Greyhound'ing - Not at all like Dogging
Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
132Trip End Jan 04, 2012
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Where I stayed
X Base, Airlie Beach
I refer to it as Greyhounding as this is what the nice lady at the YHA called it this morning. I found it funny and being slightly immature, sniggered to myself and hence the title.
We left Travellers Oasis bright and early after our last night doing nothing. The only thing that put a proper sour note on an otherwise uneventful stay is what can only be described as 'Vending Machine Gate'. This is the chain of events that left me $4.80 short and without two packets of crisps, neither of which I actually wanted.
Post dinner, Kate got munchies. I did also, but I was happy with an overpriced twix from the machine - no problems except that it came out melted to oblivion. I decided I'd eat it once it had cooled in our fridge. Kate went for the largest packet of crisps she could see and sitting back a few feet from the machine, I could only judge the outcome from Kates reaction. It was a mixture of shock and anger, with a touch of serial killer. The crisps had become jammed. I offered a solution, but suggested it could lead to more turmoil.
"Well at work, we normally see this as a bit of a bonus scoop - you can use another sweet or crisps higher above and knock the first through"
"Do you want some crisps?"
"Not really but I'll take them for tommorow?"
"So what flavour out of salt and vinegar flat, or salt and vinegar crinkly?"
"I don't care as I didn't want them anyway"
Kate puts in the $2.40 and then gasps in disgust as the second packet floats down and slides off the first wedging itself alongside.
"There is no chance I am paying a further $2.40 for a third attempt - this is karma"
In the morning, I noted someone else had been successful at pinching one of our two bags. Kudos to them, although I do have a slight wanting to dig them in the ribs.
I explained our issue to the desk however the machine is owned by Coca Cola or someone - who has a stupid name like that?! We would have to go without. Kate wasn't happy and wanted me to start a war with the hostel - I suggested she could do it herself and she quickly withdrew hostilities.
We checked out and walked through town to the Greyhound stop (a coach company that serves the majority of Australia). We arrived and managed to get onboard after a really nice but somewhat stickly Bus driver allowed us. Gordon was a wonderful driver, and gave plenty of nice tidbits of information along his stretch of the journey between Cairns and Townsville but he was a bit of an ass when people didn't do things the way he liked to do it. He laid into a couple of girls who turned up with their booking number and ID (which I have been advised in the past is fine) instead of their ticket and he ripped them a new one. A girl who misunderstood that we were only stopping for a 5 minute comfort break for a lunchbreak and ordered food was verbally assaulted in front of the Coach by Gordon in order to break her. He kept repeating that he added the break in himself to be nice to 'us folk' as a kind gesture and that the fact these two had misunderstood was some kind of slight on him. He went way over the top and didn't do himself any justice. A nice man, but pretty much everyone thought he was a bit of a dick post onslaught. The English girl at fault stood her ground and even though I thought her a bit prim and haughty, she at least defended herself saying "there was no need to be rude about it". She was right.
Greyhound have a way in which they like things to be done. Don't put your bags on the bus yourself, they like to stack them. Don't take milk drinks onboard - "They join with the fabric", apparently. "Wear shoes when getting off the bus"...etc etc. Don't mess or you'll be in trouble. The drivers, Gordon and Mick were nice blokes but a little old fashioned, hence the need to be sticklers and I guess the need to wear socks pulled up to thier knees.
The journey in to Airlie wasn't too bad and not as bad as some we have had. The journey went relatively quickly considering it was a good 12 hour trip during the day. Greyhound stops pretty often which is a good thing during the day but I guess it would be a bit irritating at night.
We pulled over at a garage with a big Boot as a highlight and at a small town who's claim to fame (Caldwell) is that it got ravaged last year by a huge swell of a tide and photos in the local cafe show "the day that the sea came to town".
The roads are empty, the queensland coast is mainly barren bar banana and sugar plantations and the driving is pretty slow - but we were somewhat entertained by a Paul Hogan film for about an hour before the DVD player gave in. All in all not too bad.
Getting in to Airlie after dark (6.50pm) we walked along Shute Road past a lot of the hostels and found Base, our hostel for the next two nights. We booked a dorm for the first time in order to save some money to counter our sailing trip in the Whitsundays. We shared the first night with a couple of nice Canadians and a Finnish girl and had a brief conversation before hitting the hay. It's something we've missed out on slightly by going 'private' as we are not forced into positions where we have to mingle - it's nice to learn from travellers around you and to interact from different points of view.
We'll be doing a few odd jobs around Airlie Beach town tommorow planning the next parts of the trip and we'll pop into the mad-made lagoon on advice from the Canadians - "It's pretty cool, Eh".