Menory Lane - The Wide Brown Land 9

The Watery Pimple - (newly arrived?  You'll get more out of this if you go back to the beginning… honestly, you'll enjoy the ride!)

First I must correct an error on the last sentence of Friday's post - Proserpine is the drop-off point on the Bruce Hwy and then one goes to Shute Harbour to launch to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), not Airlie Beach….[I could go back and correct it there, but all of you who have read it already would get confused and far be it from me to cause such a thing… 8~}…)

Proserpine is a bit of a one-horse town. It is not large certainly, even now, but it does have essential facilities such as hospital, railway, et cetera.  We arrived late (I seem to think it may have been 11pm-ish) and we had rooms booked in the "hotel". 

In OZ, "hotel" (anywhere other than the big cities...and even then) refers to the public  house with the rooms for let.  We had confirmed bookings and a contact name to go with it.  This proved to be useless though, as "Shirl" had forgotten to pass the message on to whoever would be attending the night shift.  This turned out to be "Meg" - a gruff and not-at-all-happy 50's (or hard-living 30's) woman.  She did not like being woken up by tourists in the middle of the night.  Booking?  What booking?

As we were the only two folk around and the bus had sped away as soon as it dropped us, she reluctantly handed us keys and said we'd do the paperwork in the morning.

To say the room was basic would be to talk it up.  The beds were welcome though. The common bathroom, however, had Sceptical Tourist Fishy (STF) and Aitch squirming a bit.  But it was for one night only.  The budget price of $10 each ought to have suggested what we'd be getting.

Unfortunately by this time, Aitch had discovered she was allergic to mosquito bites.  STF could get bitten, have an itch for half an hour and that would be it.  Poor Aitch, though, broke out in gigantic blisters on her legs.  I told her to get wading in the ocean when we got there as the salt water would do her good.  I got one of 'those' looks.  Aitch and ocean are not generally two words that meet in a sentence, let alone real life.

It was with no sorrow that we parted company with the Proserpine Hotel next morning and took a local bus trip down to Airlie, about 25 kms, then a further 10 kms to Shute Harbour.  Here we connected with the ferry to Daydream Island - nothing much more than a coral atoll.  A speck on the ocean, at 1 km long, half a kilometre wide and all of 50-ish metres at its highest.

There was building going on.  The reason we had got such a good deal (around $50 a night including all meals) was due to this - a new owner was revamping and upgrading and all those things owners of resorts must do.

image copyrighted to Ms HMR - looking West to OZ!
It was to our advantage as the residency numbers were low and we were made to feel very welcome.  The room was far and away the best we had stayed in (other than the Perth home-stay).  Plus it was en-suite.  A major treat!  Open the door in the morning and one is faced with palm trees, ocean views and wonderful sea air.   We had arrived before lunch, so took a chance to walk round the island to work up an appetite.  We had a choice of fish and chips or cold meats and a selection from the 'all you can eat' salad bar.  I recall having the fish.  Honestly, it was right out of the water!  Aussies also know how to make really good hot potato chips (French fries for my US pals), thick and crunchy and golden.
image copyrighted to Ms HMR - before the near-death-experience -
 STF playing 'fishy'!

image copyrighted to Ms HMR - STF after
the near-death-experience
Now, I told you all about the underwater escapade (click here to be reminded!), but Aitch has come up trumps again and scanned some piccies for us.  No shots of us imbibing the cocktails with dinner later - but here are some pretty things off Google Images, for those who like to look…
Anyway, it had to come to an end and before we knew it, departure day had arrived.  You'd think by now we would have got the timings all down pat.  Right?

So there we were waiting at the jetty along with an American bloke (neither of us can recall this - it's thanks to Aitch's despatches home to mother that we are reminded).  Around the time we thought there ought to be a ferry present we started to get uncomfortable.  It was with some trepidation that we called out to one of the employees and were advised that the ferry was about to leave from "Quay 2" - on the other side of the island! 

We were able to run in those days.

Turned out that tides and currents affected the matter.  A tannoy announcement might have been an improvement.  However, we made it and what is more, we got chatting with our American acquaintance and it turned out he had a car… so, getting brazen (perhaps from a cocktail or too), we asked for a lift to Proserpine.

This turned out to be a Godsend, as we had time to settle and refresh before connecting with the bus to Brisbane.  Had we instead waited for the local bus service from Shute Harbour, we may actually have missed it.  Again.  I didn't like our chances of meeting up with another Tex-Mex-Greek taxi driver, so we had a good giggle about having put ourselves forward to a complete stranger.  We were finally getting the hang of this back-packing lark!

The run down to Brisbane was around 5 hours and was a bit hairy here and there.  No chatty coach captain.  No second staff member serving refreshments.  No brakes.  Or so it seemed. This bloke had a timetable and he intended to stick to it.


Back on Wednesday, folks… thank you for riding this through with me.  We're nearly done!!!  Tomorrow the Menosukhi spot and Tuesday the Me-Now-Views with linky as usual.



3 comments:

  1. I was trying to work out when you were here, am I right that you were in Australia in 1983 the prices were a bit cheap for now and the rooms sound a bit old fashioned for now, but then I went to QLD in 1975 in a panel wagon and we camped all the way up the coast and that was roughing it, never had the urge to do it again, it was fun at the time
    Merle........................

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hari Om
    Hey Merle - 1984 was the year and yes, things were rather 'stripped down' as it were! Actually had a peek at the Prossie write up on Wiki today and sounds like not a lot has changed!!!

    Ah the old panel wagon; great memories eh?

    ReplyDelete

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