Category Archives: Australia

Random Bus Stop Meeting

After a few days of sweating in Darwin, it was time to fly to Bali, Indonesia. I was definitely nervous to leave Australia because it had come to feel like home. Even after traveling for so long, it’s still intimidating to go somewhere new.

As I waited for the airport shuttle bus, I started chatting with the guy sitting next to me. Liam, who is from Wales, was also going to Bali, and we discovered that we had booked into the same hostel. Further discussion revealed we flew over on different airlines but would land at nearly the same time. The fact that we would arrive in a new country after dark set off some nervousness, so we decided to wait for each other in the Bali airport before proceeding to the hostel.

I think this knowledge greatly eased our minds. We knew we’d both be facing the unknown together. There’s strength in numbers, as they say, and we were determined to capitalize on this fact.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the airport, Liam’s flight was seriously delayed. My flight was running late but we got off the ground fairly quickly. I had no clue when he would leave Australia, and I worried that he’d miss his flight completely due to a cancellation.

The first thing to greet me in Bali was the heat. Despite being close to 10 pm, it was even more hot and muggy than Darwin. After passing through all the necessary rigmarole and paying the tourist visa, I exited the terminal and came face to face with at least 100 taxi/shuttle drivers. Some guys sat on the ground while others stood behind them. They all had a sheet of paper with someone’s name on it. Apparently everyone pre-booked their airport transfer like I did. After several minutes, I finally found the guy holding my name, which was incorrectly spelled by the way. Since I didn’t know if Liam had even left Darwin, I decided to go with taxi guy and check into my hostel.

Liam turned up at the hostel completely frazzled by his experience. His plane had been more than two hours delayed. Once he got through customs and immigration, he couldn’t find his taxi driver. I’m sure the poor guy waited for him and must’ve given up hope in the end. Liam had to fight his way past the illegitimate taxi drivers who constantly harassed him for a ride. Some from the airport finally directed him to a proper taxi when he looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The hair-raising ride from the airport to the hostel in the rain didn’t help matters either. Thankfully, he and I both made it in the end. What an introduction to Bali!

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Filed under Australia, Indonesia

Eating Banh Mi in Hot, Hot Darwin

When I arrived in Darwin, which is located in the Northern Territory, I knew it would be hot but didn’t prepare myself for the conditions. Compared with the breezy, cool temperatures in Melbourne, it felt like Darwin was trying to smother every living thing with its thick humidity.

Even though it was hotter than hell, I still wanted to do a bit of exploring so I ventured outside of the CBD in search of the weekend market. A relatively short bus ride away, I found a local market selling mostly food items and second-hand treasures. There were heaps of Asian food stalls selling all kinds of delicious-looking snacks. After a few circuits around the food area, I finally decided on a banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich, and a fresh fruit smoothie. Delicious!

As I sat in the shade and ate, I wondered how people could really survive up here all year long. Today’s temperature wasn’t extraordinarily high for the region, but I was melting. To think that it could get hotter blew my mind. The blazing sun plus the high humidity quickly drains all of your energy. How people can even function in this weather is an insane to me. People up in the Northern Territory must be from good stock and able to withstand all that Mother Nature throws at them.

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Filed under Australia, Food, Nature

Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne

Even though I have no room in my backpack for more stuff, that doesn’t stop me from checking out Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. It’s supposed to be filled with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, souvenirs and clothes.

When I arrive, I visit the produce, meat and seafood sections. It’s chock-a-block with people trying to pick up their weekly groceries. The prices here seem better than the big chain supermarkets so I can understand why people would rather get their fruit and veg here. The selection of fresh meat and seafood seems extensive and is likely a better priced than the supermarkets as well.

However, I was a little disappointed by their clothes, electronics and souvenir sections. Everything looked like it was imported from overseas and not handmade by local vendors. Many of the items were not unique and sold at several booths. This side of the market was very touristy and I didn’t really enjoy it. Despite this, I still reckon the Queen Victoria Market is a place to visit while you’re in the city.

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Filed under Attraction, Australia, Food