Wed 6th Feb (The other pages of the story do have photos, there just weren’t any to go with this page I do apologise!)
The morning of our exciting holiday has arrived at last. House/dog/cat sitter has been arranged and given 2 pages of instructions, mostly about this woofy little dog, sleeping on my lap as I write hehehe. We’ve just packed our cases this morning and are ready to start our adventure. It’s a pretty warm day in Perth, as it has been for some time now, and we’re off to the Gold Coast where they’ve had the wettest summer in yonks, complete with flooding and ruined mango crops. Hmmm.
I’ve been dosed up with travel sickness tablets since 9am and can barely keep my eyes open. They don’t usually affect me this badly but I haven’t taken so much as a panadol in the last 9 months so I guess my body is really noticing them. For some strange reason I’ve felt really nervous about this flight right from the day we first booked it too.
Anyway, all ready now to leave home and drive to Rachan’s house for soon after 11 where he had prepared a really beautiful lunch for us of a raw spicy tomato soup and chunks of watermelon to follow. Unfortunately, between my sleepiness and my nerves I was not able to do it justice, but very much enjoyed what I had. David too was nervous, but about getting to the airport on time. We were to leave our car at Rachan’s home so that it was only a short taxi fare ($20 to his house or about $80 to ours!!!) back again when we arrived home and, bless Rachan, he came with us in the car to the airport and drove it back again to his house so that we didn’t have to pay the taxi fare for this part of the journey. He also gave us a key to his house so that I could go in to get Monty’s (the car’s name) key when we returned as he would still be at work.
Wise to airport security measures I arranged with David that I would take all the cabin baggage through the scanner and once we’d seen that everything we owned (other than his mobile in case of emergencies) would scan acceptably he would then go and check in for us both with the cases. My thinking was that if we’d checked in the cases and then something in our cabin bags was knocked back we would have to throw it out, no matter how valuable, as there was nobody there to take it from us. But the best laid plans, for once, worked a treat. I did not go back out as once upon a time I had my handbag refused entry 3 times for 1 item on each scan – they did not see all 3 items at once, so I don’t trust them. And that occasion was just for meeting someone, we weren’t even flying!!!
I went through without a hitch, waved OK to David, and then in due course David joined me with the boarding passes and we went upstairs to await our flight boarding call for the 13:20 take off. I took my next dose of travel sickness tablets with a bottle of water I’d taken along for the purpose and David bought himself a coffee. The time passed really quickly until we could get on the flight and we had 2 seats with a window on the right hand side of the plane, perfect.
This was a 4½ hour flight and was absolutely faultless and incredibly smooth. It was our 17th flight ever and absolutely the best one. I’d booked a vegetarian meal ahead of time when we booked our seat allocations. I didn’t need to eat as I’d had food with Rachan, but it helped to fill the time and I felt totally spoiled when mine arrived so far ahead of everyone else’s that I’d eaten half of it by the time David got his. Those of you who have eaten with me know how slow I am!!! The time went really quickly on the flight, we didn’t even watch the film, just read our books a little, and of course I had my nose stuck firmly to the window for half the journey as I will never, ever tire of the view from up there. The sky was clear, the sun shone brightly and everything was perfect.
We wondered how we’d go once closer to Brisbane where it would be raining and whether we’d be buffeted around on the descent. Just as we felt the plane take its first dip in height we went into dark clouds. Hold on tight! But nothing. As smooth as a sunny sky, just dark, and the suddenness of the darkness was a surprise as it was only 18:30 in Brisbane. The landing was amazing and I still had my nose glued to the window as soon as anything at all became visible through the cloud, trying to leave room for David to see too.
We collected our bags quickly and easily and rang the hire car company who told us where to wait for their little bus to come and get us. It was lightly drizzling but where we stood was under cover, and the air was warm anyway. So we stood there watching others come and go and I began to notice how enthusiastic the cars seemed to be to stop for pedestrians at the crossings, commenting on it to David. That was it, he was then doing boyish impersonations of cars screeching to a halt every time we saw someone approach a cross walk, it was so funny, and we could not believe how keen the cars were to stop! Once the bus arrived for us David mentioned it to the lovely, friendly driver and asked if there was a heavy fine or something for not stopping. The driver replied “Oh yeah!” It started to rain a little more but we only had to get from the bus into their office so that was OK. The driver told us that he’s actually retired but lives next door to the office so the hire company call him to do the bus run in if it’s too hot, too late, too cold, they don’t feel like it…. hehehe. He was very nice anyway, did all the paperwork and gave us the car, a white Camry, a map book and then lovely clear directions on how to get onto the Pacific Motorway headed for the Gold Coast, and I had printed out instructions from Google Maps on how to find the hotel from there.
Our friend Swami had told us that she was staying the night near to Exit 69, which we would pass. We knew we were in for a drive of about 90 minutes but when the first exit we saw was number 3 we thought “Oh oh!” It was still raining but not heavily. Not enough to trouble David anyway – nor me, the worst passenger in the world lol. The exits ticked by, baffling us with their missing numbers, but eventually we waved a very hearty hello to Swami as we passed by 69 and we managed to follow the rest of the instructions very easily to the front door of the hotel, the Calypso Plaza Resort. This is going to be a very boring holiday to report on as we only got lost once, I should warn my regular readers who expect U-turn entertainment.
David went in to the hotel and was given a parking access card so we drove around and under the hotel, and then carried our cases back to reception to book in and then find our room. Swami had already sent me an SMS saying that our hotel was very nice as long as we didn’t mind long corridors and she was right!!! We went up one flight of stairs from reception and turned left into one long corridor, then right at the end of this and walked a fair way down that one until we found our room. The room was very nice too – a little kitchen, combined dining/lounge, the bedroom and a combined bathroom/laundry. Everything you could want.
And on the dining table was a spread fit for royalty which Swami had prepared for us and delivered to the hotel earlier in the day. It even had a beautifully printed menu next to it. We pretty much just put our cases down, checked out the kitchen cupboard contents and got out plates, knives and forks and sat down to our 2nd rawfood feast for the day, prepared with love by dear friends. The menu said (beautifully displayed, but I’ll just cram it up here) RAWganictm Welcome to the Gold Coast May & David, please enjoy your raw food platter, made with love: crudités with black tahini & chickpea miso dipping sauce, seaweed crackers with green tahini hommous, sweet & sour not-meatballs, chocolate beetroot cake and chocolate crackles. It also had a nice little personal message on the bottom. And as if that wasn’t enough she had put fruit in the fruit bowl as well – mango, nectarines and passionfruit. The food was delicious but we could only eat half of it so between all of that it served us for breakfast the next day as well as lunch.
We kind of unpacked the cases but that seemed like a waste of being on holiday so we went out for a walk instead. It was about 11pm by then but what the heck, holidays are for fun and we are used to late hours with David doing night shift Also the rain had stopped for us so that was a bonus. We headed away from the direction we’d arrived in, in search of the border monument, which we’d seen when we drove from Sydney to Brisbane in ‘04, which I felt could not be far away. On past holidays this would have left us lost for hours, but not this time, we walked down the road and quickly found one – but not the one we’d seen last time, so David failed in his attempts at turning me back around for the hotel, poor long-suffering soul that he is. I’d seen a steep hill and I wanted to climb it! Sure enough it was named Hill Street so we clambered to the top, turned right (the only choice) and continued climbing. I said to David that I was sure the monument was just around the next corner so we kept going. It wasn’t, but there was another hill so we just had to! And after climbing this hill too, there it was – the one on the coast. We pottered around it, remembering the last time we were there 4 years ago, and then headed off down Border Street/Road/what-ever-it-is feeling that this would bring us back to the first monument we’d seen which was on the same street as our hotel, making jokes about ‘if this was in Port Macquarie we’d be lost for the next 3 hours!’. But sure enough, down, down, down the hill, and we came to an intersection with ‘our’ monument on it, yaaayyyy! Boundary Street became Griffith Street so if we’d kept walking straight ahead in the first place we’d have still found THE monument. But no harm done, we’d enjoyed the extra hill climbs.
On the way back along Griffith Street we found a 711 store and bought some bread and margarine for David to have for a toast breakfast the next day and some OJ for me, then headed back to the hotel for a lovely sleep.
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A nice smooth beginning so far LOL!