The Kookaburra & The Greyhound
Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
85Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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left to do, but hang around Airlie Beach all day. Given the weather at first
(and that fact that I'd checked out of my room at 7am), that wasn’t a
particularly enticing prospect, but, as mentioned before, the weather did clear
up and, while I was left regretting not going, the day wasn’t so bad.
The time of the bus trip down to Hervey Bay was at an
awkward time. At 7pm, it was a little too early for dinner, but I had to eat
something as it was a 13 hour trip. The only solution (and I hate to admit it)
was to go to Macca’s (McDonald’s). This in itself is not exceptional, but while
I was eating my burger on the terrace, suddenly I got a face full of feathers.
When I recovered from the shock I saw a kookaburra flying away (the very same
kookaburra that had stolen somebody’s chicken nuggets). I still had my burger
in my hand and was triumphant that the kookaburra hadn’t managed to steal my
burger, but then the kookaburra landed on a nearby roof and was clearly 'killing’
and eating something... my burger! What had happened was that I’d had a tight
grip on my burger, so when the kookaburra swooped down to steal it, it didn’t
manage to take it all, but it had managed to take some. "F**ker!" was my
reaction. But then the kookaburra started staring intently at the rest of my
burger, at which point I started to get a little nervous and wolfed down the
rest of my burger before I had to fight off the kookaburra for it!
Getting the bus turned out to be a bit of a struggle as
well. First, it was two hours late. We, the passengers, were in the middle of nowhere with no shops nearby for food or water. Then we were attacked by a plague of midges. Maybe not such a big problem, but very uncomfortable as they go everywhere, up your nose, in your
mouth, in your eyes... We all spent an hour just slapping ourselves silly as we
tried to get rid of them. When the bus finally did arrive, the driver was an
arsehole, who seemed to have a massive chip on his shoulder – haranguing all
the backpackers for not listening to him when giving instructions, when, in
fact, it’s hard to hear someone when they are whispering instructions.
The bus was supposed to be a 5 star bus, but all this meant
was that there wasn’t enough space in the overhead rack to put our hand luggage.
There was only space for flat bags like briefcases, which made me wonder about
the logic of it all, the bus was clearly designed for businessmen, but what
businessman in his right mind is going to take the Greyhound, when his company
will stump up the cash for a plane ticket? No wonder Greyhound was in financial
trouble! In trying to expand into a non-existent market, they were alienating
their core market.
Once I was on the bus, I fell, almost instantly, asleep.
That would have been all she wrote but I was rudely awakened by the blaring horn
of the coach. At first, I just assumed the driver was alerting someone to our
presence, but the horn went on and on...and on...and on – for a brief moment I
thought we were going to crash, but fortunately that feeling passed; no, the
horn seemed to be stuck! We drove for five
minutes with the horn blaring away, naturally, sleep was impossible. When it
did stop (I neither knew nor cared how or why), all our nerves were frayed and
it took some time to get back to the land of Nod. Of course, after about an
hour, the horn went off again. I
started to suspect that this was a deliberate ploy by the arsehole driver – if he
couldn’t sleep, why should we? This happened four or five times during the
journey; I was ready to shoot somebody. The reason why I suspect it was
deliberate was that when the sun came up (at about 5am) and mostly everyone was
awake, it didn’t happen again.
I was so frazzled on my arrival that when I called the
hostel to come pick me up at the bus depot, they asked where I’d come from and
I couldn’t remember. It had been a
long day and night, but at least I’d arrived safely in Hervey Bay. Then I looked around
Hervey Bay and I kind of wished I hadn’t! As disappointments went, this was a big
one. There really was nothing here. The worst part, I was going to be here for
four nights! Fraser Island, the reason why I was here, had better be worth it.