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Travelling Back to Sunny Newcastle
Tuesday 19th April 2011 – Newcastle, Australia
I was excited about the prospect of going back to Newcastle, a place I was very fond of first time around. The trip to Newcastle involved many stages, and it wasn’t going to go without hitch, but it was another journey I will not forget in a while.
My alarm was set for around 4:30am, so it would be a long day travelling, but I was actually awoken by another alarm in the room. It turns out I was not the only person getting up at this time. The girl whose alarm had awoken us both had already slunk out the room with her things before I had gotten out of my bed sheets, so I used the extra time I now had to shower and get ready without rushing.
No trams operate at this time in the morning so I had a nice morning walk to the Skybus station. Thankfully I knew where I was going this time, and it actually didn’t take too long to get there. The walk was refreshing, much cooler than I was used to, but very welcome. When I reached the Skybus depot and boarded the bus to the airport, I was surprised to see the girl on the same bus. This is the girl whose alarm had woken us up. She must have arrived at the depot long before me.
Another airport and another full body scan for me this morning. I don’t know how I always get singled out at airports, but I have come to expect it now. Maybe it’s this expected look on my face that gives the guards cause for further examination of me and my belongings.
I sat in the departure lounge until boarding time, and when called up I placed my hands in my pockets like I do a million times to check I had everything, and to my horror I could not find my wallet. A cold sweat came over me and I frantically looked about to see if I had dropped it. Moments passed and I could see the line getting smaller as more and more people were boarding the plane. I had one last place to check – the security desk where I had been searched.
I ran faster than I thought I could to the desk which was a considerable distance away, and when I arrived and explained my situation, it was met with some comedy. The guards seemed to relish my situation, but explained they did have a wallet, much to my relief. They checked my ID against myself to confirm it was indeed my wallet, but instead of then giving me the wallet, they took turns to observe the picture on the ID. This picture was taken a while back when I had a full head of hair. It amused the guards to point out that I was severely lacking in that department now. It was all fun banter, but I needed to get back to the boarding lounge as soon as possible.
The run back to the departure lounge saw me weaving in and out of people, almost knocking some people over. I felt like I was in a movie. The relief was all too evident when I arrived just in time to join the back of the queue which was now just a few people long. I sat down on my seat in the plane to catch my breath, and had a little giggle to myself. I am always so careful and thorough with checking, but I guess even people like me misplace things from time to time.
The guy sitting next to me was a local in Newcastle and we got to talking quite a lot on the plane. He offered to give me a lift to my backpackers which I was very thankful for, and when we arrived in Newcastle, his girlfriend arrived to pick us up. She seemed put out that I was there, and it looked as though it took some persuading to let me in the car. I didn’t want to cause any bother, and offered to make my own way, but the guy insisted. Needless to say the journey back in the car was atmospheric and very quiet.
It turns out we had to make a quick detour to the guys house first. I sat out on the wooden decking waiting, wondering if I was going to be hacked to pieces any time soon. I did see an axe in the garden at this point. The guy explained we had to wait for a visit from the property inspector first before dropping me off. This took a while, and when he finally arrived, and inspected the property from top to bottom, we then had to wait for the guy to get ready for work. A couple of hours had now passed and I was just sat on this guy’s seat on the wooden decking, wondering when we were going to be leaving. Further waiting followed as we had to wait for his girlfriend to drop the car off to him, but when she arrived, we set off for the backpackers.
I was grateful for the lift as it was a kind gesture, but I was pleased to be at the hostel again. The feel and smell of the place brought back lots of good memories. The hostel owner recognised me instantly – which was a nice touch – and I was given the same room as before. It felt like home.
Although most of the day was now gone, I didn’t waste any more time. I took myself to the beach to sit and watch the surfers, and it felt good to be back. This is how I dream of spending my evenings, sat on a beach in the cool evening breeze, watching the surfers and listening to the waves crashing. Another bonus was the hostel’s free meal in the evening, which was the perfect end to a hectic day.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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