Here’s a blog from Cairns...
Wow! Back in the land of smooth roads, curbs, unsmashed up cars, nice buses, fancy houses, shopping centres that go on and on... Ashlyn’s mouth dropped as we walked through Cairns Central (a shopping centre – mall). She walked along pointing at things and then when we went to a kid’s clothing store she promptly pulled almost everything she saw off the shelf and said: “this fits me mum?” When I said it would she presumed it would be bought for her and loudly let everyone know that she wanted it. This went on and on and she wanted to try on every shoe in sight and buy it. Finally it dawned on me what was going on. Our little girl can’t remember going clothes shopping or any shopping the Western way. She only remembers going to second hand stores to buy clothes, in PNG. And when we are in Lae, if there is something nice that fits her we buy it without fail, as those times are far and few between and the price of the item will invariably be very cheap. So dear Ashlyn presumes that if we are shopping and something is nice and would fit her, well naturally it will be bought for her, and in her three year old mind any change to this norm is cause for a yell or two. And then there are all the toys!!! It was just too much for her, though I must say that overall she is doing pretty good.
One of Shiana’s first comments when we walked around Cairns was, “Mum, look how short that lady’s skirt is.” I think she echoed many of our thoughts – the fashion here is just mind boggling after coming out of PNG where women are so careful to expose nothing, and their dress is anything but sexually oriented. It really throws us for a few days trying to get our mind around these kinds of things.
Oh, and how exciting to go into a huge supermarket! I was thrilled, crazy as it might seem. And once again so excited about how cheap everything is (I know, prices have gone up in Australia, but when you compare it to PNG, everything seems soooh cheap). We bought chocolate and yoghurt and potato chips and fresh milk...how yum!
Anyway, it is good to be in Australia, though Ashlyn is obviously missing PNG (though having lots fun!) We went to a playpark today (Muddy’s for those in the know), and she was so timid and scared first of all especially. She wanted me to hold her hand, not because she was scared of the toys, but so overwhelmed with all the white kids. IT was not long before she found a group of “black” kids (from Thursday island we found out – they look a lot like Papua New Guineans), and was happily playing with them on a toy. They were the only children she actually interacted with all morning!
Then we spent some time at the lagoon. Tomorrow we hope to drive off on our way to Brisbane, though we are only doing 150km tomorrow.
Sean Eikelboom flew with us from Port Moresby to Cairns and has been spending these days with us here in Cairns. He hopes to fly back to Tasmania tomorrow.