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Published: September 8th 2009
Day 13- Thu Sep 3 Airlie Beach to Byron Bay via public transport
I woke up to pouring rain in the middle of the night. By morning it was still drizzy and dreary. I was crossing my fingers it would clear up because I had booked a VERY expensive scenic flight over the Whitsundays islands.
I packed up my stuff and waited at the bus stop to catch a bus to the Whitsunday airport to pick up my flight.
The bus arrived complete with another colorful Aussie character at the wheel.
What follows is my dialogue with the bus driver:
Me: Are you going to the airport?
Bus Driver: I'm not. Are you?
Me: Yes, can you get me there?
Bus Driver: Ok, but it'll cost ya. Boy i'm gonna get rich off this!
(at $3.10, he wasn't completely kidding i guess)
Me: Can you tell me where to get off?
Bus Driver: Ok, but that's extra
So as we approach the airport, he grabs the mic and starts singing "Come Fly with Me"!!!
As i'm getting off, he says, "See wasn't that worth it? Just to meet me?"
Getting the hang of this, I respond, "Just for the pleasure
of your company"!
god, I can only imagine how the US would be if everyone were this easy-going and happy! WOW!
So much fun!
So I made it to my scenic flight. The sky managed to clear- mostly. It was quite amazing. The reef looks just like those amazing pictures you always see. At one point, we landed on the water and the pilot crawls out the window! (to close a hatch). The Whitsunday passage wasn't as vibrant as the pictures i've seen, but i still managed to get some great photos.
We landed with exactly 10 minutes to get to the ferry to get to the airport to catch a plane and then a connecting bus. (good grief).
Since the scenic plane ride had been delayed, they had agreed to drive me to the ferry, so a lady met me at the plane, my bag already in her car, and we sped off to the ferry. I told her I was hoping that Ben Southall (the winner of the Island's Best Job, who lives on the Whitsundays now) would invite me over, but he didn't. sigh. She told me that he had flown a few
times with them. "He's got a great job, doesn't he?", she says. Then adds, "And his girlfriend has done allright for herself too hasn't she?"
So I made it to my ferry just on time to grab a sandwich and off to Hamilton Island we go (The Whitsunday island with the airport- home of Ben Southall). Hamilton Island was beautiful- from what I saw from the boat. As we got off the plane, there was a row of golf carts (buggies) for rent. Those are the "cars" of the island. Vaguely reminiscent of life on Catalina!
I arrived at 1pm for my 2pm flight to Brisbane where I sat in the 1 room airport which looked like a rainforest cabin! (lovely). The views from the plane were great! Midway through the pilot came on in his Aussie accent and said "The weather in Brissie should be nice."
I got a great little tour of Brisbane, rush hour traffic and all, via the shuttle from the airport to the Greyhound station, which was walking distance to the backpacker part of town. I ended up having 2 hours to walk around Brisbane to find some food and check internet.
I wandered into Peter Pans, who not only had free internet, but a couch/tv lounge! Brisbane was all city. So it ended up being the perfect amount of time there.
7pm I hopped on my final transport of the day- a Greyhound bus to Byron Bay.
I was so ready for a long drive to kick back and relax- listen to my Ipod and do some Saduko. Just as I get all cozy, the driver puts on a godawful Clint Eastwood movie. I mean, aren't they all? His voice is so grating! And this movie was depressing as hell. so much for some quiet relaxation.
By 10 pm we arrived at Byron Bay. My hostel had already warned me that their night shuttle wasn't working and to take a taxi. Well, I got off at the bus stop and not only were there no taxis, but there was a crazy man, yelling and pointing a finger at the 2 people waiting. (1 of them was taking a picture of the crazy guy!)
So I wandered into the internet cafe, which was closing. I ask him to ring my hostel. He only gets their answering machine. So he
hands me a map with directions that look a bit confusing and a list of other hostels. I wander back to the bus stop where a shuttle is dropping someone off. I ask about getting to the hostel, which is out of town, and just then a girl pops out who says she is going there and knows where it is!
WOW! so i follow her and we talk for a while. She is from Canada and has been traveling/working in OZ for 2 years. She comes in the form of yet another spirit guide to sit on my shoulder and whispering in my ear. Just like Debra, she's awakening my need for adventure, my love of travel, the longing to be free again. I try to deny it but it's just like my freshman year in college when i was searching for a major and every time i met a music major, there was this allure, like in the back of my mind, I knew all along I would end up there.
So I'm listening to her glorious stories, lapping them up, while spirit is taunting me, like a devil on my shoulder by asking questions like, "what are
you doing toiling away at this American Nightmare game? it's not like you are able to can save any money for retirement....."
At any rate, we have a lovely conversation that gets us to the hostel where we talk for a bit more and then both head off to bed.
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