Arriving In Australia, Currumbin & Getting Introduced To Some Pelicans
In my last blog I made the most of the last day in Hong Kong by trying to visit as many unusual locations as I could in 24 hours. It had been an exhausting day full of excitement, oddity and a little danger! Having got back to the hostel in the early hours of the next morning I got what sleep I could before my flight. It was time for me to head to Australia with the plan of spending at least a year living and working over there. If it went really well I had considered the possibility of moving there permanently. But more on that later...
There is a delicate balance to consider when it comes to me flying. On one hand me paralysing fear of planes hadn't left me on the trips I had taken over the past few years but another side of me relished the challenge to get cheap flights even if it make taking considerable diversions. So instead of taking a direct flight to the Gold Coast which would take around 9 hours it was much cheaper to go via Papua New Guinea. A place that is on my list to visit in future. The first flight to reach it was the usual cocktail of fear mixed with anxiety but all in all rather uneventful. I landed spending my time in a tiny and uninspiring waiting room wishing to get a glimpse at the exotic world beyond.
My knees jittered with the anticipation of another flight annoying the people around me. After several hours it was time to board the next flight on Papua New Guinea air. We all got into our seats, my mind noting how old the plane looked and re-assuring myself that it would still be very safe. I was sat on a row on my own and choose the seat closest to the aisle to I could escape if needed. The safety procedure was gone through and off we took to the skies. It was worse this time, I'm not sure why but it was much worse. Drained of energy from the last flight I shook and gripped onto the armrests either side of my seat. While in our gradual take off I couldn't help eavesdrop on the conversation taking place in the seats in front of me.
The worse conversation you can hear on an airplane was taking place. I turned out that a flight a few months before on this airline had come into land, undershot the runway and crashed into the ocean below. The plane then gradually began to sink as local fisherman frantically pulled people from the wreckage. My fear took to new heights as I paced around the small aircraft. Eventually I got distracted chatting away to a flight attendant. I had met Carlos and our conversation saved the flight for me that day. We chatted away for hours, flight time disappearing. I learned about his home in Papua New Guinea and we exchanged stories before it was time to land.
Once I had landed in the Gold Coast I breathed a sign of relief and made my way out of the airport. I was met by my uncle Marcus who I hadn't seen in a long time. I was kitted out in a jumper, jeans and a pair of vans looking at him in nothing but a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. As soon as I came out of the airport I knew why. The heat hit me with full force, the sun overhead brining the temperature up to 35 degrees. We got in his air conditioned car and headed back to their home in Surfers Paradise where I would be staying while I got organised.
I ended up staying with Marcus, Lorraine and my cousin sky far longer than expected. In the end I think I outstayed my welcome and may have been a bit irritating as I'm not an easy person to live with! I saw great change in my personality over my year in Australia but at this moment I had a few obvious shortcomings. I had never lived with anyone other than my parents before and didn't know how to use a dishwasher, washing machine or look after myself really.
But I would learn over this year and become independent for the first time in my life. Although it was slightly bitter sweet towards the end as the pushed me on to start actually exploring Australia rather than planning in my bedroom I had some great first memories with them.
I started to adapt to ozzie lifestyle and the eat eventually being convinced to swap my trainers out for flip flops. I got to experience the new life they had created out here since leaving England. A new world for me of barbeques, sunbathing and parties. We visited some great spots too. I got the chance to visit Currumbin wildlife park a small home to Australian wildlife getting introduced to my first koalas. Kangaroos became a common sight as we took car trips around and they would occasionally run across the road in front.
We headed into the city and visited the tourist spots before enjoying time on the Gold Coasts endless sandy beaches. It felt wonderful to be out in the sun soaking it in with my mood picking up by the day. In the evening me and Sky would head out on the town to drink cocktails. I would return to my bed to find the families two dogs Misty and Miskcha on the floor or taking over the bed!
Sights common to locals were completely new to me. Nearby a local fishmongers fed it scraps to pelicans each day at noon. They flew in from miles around like small aircraft before gulping fish heads. I began to wonder round to explore finding snakes, spiders, pesky house flies, lizards, birds and giant bats that would emerge out of bushes to scare me.
With some of my savings I bought a campervan. I dreamed of doing an entire loop of Australia sleeping in the back of it. I kitted my van out with pictures and stored my belonging under the wooden bed within. A few Christmas lights were the final touch and I was ready to set off!
It had taken me a very long time and I'd spent far too much of my savings already but finally I felt ready. It was time to begin my adventure, the new camper my vessel for the journey. I had nicknamed her eVANgeline and together we were about to embark on our first trip into the outback together. If I survived this first trip I would head north and see where I ended up.
In my next blog Evangeline and I take our first trip into the outback in search of Springbrook National Park. On the way experiencing running out of petrol, huge snakes and a man made pyramid in the middle of nowhere!