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Phillip IslandPhilip Island is 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. It is one of the best places to explore Australian wildlife. We chased some 40-50 Kangaroos in a large grassland. Kangaroos came near to us when we offered them some food. Hand feeding Kangaroos was an awesome experience. We also got close to Emus and Wallabies.
YapThe immigration officer took a quick look at my passport – "An Indian? Here?" – and flipped through all the pages – ok, this guy is a travel nut – with increasing curiosity. And it was after she stamped me with the arrival visa, that she asked the most important question of all; more out of curiosity than any official interest.“How many days are you staying?”I had rehearsed this a thousand times in my head. I was to say 2 days, in line with the United Airlines schedule. Yet, when she asked me that question, I froze. I couldn’t bring myself to lie. I’ve been to more than 60 countries, but never had any trouble with immigration so far, except the few times that I was questioned at length about my purpose of visit. I could have easily gotten away with a small lie here. But I didn’t.“Just about 20 minutes”, I said with a sheepish smile, “I just want an arrival stamp, and to smoke a quick cigarette, and I will be back on that flight, I promise”. I don’t know why I said ‘I promise’, like a little kid swearing in front of his parents. But I did.I expected all hell to break loose, but the plump Micronesian woman started laughing. She said something in local Yapese (yep, that’s an actual language!) to the guy who handled the FSM citizen queue, and they both continued to laugh together. Finally she spoke to me.“I am sorry, but I can’t let you go outside the airport. I’ve already stamped you an arrival, so that takes care of one of your request. As for the smoking, you are not supposed to smoke a cigarette in the transient area. In fact, you are not supposed to smoke in any government building in this country”I must have shown a faint look of disappointment on my face because she continued, “you see those dark bushes outside the transient area. Go and have a quick cigarette there. I am watching you so don’t try to do anything funny. Like running away or something”Run? To where? All I could see was darkness outside the transient area, and even if I started running, the chances were that I would end up in the ocean, given that the Yap airport runway was just next to the water. I gave her my best sheepish smile again, and went to the bushes behind the transient area. And then I lit my most exciting cigarette ever.