Since my weekend in Chillagoe in late February, I haven’t been on any other weekend trips through JCU. I was hoping to go on one, if not two, discounted trips through the school per month, but the weather is just not allowing it. So far in March, it has rained 15 out of the 17 days and has rained a total of 391.2 millimeters, or 15.4 inches. One night, it rained so hard for such a long period of time, the river located halfway to Cairns from JCU overflowed onto the overpass and stopped all traffic for miles the next day. Sam and I were going to the shopping center that day, and after we caught a bus, the driver told us she had just been sitting on the highway for almost two hours coming from Clifton beach, which is normally a six-minute drive. Sam and I ended up getting off the bus about halfway to the shopping center and walking along the highway. There were definitely some people frustrated by the traffic and flooding, but it was a much more calm and organized scene than I would have expected. The locals told us that the flooding and traffic happened every once in a while, when the city experienced extremely heavy rain in a short period of time. Luckily, the roads were back to normal by the time we needed to head back to the university.
I also experienced my first Cairns Taipans basketball game. One of my professors explained that Australians do not put as much money into their professional sports teams as Americans do, and it definitely showed at the game. The game was held at the convention center in Cairns and only cost students $11 per ticket. The most expensive ticket was only $45. Our seats were in the second to last row of the stadium, but we were so close to the court that those seats would have been hundreds of dollars at a Laker game. The Taipans were a great team, and I look forward to going to future games.
One of the downfalls of Australia is how much more expensive it is than the U.S. This is the main reason I chose to pay extra for a meal plan at the Cairns Student Lodge. However, this is turning out not to be the best option. The food served for dinner every night is deep fried, greasy, unhealthy, and the meat is usually reused from the night before. Breakfast normally consists of a small selection of fruit, runny powered eggs, and sometimes chicken nuggets. Not only are we eating unhealthy, fattening food every day, but it is also very hard to get daily exercise here. There is a gym across the street from the lodge, but even with a student discount it was extremely expensive. Even exercising outside is hard to do when it is so hot and humid, that walking to class is tiring. Unfortunately, this lack of good nutrition and not exercising regularly has not created the desired “beach bod”.