Independence Day

The 4th of July generally has little significance here in Australia *300 million Americans emit a single gasp of horror* and passes by barely noticed. But not this year in Cairns…

As Maria mentioned in her last post (yes she is still alive) the bustling population of Cairns has swelled over the past week with the arrival of the USS Essex and USS Tortuga, here in Queensland on exercise. Over 4000 American sailors have spilled into our streets, our bars and restaurants, and rumour has it… Cairns strip clubs and brothels! Not all of the crew were male of course, in these liberated times, but the odds were overwhelming… a fact not overlooked by the local female population who hit the waxing salons in droves last week in preparation for this *apparently much needed* influx of manhood.

Maria was naturally not one of those girls as she has nothing to want for in her life. But even blissfully contented Maria couldn’t resist a photo opportunity with a couple of passing sailors when we were out on the town Saturday night.

The local community as a whole (and the tourism and entertainment industries particularly) unashamedly welcomed the influx of revenue, and there were signs all over town “Welcome USS Essex” or “We salute you and are honoured to have you on our shores” (I personally thought that one was going a bit far)

The Cairns Regional Council put on a surprisingly impressive fireworks display down at the Esplanade as the culmination of a day’s activities and events to celebrate America’s Independence Day. After the fireworks, Maria and I raced to beat the crowds to a table at our favourite pizzeria on the Esplanade.

Not a bad way to end an afternoon that began with a lunch of yabbie linguini (Maria, not me… I had the gnocchi) in a beachfront restaurant in magical Palm Cove.

Here’s a couple of pics of the USS Essex; the first through the early morning mist from our house, and the second a little closer up as the huge vessel dominates the Cairns streetscape…


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