We spent most of the day today in Mackay city proper.Â For a city with barely 100,000 people, Mackay has a soul-crushing traffic problem.Â It is seriously frustrating, and frankly, bizarre.Â By some estimates, the Mackay area is the fastest growing population in Australia … I have no clue how that’s happening because there’s too much traffic to get here!Â
The bus drops off at Caneland which is a fairly large mall complete with food court, Australia Post, Target, Woolworths (a typical grocery store), and a mish-mash of discount stores.Â It’s a madhouse – troubled youths, morbidly obese, teenage mothers, and crass consumerism of made-in-China crap that nobody needs and few can truly afford.Â Not a pleasant experience.
I did, however, enjoy my kebab from the food court.Â The concept of the kebab is very popular in Australia … as ubiquitous as Subway, but rarely ever a chain.Â Of course, with the accent, it’s pronounced Kuh-BABB (rhymes with “cab”).Â Kebab restaurants can be Arabic, Greek, or Turkish themed, but the kebabs are usually very similar.Â The one I had today reminded me a lot of Los Angeles’ much beloved Zankou Chicken … so delicious.
We also decided to grocery shop since we’ll be here through the weekend at least – depending on how quickly we can get the insurance rider for Airlie Beach and how quickly Hamilton Island can sort out their computer problems.Â Plus, provisioning will only get more expensive between here and Cairns so better to stock up now.Â After that decision, we knew we would need a taxi back to the marina, so we decided to hit the bottle shop as well.Â Beer is really expensive in Australia, especially the Tasmanian varieties that I prefer – Cascade and James Boag’s – so when we saw some good prices at the Mackay Dan Murphy’s, we decided to really stock up with about 5 cases!Â Oh yeah!
The respective stores held our purchases (refrigerated even, how nice) while we headed out for a walk to take care of some other errands and catch an early dinner.Â The nearest Internet cafÃ© with a printer and fax machine was located in the back room of a really nice bike shop.Â Andy took care of some business items while I browsed the store.Â I would love to get into cycling, but bike storage on the boat would be challenging … especially if I bought one of these bikes!Â I would definitely not spend some AUS$1000 on a bike that would rust out while strapped to the side of my boat exposed to the corrosive marine elements.Â Seriously, I don’t even want the outside of my boat on the outside of my boat much less an expensive bike!Â
Chores completed, we sat down to an early dinner at an Indian restaurant next door to the bike shop/Internet cafÃ©.Â It was nice but could’ve been spicier.Â
We walked back to the grocery store, picked up the groceries, loaded up a taxi, drove to Dan Murphy’s, picked up the booze, and headed back to the marina.Â Of course, there were no trolleys to borrow so I walked the docks until I found one, and of course, it had a busted wheel.Â With so much stuff and a compromised trolley, we had to make several trips to our berth in the most Siberian portion of the marina, so Andy took batch number one and I babysat the rest of the stuff.Â The process took every bit of an hour.
Australians are very chatty and friendly and outgoing.Â Even strangers on the street are always good for a cheery greeting and a clever quip of some kind.Â A stand-offish Australian is rare, and I like that.Â As you can probably imagine, I made a lot of friends standing there with 5 cases of beer!Â “I wanna party with you, mate!”Â “Now there’s the right kind of provisioning, mate!”Â “Ah thanks, mate, but what’ll you be having?”Â You name it, I heard it!