Welcome to Tasmania, hope you enjoy walking

A fairly busy day travelwise. I woke early, used up all my internet credit at the hostel and very gratefully accepted both lunch and a lift to the airport from Mel. Thank you – you’re a sweetheart! To brighten my morning further, a small songbird actually walked up to my fingers and pecked at me as I was stood by the car. It seemed utterly unafraid, almost tame. A very surreal and very nice moment.

My flight was only delayed 15 minutes and as ever the Virgin Blue cabin crew were superb. “Please refrain from using any MP3 players, phones or laptops during takeoff as they can interfere with the captain’s pacemaker.” The only flight crew I’ve ever known who regularly get an ovation.

During the flight, I had a good natter to a young lady off to Melbourne for work. Sorry, I didn’t get your name but I do hope you get the time to go to Draculas!

I only had an hour for my connecting flight, so I decided against an overpriced airport meal and reluctantly paid $2.20 for a Mars Bar to tide me over till I got to Launceston. This was to prove a mistake…

The flight landed early on Tasmania, and we queued for our luggage. No carousel here. Instead, the luggage is driven up to a driveway on the back of a truck and customers pile in and collect it direct!

Outside, I queued for the airport shuttle bus along with a few other people… until one of the airport staff told us that he bus wouldn’t be coming. This despite one of the people in the queue contacting them earlier in the day to make a booking and being told she wouldn’t need one as the bus collects from all incoming flights.

Great.

So a group of us ordered a maxi-taxi to save on money. It didn’t show. We checked with a taxi driver who said he’d radio in and ask where it was. Half an hour later, another taxi driver promised the same. A third – almost an hour later – told us that one hadn’t been ordered. Two of the lads in the queue gave in and got that cab.

Eventually, with the help of one of the airport staff, we got a maxi-cab for eight of us (they only seat six) and the end result was a $1 saving on what the shuttle would have cost me.

The downside was that the hostel was locked up when I got there an hour after the time I’d said I’d be arriving. Despite having a contact number for me, they’d not called when I didn’t show up. OK, so I didn’t have their number to hand either but I didn’t expect to need it.

Eventually someone let me in (three people sat near the door ignored my pressing of the bell) but there were no staff anywhere to book me in. So I settled on a sofa, found some internet and whiled the time away as I starved. Remember I’d not eaten in over 10 hours by now except for that Mars Bar. And I couldn’t go out to look for food as I didn’t have a key to get back in!

I caved. I wedged the front door open with a book so it wouldn’t lock and ran round the streets for fifteen minutes. Nothing. The closest I got was a pie shop which didn’t open until 5:30am. Gah.

Back at the hostel I found the door still unlocked (phew), but discovered someone in the kitchen. I begged. I lucked out. It was a German girl with the munchies who was just trying to use up some of her food before the morning as she was checking out and would be ditching it all anyway. Result!

So I sit here, typing this up with a fairly full belly and watching a stick insect crawl up one of the walls.

Tasmania seems OK. The hostel itself seems really nice – but I think I’ll be out of here early enough that there’s no point in me paying for a room. After all, I didn’t get to sleep in a bed! I’ll ring them from Hobart tomorrow / later today.

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