In June and July of 2016, I took an epic trip to Sydney, Australia, Bali and Komodo National Park in Indonesia, then I finished with a fantastic voyage on the Spirit of Freedom, a great dive boat experience in the Great Barrier Reef! But…I had to get from Komodo to the Great Barrier Reef….
Taking up where I left off, I had a most wonderful trip to Komodo National Park, and if you missed those blogs and photographs, I highly recommend you take a look at them! After disembarking in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, most of the dive group and I made our way to the airport to catch a flight to Bali on the airline Garuda. Garuda Airlines is named after the great, mythical bird who served as the mount for the Hindu deity Vishnu. The airline was much nicer than I expected it to be. In fact, at the airport we were ushered into the VIP lounge and served coffee and delicacies. The china was particularly beautiful with its gold markings. (It was British…yes, I looked!)
The flight was calm and uneventful, and at the Bali airport I walked from the domestic terminal to the international to catch my Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur to connect to another Malaysia Airlines flight to Sydney to catch a Qantas flight to Cairns. Yes, a very long trip in a very large area of the planet. And to top it off, I thought my flight to Cairns was on the same day as my flight to Sydney. No such luck. It was for the next day. I’d already been traveling for 24 hours, and I needed to find a hotel near the airport.
Don’t ask me why, I have no earthly idea why, but I booked a cheapie hotel close to the airport. Why I didn’t return to the wonderful Stamford Sydney Airport is beyond me. I thought, oh save some money and stay at a smaller hotel. It was smaller, all right!
It looked okay on the internet. I can only say: do not stay at the Airport Hotel Sydney. It looked a lot better in photos than it did in person. The area was a bit sketchy, it seemed like, and the hotel even more so. There is a single door leading into a lobby which does not deserve to be called a lobby since it is so small and dingy. The guy who checked me in informed me that an American immigration officer told him “Americans are jerks” and he proceeded to tell me not to complain. I wasn’t complaining, just expressing a concern about my luggage because there was no lift in the hotel. He put me on the ground floor, and the first room he gave me was already occupied. Awkward! Seriously, not a good place. I went to bed, and got up hours and hours before my flight so I could go to the Qantas Business Class Lounge to shower and dress. Ah, Qantas has lovely lounges!
I relaxed in the lounge until time to head to Cairns which is in Queensland. My dive boat to the Ribbon Reefs, Spirit of Freedom, would leave from there. I checked into the fabulous Shangri-La Hotel at the Marina in Cairns. Ahhh. Luxury! Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
The Shangri La was beautiful, and between the marina and the esplanade. It was heaven to sink into the comfy bed and flip on CNN! (I’m a diehard CNN fan, especially Anderson Cooper 360 and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room and Erin Burnett Out Front…you get the idea!) I got out my computer and put a status on my Facebook page, that I was in Cairns, finally! The next thing I know, I receive a message from my good friend Fin! Fin Out of Water is also a blogger, check out her Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/finoutofwater/?fref=ts. I met Fin on a Ray of Hope Expedition last year in the Yucatan. She is from New Zealand, a dive instructor and marine biologist.) So Fin, from Auckland, NZ, says she too is in Cairns! We were both so excited and made plans for dinner the next night! Talk about a funny thing…what are the odds that Tam from Dallas, Texas and Fin from NZ would be in Cairns, Australia at the same time?? Oh, how wonderful it was to see her! She is just one of the most wonderful people on the planet. So awesome to see you, Fin! It’s just funny…and serendipitous! Don’t you think so?