Monday, 27-10-2014. Day 68.
A Day of Lasts
Today, after 34 days of exploring Australia, it was time to leave. We were a little sad about this. A month is a long time, and we'd acclimated pretty well. We'd started saying "No worries" and "How ya going?" automatically and without irony, even among just the four of us.
Our flight to Bali wasn't until 6:00 p.m., however, and that meant we still had some time to hit a few places in Perth that we were not able to visit over the weekend (because they weren't open). We arranged for a late check out from the Murray Hotel and said a tearful goodbye to the Amazing Pancake Machine (after a few short stacks of machine-made flapjacks).
We stored our bags at the Murray (Have we mentioned how awesome this place is? No? Read our review of the Murray Hotel on Trip Advisor) and took the Yellow CAT down to a coffee shop in Cloisters Arcade called Lowdown. We'd been trying to get to this place since we'd returned to Perth on Thursday, and we were glad that we were able to check it out before we left the country. This would be our last long black in Australia, and it was a good cup to leave on.
During one of our many navigation session around the city, I'd noticed a shop on Google Maps called Toastface Grillah. I could not pass up trying a place that carried the name Toastface Grillah, and today it was where we were going to eat our last meal in Australia.
We'd managed our Australian cash well, so we were almost totally out. But Toastface is a cash only joint, so we had to walk back down the alley, find an ATM, and then return before we got ourselves some damn tasty grilled cheese sandwiches. I mean, seriously good. The Grilled Cheese Truck wished it could make them this good.
Just to be clear on this, tucked away in an unassuming alley in Perth, Australia, you'll find one of the best grilled cheese sandwich shops in the world.
Despite what some Perthians had told us earlier about a lack of things to do in Perth, we could have stayed an extra week and still found plenty to keep us busy. For instance, we didn't explore Cottesloe Beach, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (let alone the entire Margaret River wine region), or even Rottnest Island.
We went back to the Murray to retrieve our bags, said goodbyes to our pals Kay and Kirsten, and hopped into our taxi to the airport. During the trip, our driver, who was from India, told us that if we'd spent a month in Australia, we'd need three months in India. We told him that was probably a bit lengthy for what we had planned, but he gave us some good recommendations regardless.
He also told us that the Swan River got its name, not as history (and our walking tour guide, Michelle) tells us from all the black swans that Dutch sea captain Willem de Vlaming saw on his explorations of the area, but because the river looked like a swan. Our driver discovered this himself when we was studying the maps for his taxi driving test, and told us, "not many locals know this." We remain skeptical, but you be the judge.
And then we were at the airport, and, once again, we arrived too soon to check in to the flight and were turned away from the counter. We retreated to a nearby set of four seats and waited the requested 15 minutes before trying again, with success.
As we cleared customs, the agent asked if we tried to leave yesterday. We said no (because we hadn't), but he told us remembered someone with the name Fassbender had gone through the day before. So that was weird.
We still had a little bit of cash left, and Jackie reminded us that we hadn't yet had an Aero Mint candy bar, so with our last few Australian dollars, we picked one up.
We were supposed to leave out of gate 5, so we sat there and waited for about an hour. Then we realized that the gate's board listed a different flight to Densapar (on a completely different airline) that left the same time as ours. That didn't seem right. So we checked the main flight board and found we'd been over to gate 3. No problem, Perth airport is small, so we walked over there ... and found a different flight boarding that was, again, not ours. In fact, our flight wasn't listed anywhere, except the main flight board. Slightly concerned, we looked for and found a Virgin Airlines employee. She told us there had been some confusion, and she wasn't sure where the plane would be arriving but that it was coming soon.
It's not a good sign when the gate attendant is confused. But a short while later, as we were moved to gate 4, our plane arrived, and everyone watched as the luggage was loaded in. Then we were loaded onto the plane, which was less than half full, and took off for Indonesia.
We landed in Bali about 9:30 p.m and jumped on a jam-packed bus for a short ride to the airport proper. The price to enter Indonesia on a 30-day visa had gone up from the $25 per person we had expected on paying to $35 per person. Aside from that small surprise, we cleared immigration and customs by 10:30 p.m. with no trouble and made our way out to find our ride.
The place was busy; there were still a lot of flights coming in after ours and there were so many drivers waiting for people in a long line, holding signs scrawled with surnames. Our driver was there for us, and we quickly loaded our bags and started off down the crowded Bali streets toward our villa in Ubud, some 45 minutes from the airport. We didn't get to see much on the drive, other than a great many motorbikes zipping down the roads and, as we got closer to our destination, a great many dogs lounging about the streets.
We arrived close to midnight and went right to sleep.
- Buses ridden: 2
- Taxis hired: 1
- Hours on a plane 3.5
- Hours in cars: 1.5
- Time zones crossed: 0