Traveling Down Under

Creations of bubbler crabs. Found on the beaches in Daintree National Rainforest

Creations of bubbler crabs. Found on the beaches in Daintree National Rainforest

So I’ve now been in Australia for a week and what do I have to show for it? Well a crazy amount actually. Spending this week traveling around with my sister has been a whirlwind, we basically went to a new place every couple of days. We explored the Taranga Zoo in Sydney, sunbathed at the famous Bondi Beach (where we also saw people get rescued from riptides), scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef, white-water rafted through the rainforest, went to a Rugby 7s tournament and so much more.

Knowing that I can’t do justice to this amazing week of traveling and because this blog is supposed to be about more than just the tourist sites I’m seeing, I’m going to focus on something else instead. It may sound simple, but I’m blown away by the airports and airlines in Australia so far. Going to college on one coast and living on the other has led to lots of regular flying. I’ve gotten such a routine down that I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into the fact that Australia might not do things the same way. So I came here with my toiletries dutifully packed in up in quantities less than 3.3 oz and contained within a clear bag, despite the fact that Australia’s airline security has no such restriction.

View of Cairns from the plane

View of Cairns from the plane

Oh no, it seems that I can take as much liquid on to the plane as I want. And when it’s time to go through security, rules about liquids aren’t the only things different. At the Cairns airport (I’m qualifying because I don’t want to generalize to all of Australia based on two experiences), we went through security without having had anyone look at our IDs or boarding passes, with our shoes on and only being instructed to take laptops, aerosols, and umbrellas out of our bags. It wasn’t until the gate agent mentioned expecting Asian-looking people (when she instead got two people who appear quite white) that I realized that at no point had anyone looked at our photo IDs—not the woman who checked our bags, not the women directing people at security and not these people who were making the very valid point that we don’t really seem to be who we’re saying we are. We were of course and she made no indication that she didn’t believe us, but it does make it seem quite possible to get on the plane in someone else’s place.

The difference is security isn’t the only thing that blew me away however. In the US, I regularly have 5-6 hour flights and they usually do nothing more than give us soft drinks, and sometimes a small bag of peanuts or pretzels as well.  So I was quite taken aback when on my 2.5 hour flight to Sydney the flight attendant appeared with our personal, vegetarian meals steaming hot and labelled with our names and seat numbers. But it didn’t end there, soon they were back with drinks, a bag of chips, a Lindor truffle for everyone and finally….ice cream. In case anyone has any doubts, we booked the cheapest flight and we were in coach. This just seems to legitimately be the service that Qantas provides their customers.  I can’t say I disapprove, it definitely made the flight feel faster. Soon I’ll be flying to Melbourne and while it is obviously being in the city that I’m most excited for, I do look forward to flying again. We’ll see if all Qantas flights are like this or if this was some kind of fluke.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Until next time,

 

Miranda

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