It’s 11pm on Wed Feb 2nd, 2011 – the day that will be remembered as the day that Cyclone Yasi ripped across North Queensland.
In the wake of the Queensland floods a few weeks ago, the general feeling for me – and in the office – is… “haven’t those people suffered enough…”
By the time you read this (most likely), the trail of destruction will be evident – and unfortunately – there will inevitably be some loss of life.
For me, Cairns holds a special place in my heart – and the reason for this blog post.
I lived there for 2 years – from 1993 to 1995. Apart from Melbourne, it is the only place I’ve called HOME during my adult life.
It’s going to sound wanky, but those two years in Cairns shaped me into the person I became. I was only 21, had never lived out of home before, and travelled there for a 3-month work contract, with some other guys at the same company.
We worked hard, partied even HARDER, and I really began to fall in love with my IT career (I’d only been out of Uni for 6 months, and really found my feet).
I had the chance to travel to a mining site in Indonesia (6 times) – and also flown business class to New Orleans – where I turned 22.
Three months turned into 2 years, I made local friends, and had a hobby of racing Radio Controlled Cars – I came 3rd in the Queensland State titles (!!) – which was held in Townsville. I went to the drag races while we were in town. Townsville is now facing 9.5 metres waves off the coast (OMG).
Some teens and 20-somethings have a back-packing tour around Europe to “find themselves”.
For me – it was Cairns. I grew as a person, worked out who I was – and what I liked and didn’t.
I know Cairns – I remember the boardwalk, and the shops – and the main streets that you see in photos today.
The evacuation centre at a shopping centre is where I did my food shopping – I recognised the kebab shop in the food court.
I remember buying a table tennis table at the KMart store there too (interesting story on that – how we got it home without a car – too big for a taxi !)
I went Bungy Jumping, and rode the train to Kuranda.
I knew some of the hippy folk that lived there, in a converted old bus. (LOL!)
I know Innisfail, and many of the beaches up-and-down the coast. Port Douglas is only 1/2 an hour away – it will get pummelled tonight also.
A friend who came to visit & stay with me, ended up moving there and now lives there – she loved the place so much. We have news from her sister-in-law that they’re in a storm proof shelter, and a fair way inland – but still scary & dangerous for them.
As already stated – it was my home – sure it was 15 years ago, and I’ve lost touch with most of the folk I worked with when I was there – but Cairns is such a part of me – while I was there, I became me.
Mother Nature is about to unleash the perfect storm.
Right now, I’m feeling kinda ill in the stomach right about now – and close to tears – and all I can do is go to bed, and hope & pray that people are safe – and that the Australian spirit shines through with the rebuilding efforts, and recovery operations.
Good luck FNQ – that’s all I’ve got.