Tell you what? 2019 was actually quite tame compared to 2018. Sure, it’s been quite a costly year, but neither Matt nor I sustained any injuries or had any near death experiences this year, so that’s a win! So without any further ado, here are my Travel Fuck Ups of 2019.
Note: I’m a bit behind on the blogging, so there are some new places here… blog posts to come!
Don’t Forget the Bug Spray
Pretty standard stuff right? Enjoy the beautiful island of Ilha Grande, but don’t forget the bug spray. Don’t get bitten by mosquitoes. Don’t scratch the mosquito bites until they become infected and puss-filled open wounds. And definitely don’t go into a chemist in Sao Paulo, trying to explain that you need antiseptic spray in broken Portuguese, until you finally rip your shirt up and show them the problem, to their total disgust. ..yeah… don’t do that.
Again with the standard stuff. You travel to a new country, you check the entry requirements. Matt and I landed in Santiago, Chile and saw that all passports except Australians were to go to baggage collection; Australians needed to go in the opposite direction. We followed the arrows until we arrived at a desk, where we had to pay a $115 USD reciprocity fee… each. What?! Turns out that because Australia charges Chileans an entry fee, Chile was doing the same to us. But why USD? No one could figure that one out. So that took our entire tour and fun fund down to zero. No wonder we didn’t enjoy Santiago that much. Note for new travellers: the fee has now been scrapped.
A different sort of Fuck Up. When we left Australia, I left my beloved dog Charlie with my Dad. He was the best doggo in the world. I cried for 2 hours straight after I left him. He passed away of cancer while we were in Playa del Carmen. He was 16 years old and lived a good life. I only regret that I wasn’t with him that last year and couldn’t be with him at the end. Ok I’m crying again… moving on.
Air Crash Investigations – Drone Edition
Yep – for those of you playing at home, this happened last year as well. This one was a joint effort from Matt and I. Our Hilux plus 3 other 4WD’s were driving down a beach in Cape York. Matt launched the drone to follow us down there. He handed me the remote and said “go left”. I wanted to familiarise myself with the controls first, but Matt didn’t want to miss any of the beach. Long story short, I went left… straight into a huge tree. I probably should’ve checked the altitude, but Matt said go left! Haha. It took 30 mins of throwing random objects to dislodge the drone from the tree. The camera motor burnt out, so we needed to have the ribbon cable replaced for $300. Also, no drone for the rest of the Cape York trip.
Fraser Island Air Time
The worst Fuck Up of the year, and the reason I hadn’t done this blog earlier. On Fraser Island, the western coast is one long beach, which people call Fraser Highway. You can travel 80km/h along this beach, allowing you to quickly access different parts of the island. The problem with this is there are small fresh water run-offs that run from inland into the ocean… and they are hard to see.
One day, Matt and I are driving along the beach when I hear Matt say “oh shit” and apply the brakes. Too late. The nose of the truck dove down, hitting the bottom of the creek, before launching us back up the other side, into the air (that’s right, all 4 wheels off the ground) before landing on the other side. Matt and I looked at each other, shocked. My head had damn well hit the roof. Insanity.
Matt jumped out of the car to check the damage. When he opened the door, it made a hell of a racket. We had hit so hard, the control arm hit the wheel arch, moving the quarter panel back into the drivers side door. Matt fixed that promptly, and everything else seemed ok. Except the olive oil bottle in the esky. That was smashed.
Once we were off the island, driving towards Brisbane, Matt turned to me and asked “can you feel that vibration?”. I responded “the car next to us can feel that vibration”. We took the car to a mechanic assuming the wheels needed to be balanced. Wrong. We had BUCKLED two wheels. So 4 new tyres (they couldn’t be 2 different tyres that would apparently look bad) and a wheel balance, we were on our way. Matt kept commenting that it still wasn’t right, but I figured he was just being paranoid.
On the drive from Braidwood, after our volunteering, the car begun vibrating again. Once in Melbourne, 1 wheel balance (slightly out) and 1 wheel alignment (completely out) didn’t fix it, so we took it to a dealership. Dealership number 1 didn’t want to touch it. Dealership 2 said they couldn’t fix it. Auto wrecker said we bent the chassis, so off to an engineer it went. One bent chassis control arm bracket, new suspension and replacing the new wheels (apparently the wrong ones!). 18 days it took, start to finish, to get the car repaired. Insanity. Glad we had insurance.
So there you have it! Not many problems, but geez that last one really got us good. Hopefully 2020 sticks it’s problems where the sun doesn’t shine. We don’t need any this year.