Monday, June 15, 2009

Cairns - New Ukulele Capital

If Val has her way (Mayoress of Cairns) her city will be the festival capital of the world with a film festival to rival Cannes.
The similarity in names may just work in favour of Cairns. If the Cairns Film Festival was convened on exactly the same dates as the one in Cannes, MB could easily imagine some literacy challenged travel agents booking travel for festival goers to Cairns, rather than Cannes.
The gutsy 10 year old MB spotted busking with her ukulele at Redlynch Shopping Centre recently would no doubt be happy to hear about a possible ukulele festival in her hometown.
The festival would have real credibility if Val has lined up Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele virtuoso, to perform. He is a true master of the ukulele.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Atherton Poultry Show

After visiting the Atherton Orchid Show at the Atherton Showgrounds MDR spotted another event in the nearby poultry pavilion. Turned out the local bird fanciers had also put on a show of their poultry. MB is a bit of a closet poultry fancier herself so the pair decided to inspect Atherton's finest.
This show was just wrapping too, so the pair did a quick tour.
MB's favourite was the White Pekin which the owner happily took out of his cage so she could take a photo. MB thought this lovely looking bird with silky feathers was a "she" but the owner, trying to hide his smirk, told her the fowl was a "he". MB asked how did he keep him so clean, apparently Dynamo does the trick, as does keeping the fowl on clean wood shavings.
MDR is pictured above next to a cage containing two of the biggest fowl the pair had ever seen, unfortunately couldn't find out what breed they were. The diversity of poultry is truly amazing and never fails to fascinate MB.
Where would mankind be without such an easily and quickly raised source of protein?

Atherton Orchid Show

Queen's Birthday long weekend saw MDR & MB make their annual pilgrimage to Lake Tinaroo for the Wooden Boat Assoc. of Cairns' annual "Tinaroo Raid".
This is a fun event which is beautifully organised and very relaxed. Weather was superb and the company great.
After the Raid finished early Sunday afternoon the pair made a dash for nearby Atherton to visit the 44th Tropical Queensland Orchid Council Conference & Show at the local showgrounds. The conference was just wrapping up but the floral displays were still in place and MB wasn't disappointed, the orchids were enchanting.

Lake Tinaroo Terraces - Thumbs Down

MB & MDR were really disappointed with the 2 nights in their 2 bedroom lake view lodge at Lake Tinaroo Terraces.
On arrival they report to reception, which looks like a radioactive waste dump, but it's unattended. Eventually a slovenly looking man who bears an amazing resemblance to Jabba the Hutt, waddles in, apparently from a house across the road. He grunts, we supply our name and he can’t find the booking, even though MB phoned twice and emailed once (no reply to the email). Jabba swipes our visa card and with a huge sigh, forces himself upright & waddles out to show us where the lake view unit is.
The "lodge" turns out to be a tiny painted corrugated iron tin shed that shakes & groans every time you walk in it. The "lake view" is actually the back of two tin sheds immediately in front of the tin shed.
Not long after arrival MB boils the jug for a cuppa. MDR had bought Danish pastries from his favourite patisserie in Redlynch so MB grabbed a plate. When she picked up the plate it was stuck to the plate beneath it and on closer inspection she noticed it hadn’t been cleaned. She checked the crockery and noticed many items were dirty, so of course she had to clean all of the dishes! There was not a drop of milk in the fridge, not even some little UHT packs.
One of the light fittings on the lounge wall was missing its cover and didn’t have a light bulb in it. Great if you have kiddies with you!
Cleaning and upkeep of the tin shed was rudimentary to say the least, filthy crockery, musty soft furnishings, coating of dust on everything and grimy windows. God knows when the bedding was last washed..
The master bedroom was in a loft and was the most spacious room. Only 1 light bulb missing there. The bed lamp was a doozy, looked like it had been dropped as the base was cracked and a large opening revealed internal workings. The clock radio was helpfully switched off at the power point
First night in MB & MDR settled down to watch a DVD (French Classic Cinema bought from home) but of course the remote didn’t work, checked the batteries and find none in the remote, just a rusted out cavity where batteries are meant to be go.
The second bedroom had a bunk bed squeezed into a room not much bigger then the bunk itself. Again the clock radio was helpfully switched off at the wall.
Any chance of a hair dryer in the bathroom? No way, that would be far too generous.
On day 2 when MB walked past the unattended reception there was a sign advising the office was closed as there were no vacancies. No details on how one can contact the manager and no emergency contact details.
Also in the tin shed there is no information and no way to contact the "on-site" manager as there are no internal telephones, just a bare phone point on the nano-kitchenette wall. Can't have pesky guests bothering the management.
Of course one could just call Lake Tinaroo Terraces on the mobile. That is if there is mobile phone coverage. MB has a Vodafone and MDR has a Telstra mobile, both of these did not have a signal there. MB is sure Jabba would gleefully let guests know there is a public phone booth about one kilometer away, if you could track him down that is.
Needless to say hospitality at Lake Tinaroo Terraces is absolutely zero and it was one of the most unpleasant stays MB has ever experienced. Accommodation standards do not merit the tariff charged by a long shot.
MB's advice - give this place a very wide berth.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Biltong at Yeronga

Check out VT's super home made biltong dryer.
Whilst in Brisbane on Monday MB had few hours to spare before flying back to Cairns so dropped in for a quick visit. Hana whipped up a great dinner in no time which was very much appreciated, and much nicer than eating at the airport!

VT has constructed a plywood biltong dryer which uses 1 x 100 watt lamp to dry out strips of marinated beef in approximately one week. The beef strips are marinated in a vinegar and spice mix beforehand.
Hopefully next visit a small sample will be ready...