just adjacent to the tourist information place, is a big mango statue. It celebrates the areas agricultural links, and the little kiosk next to it sells all things mango related. Including a mango room scent. I do enjoy mango, but I wouldn't want the smell of it right through the house. A mango sorbet, well thats a whole other ballgame, and gets a big fat yes from me!, just not today. This mango is not to be confused with THE giant mango which is on the side of the highway just outside of Bowen,

We rolled down Bowens significantly long doubleJetty, taking note of the fact that there is a sign stating that sharks swim in the waters. Noted. Cheers. The jetty is well used, and the one looks to be where the fishermen unload their catch. There were no boats in offloading, so we could only assume that they were out on the water fishy hunting. The area leading to the offloading area, is locked off and no entry signs for unauthorised personel. The other jetty has a seperate footpath and vehicle way, it doesn't look to be particularily well maintained for the vehicles to travel over, but the footpath was solid. That made me happy as you can imagine!. When we. got to the far end, two lads in their late teens were sat fishing, and chatting to two others in shirts and ties, no idea who they were but they looked official. We continued to the very end and looked out over the sea, just below us we spotted some fish that were like needles, no idea what they were but they were certainly unusual, well they were really ugly but I was trying to be kind. There was a divine breeze blowing in over the sea and it was a good job because it was really humid. As we stood there, enjoyed it, there was a girl, in what we thought, was conversation with the lads who were fishing. However when we walked past them, the one asked us if we thought they were animal killers because they were fishing. Turns out the girl we thought was in conversation with them, was actually having a right go at them for hurting the fish. Our response to their question? good god no, besides it was their own fault because they taste so good. We told them to ignore the silly cow and crack on with it. They laughed out loud at that, so hopefully they carried on after we left, its way better than them being up the town vandalising the place sureerly. It does explain why the girl had a big old stomp on when she walked away from them. Close to the end of the Jetty there was a crab/lobster pot with a big old crab in it. Where was the fish lover when the crab was stranded and being baked alive in its own shell huh? Nowhere to be seen, dopey bint.

Rolling off the jetty, we headed over to the marina just opposite the bay. A fabulous pavement made it pleasant going for Si to wheel but when we got there, there was nothing going on at all. The only thing that was remotely interesting was a Kids swimming gala on the opposite side of the road. The place was like a ghost town, no people, no cars and we were by this stage waiting for tumbleweed to roll down the middle of the road. I may have slightly messed up once again with this particular stop over. We decided to return to the Hotel room and stretch out for a bit. On the way down we'd passed a shoe shop, and on the way back we called in. The stupid Birkenstock floppy flips ( that didn't cost me a penny because the company refused to accept my pre approved return, when I was sending them back for not being very comfortable and not really liking them. I recieved a full refund and was told I could keep them) are simply the worst pair of flops I've ever owned. The cork on the heel cup is collapsing and there are bits off cork dropping off them on a daily basis. Also, the lining is detatching from the sole , and the straps that go over the foot on the one flopper is coming unstuck. Add to that the fact that they are rubbing my little fat, flat feet to bits and I think that is as good a reason as any to be requiring new ones. We went in and I explained the problem to the lady in the shop. Turns out she has the same problem as my good self and recommended I try on a pair of Archies . Now I had tried some at home, but not the run of the mill rubber types, but ones that were a little more dressy, and they didnt suit my feet at all. I dubiously slipped my trotters into a pair of orange ones and they were actually really comfortable. I decided there and then they were coming with me out of the shop. Mildred let us down big time in there, she rather thoughtlessly spread mud all over the carpet that she'd picked up along the way from the pavement. I was mortified but the lady was lovely about it. So pleased was I with the new flippy floppers, I asked the lady to cut off the labels so I could put them on straight away. I then asked her if I could leave the old ones in her bin, which she kindly bought out into the shop for me to chuck them into. I don't blame her for not wanting to touch them, they were pretty minging, and all i can say is that im glad I hadn't had to pay good money for them. They did have oofos in there but I have a pair of them waiting patiently at home for me, and despite the fact they are like walking on air, the Archies were nicer colours. I like the orange. second choice to pink obvs. With my flat fat feet encased in my swanky new orange flippy floppers, we tetuned to the Hotel.

We boooked a table for an early supper in the Hotel's bar. It was not too busy, although it was early. They had a singer in for the evening, who was singing a lot of 60's and 70's stuff, so was quite pleasant. The food came out quickly and was really nice. So far we have done really well on the food we've had out, its all been edible which is always good so we havent exactly starved. The pub filled up and with it the noise levels increased so we took our leave and wandered back to the room, The rain had increased significantly whilst we were eating, and the trip that took under a minute soaked the pair of us to the skin. It was warm rain so that wasn't so bad. The chill of the room was a shock to the system though, and we turned off the air con for a bit until we'd dried off and our teeth stopped chattering. A pretty quiet and uneventful day!

Much Love

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