It has been brought to my attention that HOW I travel, the little details I take for granted, are completely mysterious unless you are living on my shoulder, which I forget sometimes you are not. Here’s my travel day play by play.
11 am, Launceston, Tasmania. Hmmm. Where am I going to sleep tonight? Google “hostel Cairns” and find Dreamtime. Crosscheck with reviews on tripadvisor. Call hostel in Cairns to book room for the night.
12 pm, Launceston, Tasmania. Wander museum and drink a macchiatto in the cafe (instead of my usual mocha), which I discover in Australia is the size of a thimble. I pretend to be sophisticated and not mind.
1:30 pm, Launceston, Tasmania. Graze the free food shelf at the hostel for lunch then impatiently pace outside waiting for the airport shuttle.
2:05 pm, Launceston Airport. Just like at the Melbourne airport NO ONE checks my ID. Not once. I don’t know if this is okay.
I go to the restroom and peel off my long johns for the first time in two weeks. I take a moment to reacquaint myself with my legs. I can feel the warm times coming.
6 pm-ish, Brisbane. I am the first person to walk off the plane. This is so cool. I have never been the first person to walk off a plane. It feels like I am leading a parade. Where is my baton?
7 pm-ish. Flight delayed.
Miraculously there is free wifi at the Brisbane airport. I eat a $5 cup of greek yogurt and check my email. There’s one from the hostel in Cairns with instructions for how to
break in get in after hours. Security code to the gate, the safe where my keys will be, etc, etc.
A man in batman costume walks into the boarding area and sits down at a cafe. He looks bored. How did he get by security? This would never “fly” at LAX. People shake their heads, a few Japanese tourists ask him to pose for a photo.
We eventually board the plane forty minutes behind schedule.
12:15 am, Cairns. It’s warm. At midnight. Yes! I wait at bus port #6 for my shuttle. No one else is waiting with me. This is always a bad sign. My cell phone rings. The shuttle company tells me they are very sorry but they don’t run after midnight. (!)
12:16 am. I board another shuttle, the only shuttle available. They take $5 instead of $15 because I am fumbling around in my bag too long looking for a smaller bill and they don’t feel like making change from a $50. Awesome.
1 am, Cairns, Dreamtime Hostel. It’s drizzly and dark and there are palm plants and the smell of frangipani everywhere. I fumble around punching codes into boxes. I feel like a spy in the jungle. I follow directions and find the safe. There are two keys. One attached to a number, one attached to a boomerang. No instructions. I go with the first one.
1:10 am, I walk upstairs to find this. This is the lounge outside my dorm room. Well, not exactly this. I lifted this photo from tripadvisor, but basically this. It’s adorable. And yes, this is a hostel. See, they’re not all crazy party houses.
Here’s my bed (in the daylight). It’s adorable, too.
8 am. In bed. I open one eye to see a 20 yr old guy walking by my bed brushing his teeth on the way out the door. Completely forgot I’d booked a coed room (typical). At least he is cute, if barely 20, which is where I start to feel old. I could technically be his mother, or his high school teacher. Am I even allowed to think he’s cute? The line’s blurry.
10 am. Wander downstairs bleary eyed and still in pajamas to officially check in. They hand me a spreadsheet that will help me plan my week. I am not a person who plans things. I wander aimlessly discovering fun and random things, like these bats, aka flying foxes, in the cool trees outside the Cairns Public Library.
But in Cairns, thanks to the wonderfully organized hostel people, my week has direction! tours! excursions! I browse brochures and they patiently explain and book everything for me. Amazing.
I can’t wait until tomorrow morning when someone will put me on a bus and TAKE ME TO THE RAINFOREST!