Rita and Tony

The people you meet when traveling

Rita the bus driver

We chose to  head to Manly and Palm Beach on our second day in Sydney. We expected it to be an adventure via ferry and various bus transfers without any expectations beyond getting to our destination.  An Australian resident on our previous days’ BridgeClimb mentioned that Palm Beach was a beautiful beach along the coast worth a visit.  Tidbits of encounters with people you meet often influence what you do when traveling.  The ferry was a brief 30 minute ride to Manly wharf and we transferred onto a bus then transferred again onto the L80 which did a loop to Palm Beach.  Halfway through our bus ride our driver exited the bus, an apparent shift change,  and Rita boarded and became our new driver.  We continued on to Palm Beach to discover a film crew working on an auto parts commercial at the beach.

Before we set foot off the bus we asked the driver about what to do and see now that we had found our destination. Rita gave us details of where to get coffee-that it would be expensive, what to do at this beach – not much since the water was cold, how to go back to Manly- this same bus does a loop, and where to eat -very few choices here.

As we talked, the film crew, by now annoyed by the bus sitting at their film shoot maybe 4-6 minutes now, asked if we would be long. Rita assured them she was simply answering the questions her visitors from Hawaii were asking and that she was going to finish up with us shortly. She was very sweet to us. As Rita and her bus moved along, we set off on foot to survey Palm Beach. Kenny went down to touch the water, something we try to do when we come across the ocean in other places than home. We checked out the beautiful beach, noted no one was in the water today on this beautiful beach and wandered off.

As we meandered towards the far end looking at the different houses on the cliff sides, we figured that might be plenty for our visit to Palm Beach. About then, an L90 bus came up the road and stopped. It was Rita. She had just finished up a little break and was headed back the way we came. So, having discovered there was no place to eat and we were likely not going swimming today, we chose Rita. She gave us information on which bus to get back to Manly wharf and then to Manly beach. Most importantly, she was just as sweet going as she was coming.


After we left Rita, we made our way back to the wharf and caught a bus for a brief ride from Manly wharf to Manly Beach. What attracts people to it? Manly is an expensive community to live in.  It is a little bit of a drive to get to from Sydney but the ferry is quick and efficient.  The beach attracts surfers and beach goers, and it has that trendy cool energy.  It was easy to imagine it during the spring and summer months when the temperatures are warmer.

Tony on the Ferry

Having made the most of our time and met our beach goals it was time to return home. We just made the 5:15 ferry and headed into the front cabin as the ferry set out across the bay. The ferry wasn’t so crowded, but it seemed like every five ten seat row had two people at the end looking out he window….except for Tony…. who sat alone in a row. We asked if we might join him and he was most gracious in allowing us to take up the window seats.

It turns out he is a regular passenger who was on his way home from work, so he was happy to give up some space. A 21 year old university student of asian decent, Tony was combining a degree in business with I.T. training. We imagine that must be what most students are doing these days. Kenny had a ever so brief discussion about using HTML and CSS to build our website, acknowledging the amazing help he had to fix all the stuff he goofed up.

In the end, Tony hung with us as we made our slow exit before bidding us a found farewell. Somewhere in all that was the invitation for him to visit Hawaii. TTFN