Tag Archives: airport shuttle bus

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

Returning Home to Mission Beach

While sitting in an underground food court in Sydney having Chinese takeaway amidst the bustling lunchtime crowd of Sydneysiders and tourists, I managed to contact Tanya from Cassowary Coast Wildlife Shelter in Mission Beach to make arrangements for me to volunteer there. I was extremely excited to return to Mission Beach, a place I considered a home away from home the last time I visited. I had fond memories of the area, even though I didn’t stay for very long, and looked forward to helping the community.

On the day of my flight from Sydney to Cairns, I waited till the last possible second to check out of my hostel and walked to Central Station where I caught a train to the airport. Check in and security were a breeze so I spent most of my time people watching while devouring a quick Maccas meal.

Airports are interesting places as they force people from all walks of life together. I used to hate them (even having to pick someone up at Honolulu International Airport was slightly traumatic) because I feared getting lost in the frenzy, but now I quite possibly enjoy them. On their own they are sterile, but all the transiting people bring them to life and create an excitement and energy that are almost tangible.

My three-hour flight to Cairns was uneventful and I spent most of the time reading. I lucked out and got a row to myself so I was able to stretch out a bit. In Cairns, I collected my things and made my way over to the airport shuttle bus pick-up point. It was a short wait and an even shorter ride to the CBD, where the driver dropped me off near the Cairns Esplanade.

To kill some time before my Greyhound bus to Mission Beach, I ate ice cream and read a bit more. It’s a good thing I have an external power station (thanks Deb!) to keep my electronics alive! It’s just another thing to carry but is definitely worth it.

By the time I boarded the bus, it was dark and there was nothing to see. I arrived in Mission Beach more than two-and-a-half hours later (the bus was running 30 minutes late) and tentatively stepped off the bus. Tanya agreed to meet me there, but all I saw was the usual backpacker shuttles waiting to pick up their guests. As I was getting my things from under the bus, an SUV screeched into the parking lot and out popped Tanya.

When we reached her home, which also serves as the shelter, I met her two human children as well as her furred babies. Some of them even hopped up to greet me and make me feel at home. She cared for small lot of agile wallabies, an eastern grey kangaroo and a wallaroo. I anticipated a very hand’s on approach to learning about Australia’s native wildlife and couldn’t wait to begin.

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Filed under Australia, Transportation

Last Days in London

My last days in London are a bit of a blur. I returned to the hostel near Regent’s Park where I’d been staying before, but I decided to splurge on a single room. What I didn’t realize was that the room was in a completely different building, but I still had to return to the main one to use my free meal voucher. Epic fail when you’re unwell and must walk 10 minutes in the cold just to get food.

However, it was a good idea to splash out on a single room as it came with a small fridge, sink and all the privacy I’d become accustomed to at Ross and Gill’s place. I still had to use shared shower and toilets, but I barely ran into anyone in the halls let alone in the bathroom.

I spent my last few days in London reading books in blissful isolation. When I ventured outside, it was to take a stroll through one of London’s many parks or go to a museum. I finally got around to visiting the Natural History Museum, which was very impressive and had incredible exhibits for adults and children. On another day, I walked around Notting Hill and browsed Portobello Road. Most of all, I just took in the atmosphere of the city by walking through different neighborhoods and stopping at local cafes and shops for food.

I must admit that after being on the road alone for so long, I was suffering from a bit of travel fatigue and feeling burned out. I was not motivated to look into tours or figure out how to get outside of the city to visit places like Oxford. While I know it’s not necessary to be up and doing things all the time, it felt like a waste of time paying for food and accommodation but not really seeing much of England. However, I figured I’d just have to come back to see the rest of the country another time.

The day before my flight out of England, I transferred to a hostel that was closer to the bus stop for the shuttle taking me to Gatwick Airport. Because my flight was extremely early in the morning, it was still dark when I checked out of the hostel. Surprisingly, there were actually heaps of other people waiting when I got to the bus stop. Within a few short hours, I was on the plane and saying goodbye to England.

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Filed under Accommodation, Attraction, England, Transportation