I realise that my screwed-up brain needs to get this out into the open, to stop the pattern of mulling over and over it. Every time someone mentions Brisbane (sorry Kazzam!), our little holiday incident bubbles up and an hour later I'm still feeling angry over it. This bus-driver has a lot to answer for.
We're at the end of our holiday-of-a-lifetime. We've been to Australia! We've seen Uluru, Sydney, Australia Zoo, Surfer's Paradise and Magnetic Island in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. We're now on our final day before flying back to Singapore. We had a superb meal in a fish restaurant on the waterside the night before, but the hotel is in the cruddy end of town, and is seriously bad. You can't really blame the tour operator: all they go on is stars, and the owner of this place must have slept with someone fairly influential to achieve their rating. The inside looks like and smells that smoke-stained concrete you get at football stadiums, with a/c water running down it. The buffet breakfast is run by foreigners who are unable to provide any food I could eat and won't even cook up an omelette for me. No apologies, just irritated shrugs. We're back in our room, thankfully packing and planning a walk in the park before a leisurely taxi-ride to the airport.
We're interrupted by a call from reception. There's a mini-bus outside waiting to take us to the airport. We know nothing of this. The tour operator must have booked it without telling us. DH cuts his toilet time short and we finish flinging our stuff into the cases and hurry downstairs. DH still has to check out and the bus driver is very impatient. After 3 minutes he's threatening to take our stuff off the bus again. He demands to see our booking slip, which we haven't got. I apologise and explain. He throws up his hands and marches back to his seat muttering. DH gets on the bus full of apologies which are completely blanked. We raise our eyebrows at each other as the bus takes off at full speed, rocketing us all around. The other passengers are shooting us looks too.
We get to the airport. DH off-loads our bags, while the driver holds out his hand to me. Oh right, so the travel agent hasn't arranged payment then. I ask how much. He answers $14 in a oh-for-f's-sake voice. Well we're about to leave the country so we haven't got a huge amount of change. DH offers him a 50. He looks at it as if it were used toilet paper and says "I'm not changing THAT". DH finds a 20. He throws up his hands again and stomps off saying all too audibly "I'll pay it my f***ing self then" before roaring off in a cloud of smoke. We realise at that point that he must have meant $14 each. Oops. I was jangled for hours afterwards.
I'm now going to put myself into the bus driver's shoes. He's late. Again. Every flipping person he's had to pick up has been late. And then his boss threw this last-minute pick-up at him on the opposite side of town. He can't let 15 people miss their planes, or he'll be sacked. And glory be, they're not even ready! When they finally appear they haven't got their paperwork in order. Then at the airport he's got to deal with a pair of idiot Brits who don't seem to know their asses from their elbows. Frustration over-flows into angry words of which he's thoroughly ashamed so he runs away.
It was a shame, because that was the only time we experienced anything less than down-to-earth friendliness from the Australians. It was more of a shame because it was our last and lingering memory of our visit there, and the rest of it had ranged from pretty good to superlative. (Apart from a Saturday night in Surfer's Paradise aka Vomitsville but somehow that doesn't stick in my craw so badly.)
Well thanks for reading, if you've got this far. Hopefully having got all that out there, I can lay it to rest, and maybe one day think nicely of Brisbane again. Your comments are very welcome to aid my recovery!