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Reports

Friday, 26 April 2002
Fraser Island --> Bundaberg, Australia

I was very happy to wake up this morning; it meant that I had survived a night at the YouAreWrong Beach Resort on Fraser Island. I had to check out of my room at 10am and went to the on-site bakery to buy some donuts and drinks for breakfast.
At10am I returned the key of my room and stored my backpack in the luggage room of the resort. This way I wouldn't have to walk around or keep an eye on it all the time.

It was very busy on the street in front of the shop and the gas station. 4x4 jeeps were standing in line, people did some shopping, but every one of them seemed to stay somewhere else on this island.

I decided to kill my time until lunch (when the Venture Tourbus would pass by again) in and near the swimming pool, as there was not much else to go or do.

And with the sun burning on my little baldy head, time goes fast I can tell you!

After lunch I boarded the bus again and continued the day tour of which I had part one yesterday morning. The bus drove up to Central Station.

Here I walked ahead of the entire busload of (this time much older) tourists, and that annoyed the bus driver a bit. It was fine with me, I had been here before and actually heard the whole story about this place also.

I walked along the wonderful Wanggoolba Creek again and took some more nature shots. Back in the bus again, the driver spoke through his microphone and addressed all the passengers after his story about the rainforest and the temperate forest on this island.

"Does any of you know where the biggest tree on the world is?"

It was the main answer of the people on the bus that made me realize I was in a bus with Americans only. Everybody thought they had to be right: "California!" But that's not the right answer, the driver explained.

Some Americans were shocked as they really believed their country harbours the biggest tree in the world. When they started guessing for the right answer, I only heard other American states. It was very strange that they couldn't mention a country outside of the US! They were in Australia right now!

I finally told the right answer to the driver, just to be cooperative to him and not to ruin the fun company I was in. "India, that is right!" To the pride of India, the "Marrimanu" is recorded as the biggest tree in the Guinness Book of World Records. The tree has branches that are over 65 metres long and according to the Botanical survey of India, Bangalore, the age of the tree is about 550 years.

"India? Isn't that near Afganistan?" I head someone ask.

We ended up at Lake Jane, another fresh water lake where I couldn't resist to run in and take a big dive. Young people had a good relaxing sit in it (it's like a healing bath) and the passengers of my bus took their polished leather shoes off and walked ankle-high into the water.

Just over one hour later, after arriving back ashore in Hervey Bay with the barge, I met up again with Peter Deveraux and someway he could already see from my face that it had been awful to me. Not that I am that spoiled, but things just weren't right. At least not for the beach resort.

And Peters eyes got big and he was definitely going to make some phone calls tomorrow morning! He was told about the loads of backpackers that stay on the resort, the amount of fun and entertainment there was at night, especially at the beach bar… I only never experienced that, as it wasn't there. The organisation where Peter booked my stay, had simply lied to him.

And he felt so sorry. Before I was going to go my way to my next destination, he took me along to a real good Italian restaurant, where he planted his head in his hands. He couldn't believe what happened with me. "This must have been your Holiday in Hell!" he said a couple of times. It had not been that bad, but it could be an inspiring place for Stephen King though.

And I told him about all those young and friendly people that were not there at all and about how the soup and the personnel had an attitude and how things just felt so depressing. I didn't want to make Peter feel too guilty, as I couldn't blame it on him. It was the resort.

Fortunately we both were no glum people, so during our spaghetti Bolognese we where basically just having some good laughs again. The lady owner of the restaurant recognized me from the TV and asked me to sign her menu! Will she be excited to know that she appears on this website!

At 7.05 we arrived at the bus terminal of Hervey Bay. As I would get off the island late and Peter did not want me to hitchhike my way up north this late, he also booked me on the Greyhound bus to Bundaberg.

The bus arrived on time at 7.30 and it would take some two hours to reach Bundaberg. I said goodbye to Peter Deveraux and I thanked him for his enormous generosity!

It was some 90 minutes of driving through the darkness of Australia when the bus pulled over along the Bruce Motorway, also in the middle of nowhere. The bus driver stepped out and started doing things at the back of the bus. That surprised me, there was a toilet on board if he had to go that desperately.

I stepped out of the bus and walked around the bus after five minutes. There I noticed something that would be very obvious for my first time on an Australian bus. Of course, a flat tire! The bus driver was collection those reflection-road-poles and lifted the bus to remove this torn-away tire.

When he had some hard times with it, he announced a delay to the passengers in the bus. Suddenly everybody come out of the bus, there in the middle of nowhere. Some had a smoke, others just zombied around in the darkness.

I decided to call my host in Bundaberg and tell him about this delay. "Hey that's okay! We were already waiting for you. Where are you? We'll just come down and get you!" the person said. Within 6 minutes a car pulled over with three young students in it, inviting me to come along.

I fetched my gear from the bus, wished the bus driver some more luck and got into the car. "Welcome to Bundaberg!" they said.

I was picked up by the house mates of Robert Oakleigh, who essentially invited me. But he couldn't be in Bundaberg this weekend, but briefed his house mates about me and they would take care of me the coming days. That was fine to me as it was my only place to stay in the Bundaberg area.

The house I was going to stay in was located in a street with sever so-called Uni-houses, where university students share the houses with four others. I stayed in the house with Stu and Adam, but met soooo many others on the first night that my mind totally spinned around of all the names. All the neighbours popped in the side door as it was the most usual thing, got a drink, borrowed a videotape (or just made some noise) and disappeared again.

Most of my hosts here had some alcohol this evening, so that (and maybe my appearance) made them this excited. I made some photos and enjoyed the atmosphere created by students in their semester-break, but called off when it got a bit quiet around 1am. Tomorrow I'd be more present, I promised.

Good night Bundaberg!

Ramon