I'm not the author Alan Glynn (click here for him) but fully recommend his novels Winterland & Darkfields

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Big Waterfalls and Visa Hell

After nearly spending nearly a week in Cairns we planned an over night in Darwin before we flew to Bali the following night. We stayed at the Melaluca Resort which was very nice but not worth the $95 per night.

We'd a great day in Lichfield national park just outside Darwin. Jumping into plunge pools swimming under waterfalls and seeing some of the bush wildlife. We were on great form when we arrived early at the airport for our flight to Bali and looking forward to some five star luxury when the check in staff refused to check us in as we didn't have a visa!!!

Absolute nightmare. It was 10pm at night and our much dreamed about 5 star hotel room was taken from us. I couldn't believe it, I'd booked the accommodation in Sydney and was sure the agent would have warned me about the visa. It turns out Ireland is one of only a handful of countries in the EU that can't get a visa on arrival. To make things worse the next flight out of Darwin wasn't until three days later.

We then spent the next day, Friday, frantically running around the Darwin trying to sort out the visa in time for Sunday and trying to get our accommodation moved. When we got to the Indonesian embassy we were told under no circumstances was the visa going to be ready for the Sunday flight. Which meant we'd have to get the only flight after that which was Thursday. That would mean waiting around for a week. The whole situation was getting out of control and the two of us were stressed up bunnies.

We then tried all the other options of flying out of another city and skipping Bali, getting a refund on the hotel but everything just was going to cost us a bundle. I then went back to the embassy to see if we could just fly in and fly out of Bali with out a visa and the guy said no but something changed in his attitude and he said to come back at 4pm and he "may" have it for me. So we spent the day running around in the scorching heat trying to get accommodation in Darwin and Bali sorted (Stayed in the YHA which is very chilled and has a nice pool).

By four we were at our wit's end and where praying this guy would come through for us and he did with the help of a giant bar of chocolate which he proudly added to his stash.

We chilled out for the next two days just glad we were getting away on the Sunday. We sat by the pool and worked on the tans and in total we lost out three days accommodation in Bali one of which was free. That's a lesson we won't forget in a hurry.

Darwin is a much nicer city than people had us believe and it was good to soak it up over the few days unscheduled stop. I watched the super 12 final and we took in our first movie in ages (Star Wars). The museum is worth a visit if only for the Cyclone Tracey exhibit with it's "Cyclone Room" which was excellent.

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