About 3 hours later, a few wrong turns, some back tracking and a self-guided tour of Darwin University I could actually see the beach. It was beautiful! Problem was there was an electric fence between me and it. Despite it being about 4:30 in the afternoon at this point I was freakin' determined to set foot on this beach. So, I started down a little dirt road that ran parallel to the beach, the white sand so close yet so very, very far away. I passed signs that read '800 meters' then '500 meters' and then like a bright light at the end of a never ending dark and dismal tunnel, there it was, the entrance onto the beach. I made it! Then another sign with a picture that looked like a white rock...'Beware of asbestos washed up on the beach. Do not touch.' Well there goes my idea of paradise. Oh well, I had come this far, and dammit if I wasn't going to enjoy a walk on this asbestos covered beach. It was 5:00 anyway at this point so I had to keep my walk pretty short since I had no idea how long it would take to find my way back to civilization, and I wanted to find the bus back to Darwin before it got dark. One nice surprise is that the beach was covered in sand dollars, at least I hope they were sand dollars and not cleverly disguised asbestos.
After about 30 minutes I decided I should probably get going and not watch the sunset. I got myself on the right track pretty quickly, but it was a long (over an hour) trek back to the shopping center where I assumed I would find a bus stop. Wrong-O, again! No bus stop to be seen...how is this even possible! My feet were killing me at this point, and it was the regular temperature of 'hot as hell' even though the sun was setting, so I picked up a bottle of water and continued on my way hoping I would find a bus stop somewhere between here and Darwin city. At the next intersection a girl walked up beside me and I took the chance to ask her if she was from the area and if she knew where the bus stop was. Her answer was not encouraging, "I was just about to ask you the same thing!", but at least I had a buddy now. The girls name was Jacquie and surprisingly enough she was from Texas (haven't met many Americans along my travels). So we walked and chatted and ended up finally finding a bus stop, but of course we had just missed the bus and had some time to wait.
If you remember my last post, I mentioned that I had reached out to some members of couchsurfers.com, and several had already had surfers and could not host me. Well one promising host in particular had told me he would love to host me but he had one surfer show up a week early and another brought 2 people with her unexpectedly, so now his rooms were completely booked and he couldn't fit me. Well, as I was talking to my new friend from Texas, something funny happened. She began telling me about her host she found on couch surfers and how she came earlier then expected, and this other girl brought 2 friends who were causing the host trouble. What a small world! I told her about reaching out to the same guy and we had a good laugh. Jacquie was a nice girl and we ended up hanging out a few more times during my stay in Darwin. I even ended up finding out the the host she was staying with kicked out the 2 extras that were staying there. Plus, although I'm sure he's a nice guy, he was a big drinker and chain smoker so that would not have really worked out for me anyway.
So, even though I totally botched my trip to the Casuarina Beach, at least I made a new friend in the process.