My visa was expiring so I need to exit and get a new extension for my stay in Malaysia. I noticed that Royal Brunei had a cheap promotional flight to Australia, so I went to the Australian Embassy in Bandar Seri begawan to apply for a visa. I had never been to a western country that time and my several attempt to get a visa to join TwoMonkey in the US had all been denied. To my surprise the Australian embassy granted me a visa that same day without even subjecting me to interrogation. ( I found out later that they called my office and also talked to TwoMonkey.)
The Royal Brunei Airline flight to Darwin was the most pleasant flight I have ever had. We never encountered any turbulence during that three hours flight. Before I knew it, we had already landed in Darwin. The immigration officer asked me how many days I would like to stay , and she asked nicely to see if I had enough funds to cover my trip, then very politely stamped my Filipino passport. I was waiting for my bag at customs when the same female officer asked me politely if that's my luggage. I was so impressed and felt safe when she took my clothes out one by one and checked thoroughly including every pocket, and my dirty underwear. I thought "She must like me or had nothing else to do" She rearrange it and put it back professionally, then wholeheartedly welcome me to Australia and wished me a nice holiday.
I found a cheap, but very nice, hostel at the center of downtown Darwin. Darwin is not that big of a city but very pleasant and I liked that it has a similar tropical climate to Malaysia. I decided to book a day trip to "Litchfield National Park". Litchfield National park is home to hundreds of termite mounds and some of Northern Territory's beautiful waterfalls.
We were pick up early morning in a 4WD Landrover. The driver also double as our guide, show us hundreds of termite mounds some standing up to two meters high. He then drove us to two different waterfalls where we had our picnic-style lunch. He encourage us to take a swim in the pool and assure us it is safe as there are no crocodiles in the area. Darwin is blessed with beautiful beaches and waterfalls but cursed with enough box jellyfish and crocodiles to make a simple dip seems like it might be your last.
I then took the Greyhound bus to Katherine, as the name reminded me of TwoMonkey. Travelers at the hostel in Katherine where I stayed, arranged to go to some sort of night club, so I joined the fun. I noticed that Aborigines were not allowed in, but I had no problem. I'm a Monkey too so I wondered, why?
I joined a trip to Katherine Gorge then realized Australia is not that cheap. I was over budget so it was time to rush home. It was my turn to have my passport stamped to exit Australia at the Darwin airport on my way back to Brunei when the same female immigration officer recognized me. She asked why I was leaving so soon when I had requested a longer stay. I told her, "I don't like it." She gave me a sour look and abruptly stamped my passport. I was amused with that look but how could I say "I'm running out of money so it's time to leave."
Australia is one of the friendliest countries that I have ever visited. It is also one of the few countries that has given me no problem at immigration.