Today was another transition day. After a week of rest and recovery from my marathon trip around New Zealand I traveled to Cairns Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef and explore the Daintree Rainforest.
I woke this morning, ate breakfast, got ready, finished packing and walked the 200 yards to catch the 155 bus. I took the 10 minute ride on the 155 into Mona Vale where I transferred to the L90 for a 55 minute ride to Wynyard Station in CBD Sydney. From there I got on the airport line train for a 15 minute ride to Sydney international airport. I checked in at the Virgin Australia kiosk, dropped my checked bag at the desk, made my way through security, grabbed my “second breakfast” (name the movie…this should be easy) and headed to the gate.
The 3 hour flight to Cairns was smooth and I got my first views of the mountains around Cairns during the decent…..it looked very tropical….
Cairns (pronounced “cans” (the “r” is silent)) is located in the Northern East coast of Australia in the state of Queensland. It is a popular tourist destination for it’s proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
After we landed I found my bus and made my way to the Travellers Oasis hostel (Google, Web) and checked in. The staff was very friendly and energetic. They showed me around the facility, gave me all the information I needed for my stay and told me about an Aussie BBQ that their sister hostel Tropic Days has every Monday night. They said a bus would leave for the BBQ in front of the main building in about an hour which gave me enough time to walk down the street to grab a few things from a grocery.
The BBQ was great with all-you-can-eat kangaroo, crocodile, emu, fish and several salads and side dishes. All for $14 AUD ($10 USD). It was also a lot of fun as I had the opportunity to get to know several of the other folks staying at my hostel. It just so happened that I sat at a table with 3 other Americans (a brother/sister from NY and a girl from Indiana) as well as a couple from Spain and a girl from Australia (Perth).
After dinner a few of us took the bus to downtown Cairns, walked around the Night Market (Google, Web) and finished the night with a drink at the famous (at least around Cairns) Woolshed (Web). I left the group early and headed back as the bus for the diving boat was picking me up at 7:30 the next morning.
It was a beautiful night so I decided to walk back. As I was walked I began searching for my door key. I looked in my left pocket….no key. I looked in my right pocket….no key……CRAP…..NO KEY!!! UGH!
I remembered reading in the hostel information there was a $20 charge for a lost key. Ok, no big deal. However, I also remembered that the office closed at 10 (it was almost midnight at this point) AND the front gate was locked and you needed what to get in….yeah, you guessed it, your door key! Double CRAP!!!
I knew I had it when I left for dinner and then I remembered, while I was at the other hostel I had laid on a hammock for 10 minutes or so after dinner and had felt the key in my pocket and thought to myself, “you better be careful or the key will fall out of your pocket while you are laying here”. After that I guess most people would have checked for the key when they got up huh? Yeah, but what “fun” would that be? 🙂 So, I assumed (hoped…prayed) the hammock was the most likely place to find my wayward key.
But now for the next hurdle….I couldn’t remember the name of the other hostel (yes, it is in fact tough to be me :-). So I googled Monday night BBQ in Cairns, found the name of the hostel and looked it up on google maps (thank you Lord for smartphones!). Fortunately it was within walking distance of my place…..unfortunately it was about a mile away. So, off I went.
After about 20 minutes I managed to find the other hostel, but it also had a fence, and a gate, and of course it was locked and all the lights were out and there was no one around….crap! Oh well, only one thing to do…..climb over the fence (yeah, this is getting good). With the luck I was having I halfway expected an alarm, flashing lights, security cameras, guard dogs and a swat team to descend on me before my feet hit the ground. 🙂 Fortunately, none of that happened. So I walked through the facility, past a couple of guys sitting at a dark table talking (fortunately they either didn’t see me jump down from the fence or didn’t care), walked back to the hammocks and felt around for me key (I couldn’t see a thing) and……there it was! (thank you Lord!).
Fortunately the gate opened from this side so I didn’t have to climb the fence again 🙂 and after a another 20 minute walk I was back in my room and ready for bed….
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