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Reisverslag First story from Cairns!
3 december 2015
First story from Cairns!
I’m in Hong Kong at the moment, half way through my layover, but let me start at the beginning!
Yesterday I had to be at the airport at 12:45pm, which meant I had to be there around 9:45am at least, but I wanted to leave on time. Sunday had been a very stormy day in the Netherlands and I didn’t want to have any surprises with the train, like fallen leaves on the tracks or something. Besides my dad had to leave early for Rotterdam, for a training, so we left at the same time.
I took the 7:15am bus to the trainstation and I was at the airport around 9am, where I had to go to the bathroom first, it’s kind of a ritual!
I had already checked in online, so I didn’t need a boardingpass, I just needed a place to drop off my bags. The boardingpass told me where I had to go, but it turned out that these desks were for Easyjet. One of our cheaper airlines for Europe, so they were not what I needed. Turned out that usually Cathay Pacific was at those desks, but they had moved. Luckily not too far away.
I could only bring 20 kilo in my suitcase. I had bought a new one, because I have a 70 and a 50 cm suitcase, but the one is too big and the other is too small. This one fits right in the middle and when I saw it I thought my stuff was never going to fit in there, but when everything was in, I still had some space left, made me think I had forgotten something! Turned out that I have about 15 kilo in my suitcase. I read somewhere that if you can’t carry your own suitcase you have packed too much, which I think is a good standard. This 15 kilo should not be more though, but I haven’t packed that many books, that’s probably why it doesn’t weigh more! No I have only packed 3 books, can you believe it?! Two of which I’m going to leave behind in hostels. But only two books for a 2 month vacation is definitely not enough! So I have downloaded an e-reader app onto my tablet, where I can get free books and my aunt and uncle gave me a usb stick with at least 1000 books on it, so I will have enough to read to last me this vacation and some more!! This doesn’t mean I’m going to give up reading regular books, I need to feel and smell real books, but we’ll just see how it goes and if I really like it! So far it definitely saved me some kilo’s!
For Australia I had to get a visa, which the website where I had booked my ticket provided for me. But it was kind of strange, all I had to send them in an email was a copy of my passport and the answer to the question of wether or not I had been in trouble with the law before. Then all I got in return was an email with the details of this visa. When I went to Russia, I had to send my passport to the embassy and they had pasted a visa in it, so I wasn’t quite sure if this would work, but the lady a the desk said that she could see that I had it, so it was alright!
So around 9:30am I was done and I went to have some breakfast with my mom, who had also come to the airport. I had to be at the gate at 12pm latest, so I left around 11am. The cue for going through security was getting longer and longer and I didn’t want to risk being late. But in the end things went pretty fast and smooth, the gate was closer then I had thought so I actually got there at 11:20am! Which turned out to be way too early, because for some reason we didn’t start boarding until a quarter to 1…the time we should have been up in the air already!
I had booked a seat at a “wall” in the plane so to speak, which meant I would have more space for my legs, because there would be no other seat in front of me. Only downside is, that the babies berths are hung on these walls as well and sure enough, my neighbors were a couple with a baby….someone had suggested asking for another seat, while there were still some empty ones. So I asked a flight attendant if I could move. Unfortunately the same seat wasn’t available, but she had an aisle seat with an empty seat in the middle, so I took that one, also more legroom and the middle seat was free to put my bags up onto! At the window was a woman who didn’t speak English and since I didn’t speak Chinese it was going to be a quiet flight!
I don’t know what time we left exactly, but we arrived in Hong Kong on time, so I don’t care. We got a menu so we could read what to choose from for lunch. It was either chicken with gnocchi (pasta) or pork with rice. I had already seen the chicken, didn’t like it, so I went for the pork. I’m not a fan of pork, but sometimes it can be nice…not this time! Yuk, it still had the fat on it and all…so I just ate the vegetables and the rice. There was a quinoa salad with smoked salmon, which really didn’t taste good, so I just at the bun instead. Which by the way also looked like something had gone wrong in the kitchen…
Anyway, I didn’t manage to get a lot of sleep, did see 3 and a half movies though! I started out with “The second best Marigold Hotel” which was as funny as the first one! Then I watched “Boychoir” my dad had seen it, but I didn’t think it was all that good. After that I watched the “Kingsmen: Secret service” which had a lot more blood in it then I had expected! And the half was of “Inside Out” an animation about the emotions you have and a look inside your head actually, I thought it was pretty funny! Hope they also have it on the next flight so I can finish it!
So we were in Hong Kong around a quarter to 7am this morning. I went straight to the departures hall to find the Plaza Premium Lounge. I found it and told them that I had tried to book a private resting area online, but that didn’t work. So I had send an email and I was told that the allotted time I wanted was already booked, they suggested to book the Lounge use online, which I had tried to do while I was still at Schiphol, but that didn’t work either. And guess what?! She called and they still had something available at 12noon!! So I booked that space right away, from 12noon to 5pm.
After that I walked around at the airport, had a slice of pizza for breakfast. This airport is a new one, I’m not sure if it is instead of the old one or an extra airport. At first I didn’t think it was all that big, until I walked over to see what was on the other side! Wow, so this is where all of the boutiques were! Chanel, cartier, burberry, you name it! Too expensive for my taste, but when there’s nothing better to do, it is always nice to look around.
Then I went to get some tea and bananabread and I found a chair to sit down and write in my travel diary. Around a quarter to 12 I went back to the lounge, the person that sold me the package said I could go into the room around that time when it was ready. Unfortunately the room wasn’t ready when I came. The person that was in there before me had apparently forgotten to set their alarm, because he/she left late. And after that they wanted to clean the room for me. So I didn’t go into the room until 12:30pm, but the lady was nice enough to give me some more time, so I could stay there until 6pm, which was fine with me!
The room looked pretty good, it was one room with 2 separate beds and a bathroom with shower. The beds weren’t really beds though…they were more like wooden tables with thin, hard matrasses on them. So everytime you turned around it made a noise…. But I was too tired to care about that, thought I just had to close my eyes and I would be gone…not..
It was all very noisy outside and I could hear everything. At some point some kid was crying it’s eyes out, just when I was really gone…that was not funny! There was a sign in the hallway that said that people should be quiet, because of other people sleeping, but the lady at the desk was wearing high heels and there were tiles on the floor…how can she keep silent with that???
Anyway, I was in bed from 12:30 until about a quarter to 5pm. Then I took a nice shower, it had this big shower head, really cool! After that I wanted to know where I could get the food and drink that came with this package and at the desk was yet another person I had to ask this question to.
So I went to the lounge and found some nice comfortable chairs, tea, cookies and small springrolls, great! Only of course here was also a wailing, nagging kid!!! Too bad, the chair was really comfy and I could write my blog story there. At one point three men from India came into the room with all of the stuff they had bought there and they talked to each other like they were the only people in the room, really annoying. That was my cue to leave! My flight was at 9:25pm, so I still had some time to kill. I had already seen all of the shops, so when I finally saw what gate I was to leave from I went there to sit down and read my book.
I don’t know why but before we went onto the plane there was a security check for handbags. From the lounge I had brought two bottles of water, which I had already brought down to one, but now with this security check we saw them take out all bottles of water. Since I wanted to keep my bottle to refill when needed I gulped down all the water in it. Fortunately I was able to keep the empty bottle, I thought I would have to give that to them as well! Don’t understand what they were looking for exactly, they hardly opened up my backpack and I don’t think they really saw anything. Apart from the water bottles then maybe.
For this flight I had also booked a seat near a wall, this time there were no baby berths, but a very fat Chinese man sitting in my seat by the window. Which didn’t really bother me, because in the end an aisle seat is better. But then there was another passenger that had the number of the seat I was sitting in, so we asked the Chinese guy to check his number and it turned out he was in the wrong seat all together. Glad I didn’t have to sit next to him, he made all kinds of weird noises too!
The other guy was nice, but it turned out that he made weird noises too! After his meals he was cleaning his teeth or something, weird!
O well, we left about 20 minutes later than planned, but we arrived in Cairns on time. I think planes are meant to be leaving late for some reason!
As soon as we were well up in the air, I had to go to the bathroom of course! This was a smaller plane then for the first trip, this bathroom had music playing as soon as I locked the door, that was funny. But a smaller plane also meant there were less bathrooms, so later on we all had to stand in line, which was not funny.
This time I only watched one movie, “Mr.Holmes” about Sherlock Holmes trying to remember if he had solved his last case. It was pretty good, Ian McKellen (Harry Potter, Lord of the rings) played Mr.Holmes. They didn’t have the Inside Out movie, otherwise I would’ve watched that one.
I slept a little more on this flight, if you can really call it sleeping, it is more sitting in your chair with your eyes closed, trying to find a comfortable position to do this in!
We got menu’s again, choice between chicken or beef this time. I took the chicken, because I had already eaten rice on the first flight. But this chicken was not very tasty either, it looked like they had left all of the white chewy parts on the chicken and the mashed potatoes still contained one full potato…the salad was corn with carrots and raisins and I think there were mustard seeds in there too, strange combination!
We arrived in Cairns on Wednesday morning around 6:30am. I got my suitcase pretty quickly, easy to spot, mine’s the only one with rainbow colors on them!! There was a guy walking around with a dog to sniff and see if anyone brought anything they weren’t supposed to. The dog was on a long leash and walked by before me, while the guy was walking by behind me, so I kind of got caught up in the leash, that was kind of funny!
When I got into the arrivals hall, someone pointed out to me where I should go to meet my bus transfer. It wasn’t all that far away, it was at the domestic flight terminal. The bus wasn’t there yet, but one was coming every half hour. I had to wait until 8am for the next one to come, which wasn’t too bad. It already felt kind of tropical, it was 24 degrees Celsius already, blue sky, palmtrees, birds singing, very nice!
I’m not thinking about driving a car here, I’m not used to driving on the left hand side, it’s is going to be very hot here and the distances are just too long really, but after sitting on this bus I’m really glad I’m not going to drive here! If this is the way all Australians drive, I’m going to be pretty safe staying off of the roads!! My god, he was driving like a madman!
Fortunately it didn’t take that long to get to the hostel and my room was ready also, so at around 8:30am I was all settled in! I have booked a private room with bathroom, which I thought was a bit of well deserved luxury and as it turned out also good fortune, because they are renovating communal bathrooms at the moment, so people can only use the ones downstairs, but that doesn’t bother me, because I have my own!!! Great!!
I was still in time to have some free pancakes, so I went down to try some. Sorry, but I like my own pancakes better, these were just like the ones they have in the US, think and chewy…but it was free and I just wanted to give them a try, so it was alright.
After that I changed my clothes and walked over to the shopping mall, which is really just across the street from the hostel! Before I left I had read about a pre-paid internet dongle which I can use to skype and app with my family back home. The hostel has wifi, but the free wifi only works in one area and to have something in my room I would have to pay for it. Plus I read that Telstra has the best connection across the country, so this was better. And there was a Telstra store right here in this mall, so it couldn’t get any better!
I did have one question before I bought it, I wanted to know if the dongle was simlockfree, so I could also use it when I was in the US for instance. The girl at the Telstra store checked it for me and it turned out that it wasn’t, but she directed me to an appliance store and said they should have one, so I could come back to buy the simcard.
So I went to the other store and this guy told me that there is no simfree dongle…because they are Telstra dealers, they only sell the locked ones…which they should have known at the Telstra store…he said I could probably buy one online, but that would be pretty expensive, plus how was I going to get it??
So I decided to buy the dongle from him, at the end of the trip I can either try to make it simlockfree or I can sell it to someone else. I had a pretty good conversation with this guy, as soon as he saw where I was from, he told me that his grandparents were from Rotterdam and his wife’s family was also from the Netherlands. He hadn’t been there yet, so I told him he should definitely try to go there once! After my purchase I went and had some lunch in this huge food court. I have already seen some great bookshops, but I have managed not to buy anything yet! I did get some breakfast things at the supermarket for the next couple of days.
At around noon I was done for the day, so I went back to the hostel to take a nap. I had meant to set my alarm, but I had forgotten to turn it on and I woke up around 2pm because housekeeping was knocking on my door!
I was just soo tired that I went back to bed for another hour, this time I did turn on my alarm. When I got up I took my tablet and sat in a lounge near the kitchen to write a bit. Then it started to rain!! It had also rained while I was asleep but hadn’t noticed that of course. It rained all night, really hard too!
Around 6pm I thought I would give that dongle thing a try. So I set it up and send a message to my dad to see if we could try Skype. And it worked!!! It took a while, but we were able to talk to eachother for a while and I could show him my surroundings through the camera, that was pretty cool!!
Then I went to the foodcourt in the mall, to get something to eat, but all the stalls were closed already, so then I went to the supermarket to get a salad. After dinner I also tried to skype with my mom, but she couldn’t get the program to start up, so we’re going to try again some other day. It was almost 9pm and I just wanted to go back to bed again!
5 december 2015 15:09 | Door: Doris Edwards
Did you get this reply? Instructions in Dutch so I guessed. Hurray for you...off on your adventures. Just getting there is a big one. Have fun. Write again soon. Love, Doe
8 december 2015 10:49 | Door: Linda
Hi Doris, Yes I got this message, you did good, thank you!! Second story is on it's way! Love Linda