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Published: September 4th 2009
Day 8 - Sun Aug 30 Day 2 on the Reef
The second time I went out on the reef, I went with a boat called Passions of Paradise. It was a totally different vibe. Lots more people on the boat, but the snorkeling was infinitely better. Our first spot was Michaelmans' cove- a little island in the middle of the reef with spectacular coral and lots of fish! We were dropped off, via glass bottom boat, on the beach and got to walk into the water. The shallow water had coral growing right up out of the sand! The water was crystal clear. The second spot was good too. But disappointingly, still no turtle 😞(
I rushed back to my hostel to download the pics from camera #2 that I rented, took a shower, did laundry and relaxed before my midnight bus. Around 10 pm, I wandered up to the bus station with my pak, only to find it closed. There was a sign saying the bus would pick up across the street. So i ended up at McDonalds, hanging around, enjoying my new find- the most affordable thing in Australia- a soft serve cone for $.50!!!!! Honestly, I
think it is the only thing in this entire country that you can buy for under $2. The vibe in Cairs for whatever reason had changed a bit. The town was deserted except for a bunch of drunken 15-20 year olds who were raoming the streets and acting like beligerant assholes. Still, my voice of intuition told me I was leaving the best of my trip behind. Just like my last day in South America standing at the airport, I knew I was leaving a big part of my heart in South America. After a few more hours, the bus finally picked us up and we were off at 12:30 am.
The greyhound was quite a different experience from home. There must not be as wide a gap here in salaries from what we would consider "low earning jobs", like fast food places or bus drivers, because, you just don't find (except for the bus drivers in Sydney) the immigrant, surly, miserable, "i hate my life so I will make you miserable too" people in those positions like back in the US. The bus was really nice. The driver spent 20 minutes talking about the safety of the bus.
Each seat was fitted with a full harness seatbelt, that was required by law. We stopped in for a 1/2 hour for the driver's meal break, and then again for a 1/2 hour in the morning so we could eat breakfast! When we awoke, there was a new driver, who was another hoot. At our mealstop, he went through the isles asking everyone where they were from and joking with them. He said, "Smile!" to someone. "You happy?", he asked. "If not, piss off. This is a happy bus." Someone asked him when we'll get there. He responded, "when we get there. why? you in a hurry? If so, you'd better start walkin!" He says to us while reading another safety brief, "If you've got any alcohol, bring it up front and share it with me. And if you're using the toilets, shut the door properly because it sends a light up front here and gives me permission to hit all the bumps." The other travelers from Germany and such don't seem to get this humor, but i'm loving it. Aussies are like this, so easy going and happy. It's SO refreshing!
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