Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Krispy Kremes Down Under, Baby Vomit, and US's eternal conflict with... Canada?

September 16: Today certainly hasn't had too many horrible incidences so far, but I wouldn't say it has gone off without a hitch. I have managed to laugh my way through it all though, which I suppose is a good thing. It started off this morning when I got up. I got up a little later than I meant to, for the first day, I actually could have slept in (for some reason, every morning, I have been waking up around 7). I had already packed most everything and planned to just use the small towel provided by the hostel for the shower so that I could cram my towel into my packing. I got up, gathered my clothes, and went to take a shower. Almost at the end of it, I realized I had completely forgotten to get this smaller towel from the hanger in my room and was now down the hall from it without any way of drying off. Being resourceful and ever vigilant not to freak out when I have lots of things to do, I used my clothes I had been wearing to the shower to dry off with. This, of course, isn't ideal and wasn't the most pleasant shower experience I've had, but I got dry enough to put my other clothes on and make it to my room to sop up my dripping hair. Dressed and packed, I went downstairs, leaving behind some of the food I had bought that was not easily packable for my new roommate (who was the sweetest one I've had, from Korea, and has been offering me food and Korea candy since she moved in last night), as well as two boxes I bought at the post that totaled 7 bucks (I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't need them yet, and there was no way to fit them in anything). I grabbed my bags and pillow case and went downstairs to check out. I was a little early (as usual), so after check out, I had to hang around for the shuttle to pick me up at 10 minutes after 10am. I have the ticket out in my hand so I will be ready. As usual, with idle time, my mind begins wandering, and I begin to question if I remembered to pack things like my converter or my phone. I begin rummaging through my carefully packed and basically spring loaded bags, having to repack after my neurotic self identifies each thing that I knew I had already packed, but was second guessing. After doing this about 4 times, I realize I now do not know where my shuttle ticket is. I looked on the ground and the couch around me, then I begin again rummaging through bags. I locate it wadded up in some carry-on clothing. I decide to stop doing this and instead watch the circle of French and Norwegian smokers blocking the entrance to the hostel outside with a cloud of smoke and hipster clothing. Finally, the shuttle arrives about 25 after, and I am loaded on an almost completely full van. I am sad about leaving Sydney. I have to admit that besides the Koala Sanctuary, there is not a lot I am looking forward to in Brisbane, and I also have several other things I want to do in Sydney when I return in December. I supposed I could have stayed a few days longer in Sydney, but everything is already booked, and like I said, I will have about 5 days at the end of my trip to become reacquainted with Sydney. The bus stops one more place and we pick up a family with a daughter and son going back to Brisbane. The children had to sit in the back behind me and the parents sat up front. I listened to the children play "I spy" in the back seat and remember doing stuff like that with my brother. Again, I am a little sad. I shake it off the best that I can, and watch the scenery of Sydney flying past me. At the airport, I am told my flight is delayed by 25 minutes and offered to get another flight. I tell them it is ok, after all, I don't have anything else scheduled today, and I cannot check in until 2pm anyway. I walk around the airport a while, openly laugh out loud when I see they are selling NC's own Krispy Kreme in the Sydney airport (I'm not so far from home after all), and locate the food court. I see a Hungry Jack's (their version of Burger King), but this is a no-no, so I grab a sausage roll and a hashbrown. I also spot this fabulous Australia delight, it was delicious! Grandma had warned me to be drinking my milk, and since this has the equivalent of calcium, it's the next best thing. After eating (and spotting more amazing M&Ms- have I mentioned this before? For some reason, Australia has better M&Ms than us, or at least more variety. There is a "mix-ups" bag that has three different kinds, and they also have orange and I picked up a crunchy mint today, it's excellent), I find a spot near my gate and begin people watching. The family from the shuttle is here too, but I find out they are boarding the flight before me. While that flight is boarding, a woman walks by me with a baby whispering "please down spit up." I look at the baby, who is salivating profusely, and like some skilled sniper, is able to time her move and accuracy with expert skill. A la Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents," the baby vomits right as the mother is walking past me, hitting the seat next to me and marking one of my carry on bags as hers forever. "Oh, no," the woman says, as she continues walking. She doesn't even noticed that her little darling has upchucked on my bag, but continues to line up for the plane. I laugh at the ridiculousness, grab my water bottle, and do the best I can to scrub the nastiness from my bag strap. I am currently still waiting to board the plane, schedule for boarding in about 10 minutes. I will let you know if the rest of my day is as delightfully comical as the first...

(later on) September 16: I am here is Brisbane, and trying to stay positive. I had booked a mixed dorm, but found out from the other girls in the room that it is all female (not that is really matters, but I was trying to experience something different. The girls kind of looked at me weird when I acted confused about their not being dudes in the room. Well, when I got there, it looked messy enough for them to be dudes!). One girl is from Sweden, the other is from Canada, and they tell me there is also two French, one Denmark. The Canadian said we were supposed to be enemies. With Canada? I hadn't heard this. Not the greatest first impression of the girl, but whatever. This hostel, at least compared to Base, is very crappy. But I am trying to stay positive and friendly. I finally did meet some Americans on the shuttle from the airport. They were middle aged ladies from North Dakota, and when I heard them talking to one another, I knew. I asked if they were from the states, and the lady hesitated, probably fearing some unwarranted retribution or remarks like Canada gave me, but I explained I was American too, and we began talking. They seemed to like me and were jealous of my trip. One of the ladies gave me $20 dollars before we parted and told me to get a nice dinner. It was only about 20 minutes, but it was kind of a recharge for me to see Americans (well, until Canada smashed it tonight- positive thoughts, Courtney. Positive thoughts.) I am trying to plan out my time in Brisbane so I will know what I am doing each day so I will have a countdown to Melbourne (and the Melbourne girls!) I think that tomorrow is going to be spent exploring the city. One (and maybe the one) good thing about this hostel is it has a free shuttle. Of course, if it had a better location, it wouldn't even need the free shuttle. Base Brisbane is smack in the middle of everything, but no, I wanted to branch out from Base (positive thoughts, huuuuuuu). Anyway, my general plan: Friday 17: wander aimlessly, make sure I make my way to the Botantical Gardens, find anything free that I can do. Saturday 18: XXXX Bar Tour and cookout (even though it's a Queenlander beer, according to people in Sydney) Sunday 19: Cat Ferry or dinner cruise Monday 20: Koala Sanctuary Tuesday 21: maybe squeeze in something quick in town, wash clothes and pack, reflect and plan Wednesday 22: Leave for Melbourne. I have enjoyed talking to the one French girls about her plans. She is going to rent a camper to drive up to Cairns and see the rain forests and such. She gave me some tips on tours to take to see the Blue Mountains when I come back around to Sydney. Anyway, I'm going to bed soon. G'day.

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