Now that I was certified for diving, I figured I would go to Cairns to go diving (follow the link for diving pictures).
The flight to Sydney was about 13h, and thankfully I got upgraded to business with miles, so it was as pleasant as it could have been.
Before landing to sydney, I told my new watch to swap the display of the SFO and SYD timezones, and show Sydney on the main hands. They showed that I landed at 06:50, and my next flight was 09:15, so I thought "great, no rush".
I started being nervous when it took an extra 10-15mn for my laptop bag to show up at the carrousel (after my big luggage). This is one thing I really don't want to lose... but I got it in the end, just quite late. Note to self: deal with the morons in security who like to empty the bag each time instead of taking the risk of checking it in.
I then got nabbed by customs because of how I answered the pre-screening questions (I'm going on vacation in Cairns, diving, I have no idea what I said wrong). At the gate they say "we have a code 18" or somesuch, and I get my luggage opened up and questioned. Too bad for them, I had pretty much nothing I wasn't supposed to have.
Once out, I went to the vodaphone counter to get a refill for my Australian GSM SIM.|
Then, I went to the United counter to get a paper for the damage they did to my luggage, again. And because they're skilled, out of 4 wheels, they always take out one of the two needed to roll the luggage while pulling it from the handle. Grr... That took a good 20mn.
Eventually, I made it to the Quantas counter, as it turned out that I was actually taking the first leg of an international flight to Japan to get to Cairns (took me a little while to figure that out, I was heading for the domestic terminal). I apologized for being a little late (usually, it's a 2H checkin for international flights), and the attendents looked a bit worried and made a special exception to get me on the plane. Mmmh, ok, it was like 07:40 for a 09:15 flight, but whatever.
I then went to duty free to find and buy a very overpriced battery for my underwater camera (yeah! I won't have to overly worry about running out of juice under water), and someone takes off with my boarding pass that was on the counter and leaves me his. Great...
Back to the checkin gate to get another boarding pass, through security, and direction the gate, where I was hoping to finally plug in my laptop and chill a little bit. Instead, I'm told "last boarding, hurry". Uh, it's barely 8?
Once in the plane, I hear some announcement that they're sorry the plane is late for departure. It's 08:15 for a 09:15 departure, I don't see the big deal...
I play with my phones to send an SMS :) and notice the time on my nokia which says Sydney: 09:20. Then, it finally downs on my that my watch had the Sydney timezone wrong and was one hour late (due to summer daylight savings time). Argh, argh, argh!
At that point, I replayed the last hour and a half and realized how incredibly late I was the entire time, and how I should have been running through the airport instead of getting my luggage inspected, buying SIM cards, camera batteries, and a huge tomblerone bar (homer voice)mmmh, tomblerone :)
I guess I got lucky on that one, and I now have a big tomblerone bar in my laptop bag. Yum :)
There is a fair bit to see around Cairns, both Kuranda and the rainforest tour. I started with Kuranda, a village in the rainforest that you reach by cable car, and can leave by train:
The next day, I did a draintree rainforest and coastal tour:
The evening, I went to see an aborigine show: