Sept 29, 2000

In Cairns, we visited the Royal Flying Doctors visitor center. Because Australia is so huge, they established a flying doctors service many years ago, in the 1920's or 30's if my memory is right, and it is still going strong today. Most of their work is visiting small centers and performing regular visits with patients, but they also perform many emergency evacuations. In the wet season, many of the roads turn to mud or become flooded and are impassible, this service is vital. This picture is of a plane that was used for many years but is now retired. Others just like it are still in service.

Room inside for a couple of doctors and/or nurses plus a patient.

The radio system established to contact the doctors is extensive. The first radios used peddels to allow a human to power it while typing out morse code messages. Things have progressed from this, but apparently one peddle machine is still in operation at a location with no power.

The radio network also is used for distance learning. The teachers read their lessons over the radio and take questions from their students. It will be a while until the internet is available everywhere. In this picture, you can see one of the books is from 1996.

Close to the doctor's center was a boardwalk through the native rainforest that is left over in the center of Cairns. While walking along the path, Jean was watching where she was placing her feet very carefully instead of watching 10 to 15 feet ahead of where she was going to be walking. I had to tell her to stop because she was about to walk on a snake crossing the patch. She let out a cute little scream and backed up quickly. This snake was either a tree snake or a water snake, but harmless just the same. But better safe than sorry as there is the Taipan snake here which is the deadlest in the world and 10 times more potent than the Death Adder, which is also in the area. The rattlesnake is harmful, but hardly registers on the scale when compared to these beasts.

Because it's so warm in the area, people hardly need door sills, but they have them here anyway, not to keep the warm or cold in, but to keep the snakes out.

Today was the first day we lost some pictures. Was interrupted as I was downloading the pictures to the computer and then later erased the pictures from the camera. Oh well, we have a good score so far.

We spent the afternoon with Don Cortis, Phil's dealer in Cairns, and we went out to Port Douglas to visit a new potential client and an existing one. Both are restaurants that are on the high end of the scale catering to the more upscale clientelle that can afford to stay in Port Douglas. (We're staying in Cairns and just driving up for the day, so I guess we're not upscale). The town is starting to become more developed, but it's a much nicer town than Cairns in that it has nicer beaches (4 mile beach) and nicer atmosphere.

Cairns is a large city with a population of about 110,000 and is on scale with Kelowna in size. The beaches in town are unswimable but have nice walking paths. The town exists because it has a better port.

We had, and then lost, a great picture of Jean and I on a hill overlooking 4 mile beach. You'll just to imagine it.