Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
88Trip End Jan 28, 2005
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The ability to sleep on a bus, whilst sat upright is a gift Rene posseses and I don't, so the night dragged a little. It's extremely frustrating to look around the bus and find everyone, heads back, mouths ajar and lost in the world of sleep.
Colin took over driving duties at 2am and announced to anyone listening (me) that if you had any problems to just pop down the front and he'd try and sort them out. A nice man I thought.
Having stopped for breakfast at about 6am, the coach stopped again in Mackay to drop off and pick up passengers. It always takes about 10 minutes to offload luggage and register the new passengers, so with that in mind a young welsh bloke jumped off the coach for a fag. Colin was busy. When boyo finished his cigarette he disappeared inside to use the toilet.
Colin got back on and drove off. It was less than a minute before we realised this lad hadn't got back on and I shouted to Colin to stop. But he wouldn't, he said it wasn't a designated meal stop and he shouldn't have got off. We were still within 100 metres of the stop and despite moving to the front to explain that he had got off, wearing just his shorts and therefore leaving behind not only his backpack but also his shoes, passport and wallet, Colin refused to stop.
The worm had turned. In the time it takes to change gear, Colin had gone from Mr Laidback, come to the front with any problems, to Mr anal retentive jobsworth. After a couple of weeks travelling in Oz we'd begun to believe this sort of behaviour must be illegal and was purely the preserve of downtrodden, weatherbeaten, British bus drivers, but oh no.
I really thought he was joking at first, but after ten minutes of protestation, relaised he wasn't. Even when the whole bus heckled him like a dying comedian in a working mans club he motored on regardless. I really believe Colin was silently surged at having completely cocked up a backpackers day.
Anyway before we reached Airlie Beach we discovered from his things that the bloke was headed there too, so we got his stuff together and Rene and I were going to wait at the bus station until he hopefully turned up.
On arrival at Airlie, as in the movies, things started to unravel for the baddie. Colin must have figured that the Welshman would have to wait at least an hour at Mackay for the next Greyhound bus, and with a twenty minute in and out at Airlie, he'd be long gone. And if it hadn't been for that meddlin Premier bus driver who pulled in Mackay just after us and kindly allowed boyo a free lift on his bus, he would have been home free. But he wasn't.
Hell hath no fury like a Welshman scorned, especially one from the wrong side of Cardiff. It all turned a little ugly. Stood amongst a crowd of travellers was this short, stocky, muscular 20 year old with long, unkempt, greasy hair, giving Colin the hair dryer treatment, while Colin did his utmost to look busy and ignore him.
He'd obviously done a City and Guilds course on foul and abusive language, as he knew loads. He was like Stig of the Dump with tourettes.
Having finally cajoled him into not 'lamping' Colin as he so eloquently put ot , we moved off in search of our Youth Hostel, wishing we hadn't bothered trying to be helpful.
After the palace that was a cabin in Fraser Lodge Caravan PArk its back to a double bed sized room and shared bathroom and toilet, yipee.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and has a reputation as a party resort. Anything of any note is positioned along Shute Harbour Road, which is the owns main drag.
We've come here to cruise the Whitsundays on an unfeasibly large yacht, like a couple of Greek millionaires, it's a tough assignment but we're up for the challenge.
We speed read a thousand brochures and eventually settled on a company called Prosail and a yacht called Iluka. It's a beauty. We set sail tomorrow at 9am for the East Indies, well kind of.
All that paperwork had stressed us out so we spent the afternoon relaxing by and swimming in Airlies glorious artificial lagoon. They can't get enough of their artificial lagoons in Oz.
Relaxing induced a thirst, so we retired to the Hogs Breath for happy hour and a jug or two of Fosters. It was full of big men in vests who kept saying 'kin strewth' and 'kin ripper' and hollering at any passing Shiela's.
Paper wrapped Fish n Chips satiaited post beer munchies.
Expenses (A$2.5/Pound): Bfast 7, lunch 13.60, dinner 16, accom 52, laundry 2.20, haircut 15, beer 29, CD & Toiletries 20, water 12.10