Well, the flight landed dot on time and it was a pleasant one as well. Air Malaysia give a decent range of films so I spent the flight trying not to nod off and watched Flushed Away and half of Open Season, plus Family Guy, The Simpsons and Justice League. When we touched down I could tell I wasn’t in Asia any more by the fact that the screech of tyres wasn’t immediately followed by the unclicking of a plane-full of seatbelts.
Immigration was the usual queuing nightmare I’m used to in Oz as all bags were searched, scanned and so on. For the first time I was asked to show my flight itinerary. “You mean my onward ticket? I don’t have one.” The officer blanched visibly then went white when I explained that I’d sold my house to fund my trip. In fact he actually said “You sold your house?”
Thankfully, the gazillion entry and exit stamps in my passport seemed to appease him and I was allowed in. Phew.
I picked up the shuttle bus ($15) and got chatting to a few people on it, who were all in different hostels. One chap’s here for a year working as a dive master, just making it in under the 30-year age limit. I could have caught up with him, but I’ve changed my mind about heading to Exmouth as it’s just too flipping far!
I finally reached the Witch’s Hat at around 6:30. Hopper, the manager, turned out to be a really nice guy who’s full of information and help. I got checked in, dropped my stuff, said “hello” to my roomies and booked in for the next three nights as well. Necessary as there was only one bed free after tonight and I didn’t want to have to shift hostels.
At 7:30, I strode off towards the Emperor’s Crown, a sister hostel, where two girls I’d met on the bus were staying – Ngaire and her sister (I won’t even attempt to spell her name as I know I’ll get it wrong). We were joined by Eric, a Dutch guy also on the bus, and walked down to the riverside for dinner at the Lucky Shag.
My first proper bacon in two months. Wow. And too much beer. And some wine.
We had a great night, and it was gone midnight by the time we dropped the girls off at their hostel. I walked past my street on the way back to the Hat so didn’t get to bed till after 1:00 at which point my body realised exactly how many hours it had been functioning and promptly went on strike.