Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Man (and woman) vs. Food: Port Douglas

they said:

As we are food-centric people, our last homage to Port Douglas has to be about all the possibilities for food. So, without further ado...

The PleaseThankYouHello guide to eating and drinking, Port Douglas:

Please can we be rich enough to eat Salsa every night. Thank you to the bakery for being open even when the sign says closed. Hello happy hour.

Coffee Grind/Java Blue (same owners, similar menues)
What to get: The bacon & egg Roll or Poached eggs
When to go: If you want breakfast, get there before 9.
he said: This is where I worked. Order the stockman's breakfast for me, just to piss off the cook.

When to go: Between the hours of 8am and 9pm, but before 5:30 on Saturday, Sunday, and any days that might possibly be holidays.
What to get: Your groceries. Look around for the 10% and 33% off labels, or shop the 2 for 1 sales on the days after cruise ships and tours have left.
he said: Watch out for the trolley pushers.

Papaya (or Paw Paw in Australian) from the produce section.

Lenards *Port Douglas location recently out of business :(
What to get: Chicken. Anything involving chicken.
When to go: When it used to be open.
she said: We weren't aware this was a chain until we described it as "this awesome place where you can get chicken all done up" to the Aussie girls. As mentioned, they specialize in chicken; chicken sausages, chicken kebabs, chicken cordon blue, chicken kievs, chicken enchiladas, chicken wrapped in bacon...

Mocka's Pies
When to go:
When you want something quick and delicious for lunch or dinner.
What to get: Crocodile pie. Or the Big Brekkie pie.
she said: For a cheap and easy dinner (and lunch the next day), get the family pie (beef and veggies) with an apple pie for dessert.

What to get:
Doner Kebab
When to go: When you need a snack.
he said: they have kebabs which are a great drunk food.

The Courthouse
What to get: Nachos, or a big juicy steak.
When to go: When you want more food than you can eat.
she said: They don't do take-away boxes, so either bring your own container to stow away the left-overs, or leave uncomfortably full.

So much food. One dish for two will do.

When to go: When someone else is paying.
What to get: It would be hard to order something bad.
she said: Even if all you can afford is a drink, don't forget to check out the aquarium in the bathrooms!

When to go:
Anytime, but dinner especially offers many delicious dishes.
What to get: Whichever special the waiter suggests, especially if it involves lamb.
he said: Relaxed atmosphere but excellent "modern Australian cuisine" aka food.
she said: Of all the places we ate, this is the one I would return to, even with the $100 bill (sans drinks).

Jade Palace
What to get: Any of the appetizers. Especially the sesame toast.
When to go: Dinner
he said: Dang that sesame toast was so flipping good.
The sesame toast was just too good to pose for a picture.

What to get: Ice cream! Along with 15 minutes of free internet.
When to go: When you don't feel like eating your ice cream out of the supermarket carton.
she said: Two scoops - Bailey's and Coconut.

On the Inlet aka "the place where they feed George the Grouper"

What to get: Prawn Bucket
When to go: 5pm for the Grouper feeding, get there early for good seats.
he said: Or you could just check it out on youtube.

Meridien Marinas Port Douglas

What to get: Fish and Chips, Calamari.
When to go: Around 4:30 when the tour ships haven't quite docked, but the food/drink deals to rope them in are up and running.
Fish n' Chips with Calamari and plenty of water after going out on the boats to dive.

Surf Club
What to get:
Seasoned bread with olive and feta or any dish involving fish.
When to go: Wednesday night Trivia Night
she said: Brush up on your local knowledge before going to trivia, for instance; Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen, and Salisbury.

Rattle and Hum
What to get: Cheap pitchers and a game of pool.
When to go: Happy hours 5-6 and 10-11 daily.
he said: They have internet upstairs which I know how to steal.
she said: Try to pick a pool partner who isn't going to blame all their missed shots on the "baby sized Australian pool tables."

What to get: Drinks
When to go: Opening night… oh wait you missed it.

Iron Bar
What to get:
Drunk, or hit on by 19 year-olds.
When to go: Tuesdays for Karaoke, Fridays for the top 40 rock cover band, and anytime you might want to stay up past midnight (since it's the only place in town still open).
he said: You'll go here once at night, then you'll walk by during the day and notice that people actually eat food from here. With their mouths. You will be disgusted.
she said: But you'll still go back.

the Bakery
this is where you find it...
When to go: When the bars have closed and they've just begun baking.
What to get:
Whatever's fresh out of the oven.
she said: I love bread.
he said: Me too.

'Till we eat again... pleasethankyouhello out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Something, Something, Something, Dark Side

she said:

I guess it's fitting that before leaving Port Douglas we should see it's dark side, i.e. Carnivale.

Originally conceived as a send-off party for yacht races from Port Douglas to Lizard Island, Carnivale has grown into a week of festivities including a parade, film festival, multiple food tastings, and many a boat race. For visiting families and couples it's a celebration of everything the area has to offer, but for anyone on-duty opening night it's meaning is a little bit different.

he said:

Carnivale (May 19-27) is a celebration honouring the discovery of under age drinking. At least that's what I took away.

This was by far the most meaningless "festival" I have ever seen. It's no secret resort towns are dependent on the tourism industry to thrive but this was a shameful display of... what's a synonym for "whoring out"?

Sure, there was a parade, all of twelve minutes, and rides, which only ended up serving as the blender for cocktails comprised of mommy and daddy's stolen liquor and sprite, but there was no unique holiday celebration. It was the same old group of residents and a new batch of visitors from far and wide getting pissed at the same three pubs. All the while backpackers and young people served over-priced meals and drinks for an exploitative wage.

The only difference was the fire marshal might have considered getting off his duff for one night.

Worst of all there was no reason for any of it, unless you consider this one thing, the Cairns regional council said so. And if you do consider that a reason then you are probably one of the idiots who came here and I hope you had a good time, you idiot.

she said:

At the motel, we didn't know what we were in for. Check-ins went smoothly, mostly families with a few older couples. One set of 20-somethings we put in a downstairs room so they wouldn't be a nuisance when they stumbled back from the bar drunk. With check-ins done by 8pm, we put up the no vacancy sign and went out to find some street food and watch the tail-end of the parade.

Turns out the "families" and "older couples" were really just parents finding a place to leave their kids for a party. We got back at 10:30 to rooms packed with local teenagers drunk on wine coolers, in one case a set of mothers in the room with them who told us we should just "let the kids have fun."

Breaking up a party in one room meant the party in the next got bigger, until many a key had been confiscated and our sense of humour was waning. Our saving grace was the 3 am return of our two Australian work for accommodation girls who I'd be happy to employ as bouncers anywhere. Then finally, with rooms either empty or their occupants subdued, a bit of sleep before getting up to check-out, clean-up, and get ready to do it all over again.

Please can this "celebration" be over. Thank you dear bouncers and that handful of reasonable kids who make it sort of funny once it's over. Hello sweet sweet sleep.

Monday, May 16, 2011


she said:

This is something we mentioned before, but if you find yourself looking for a way to make traveling cheaper (and in that way longer), consider working as you go. And if you want to save on local activities/tours, even if you just work for accommodation, do your best to find a job in hospitality.

In areas saturated with tour companies, like most towns with access to the Great Barrier Reef, the recommendation of a local (or anyone who's been in town longer) can often be how new travellers decide where to spend their money.

As a result, when you stop to work and become a makeshift local, you become an asset to local tour companies. Working somewhere heavy in foot traffic; like behind a bar, or better yet a hotel information counter; you become that much more valuable.

Valuable enough to try out a local activity for next to nothing, in exchange for your honest opinion the next time a newer face asks "what's good."

he said:

Far North Queensland (FNQ) is a really special place but it's not necessarily perfect for backpackers. A lot of the most appealing activities and sights are accessible only by paid tour, which are as bountiful as they are expensive. On a backpackers budget doing all the tours isn't always possible, and doing it yourself isn't always smart or safe. It is safe to say we are both grateful to have been able to experience a wide variety of these tours for less than the cost of one person. Without the connections that make that possible, I don't think I would feel so comfortable (financially) about all the activities that we've enjoyed.

she said:

I'd like to throw in some pictures here, but The Case of the Missing Camera hinders me from doing so. Please just be hiding somewhere around the motel. But thank you to Cape Tribulation Jungle Surfing for letting us zip through the trees like flying foxes this past week. Only a couple more weeks to take advantage of any motel perks, and then hello Greyhound.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quick Change

they said:

Just when we thought we knew what we were doing, the travel gods have thrown us a curve-ball in the form of some new motel owners; owners who may or may not want us working for them. If we needed a sign that it's time to get moving again, this just may be it.

We have a few weeks to ponder the options while paperwork gets signed and inspections are made, and with soo many possibilities on the road back to Sydney we'll have our hands full.

Wish List:

  • Jungle Surfing through the rainforest at Cape Tribulation: part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage site.
  • Hiking through the lava tubes at the Undara Volcanic National Park.
  • Diving off the coast of Townsville and checking out the remains of the SS Yongola: a passenger ship that sank in 1911, most likely from damage due to a cyclone.
  • Sailing through the Whitsundays, a string of tropical islands accessed from Arlie Beach.
  • Bushwalking on Keppel Island.
  • A few days to explore Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.
  • Camping somewhere in the Blue Mountains; another World Heritage site; and taking a good look at the Three Sisters: Meehni, Wimla, and Gunnedoo.

So dear travel deities, please let us do it all, thanks for the kick in the butt, and hello new plans.