When travel goes wrong…

I had to go to Mission Beach (the one in Queensland, Australia) recently to deal with some stuff. And the trip was one epic clusterf**k right from the start.

Basically I went to visit an old friend to help her sort some stuff out as her mother had just passed away. I booked flights to Cairns and got a hire car so that I could drive down to Mission Beach. I booked into Castaways resort. Big mistake.

When I was researching hotel options, the only one that appeared to have a fitness centre was Castaways. I actually rang the resort up and checked that they had one, I was told they did. Fantastic!

So anyway, I arrive to check-in at the resort after a raft of issues on Qantas, only to be told that the fitness centre had been closed for renovation. Sorry, what? I’d rung only days beforehand and was told that there would be a fitness centre available during my stay! I was then told there was a commercial gym down the road that I could use for $15 per visit…That raised an eyebrow, but I wanted to workout, so I went down there later on only to find that it was for all intents and purposes just someone’s backyard boxing gym – and it was closed for a week because the guy who ran the place was away!

After getting frustrated with that, I asked the resort reception about going scuba diving. No, I was told, the dive shop in Mission Beach had been closed down. Why then does the resort website offer it as an option?

Ok. No fitness centre and no scuba diving. I’ll get a spa treatment! No, the spa is booked out for the entire duration of my stay and I should have booked in advance. When I rang and asked about the fitness centre, I also asked about the spa and was told to just organise it with the front desk when I arrived…

Right. No fitness centre, no scuba diving, no spa.

Get to the room and the aircon is busted. In North Queensland. In summer. Uhuh. Anger levels rising considerably at this point.

No fitness centre, no scuba diving, no spa and no aircon.

So I go down to the restaurant for dinner and ask the waiter about what vegan and gluten free options might be available. He had no idea what vegan even meant, so I actually asked to speak to the chef. I did, and was told they could throw something together for me using vegetables and some kind of spicy tomato sauce. And there was a salad I could eat. Awesome. The vegetable dish was palatable…Except the dressing they put on the salad had honey in it, and I was sick shortly after. The chef told me explicitly to my face that this salad was vegan and gluten free. It wasn’t. And I ended up suffering the consequences.

So no fitness centre, no scuba diving, no spa, no aircon and no food.

Wonderful start, right? This all happened within 4 hours of arriving.

I went down for breakfast the next morning as it was included in the room rate. Figured I could find something to eat. Only, no. I asked about gluten free cereal…No. I asked about gluten free bread to make toast…They’d run out days ago. What then could I eat as everything else out had gluten or egg or something in it? Oh, we can get you some fruit they said! Ok, that’s safe. I got a single small slice of pineapple and a single small slice of rockmelon. Seriously – that was it.

After breakfast I went to Woolworths the next town over and bought some food in case the other dining options in town were just as ignorant. They were.

One other restaurant I ate at with the friend I had to visit, Fish Bar, had a Thai Noodle Salad which I asked about as it was the only thing that looked like a potential option. I was told that it was vegan and gluten free as it was just rice noodles, veggies and a palm sugar based chilli vinegar dressing. I figured it was safe, as again, I got this information directly from the chef I asked to speak to because the waitstaff there were just as clueless and had no idea what vegan OR gluten free meant. Only it turned out to be another clusterf**k. Presumably the dressing had a wheat based soy sauce or something in it, because I was sick not long after.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Mission Beach? The place supposedly prides itself on its organic food credentials and clean eating and ecotourism and all that. Yet they don’t seem to understand what gluten intolerance or veganism are? Seriously?

Anyway, I ended up eating food from Woolworths for the rest of the trip. Basically snack food. Not healthy when I’m scheduled to race another marathon soon.

The attitude of the resort staff? The attitude of the staff at the restaurants? The ignorance of the staff at the restaurants (both wait staff and kitchen staff)? How does a town like Mission Beach survive when it’s entire economy is dependent on tourism dollars and they provide such poor customer service on all levels in pretty much every single establishment I visited while there (exception was the local Woolworths).

So yeah, the trip was pretty much an epic disaster.

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The flowers were pretty?

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Despite disliking floral scents in general, I love frangipani! 

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