From here we found the ‘Wildlife Experience’ which was much more my scene thankfully. We wandered around happily in this little zoo and saw nocturnal animals, snakes, ‘roos, koalas, birds of all descriptions, some crocs and lots else. We liked the sign at the crocodile lake!
The animal area was absolutely full to bursting point with Japanese tourists, complete with the mandatory 6 cameras per person over the age of 3 months old, and I found them to be rather rude; pushing in front of you, walking across your path so you had to stop in your tracks, etc etc. And chain smoking so we couldn’t breathe even though you’re only supposed to smoke in designated areas in the park. I once read that you can tell if someone is from the country, a town or a city by how far away from you they stand so I tried to think on this and accept that they would come from a very crowded place and that my ‘personal space’ was a lot bigger than they would be allowing for, but even David was not amused with their behaviour, and he’s hard to upset.
We also went in and saw a little ‘farm show’ with a guy cracking whips, playing a didgeridoo, making billy tea, which we all got to taste (yuk! talk about strong!) and damper. The damper was nice. And of course he was really laying the Ockerisms on thick for the sake of the overseas visitors.
Next was a vintage car ride. Ahhhh, definitely all the excitement I need in a ride LOL. After this my tummy felt settled once more and we walked around the area where the water rides were, enjoying watching the people having fun. David asked if I would want to go on one and I replied “You can if you like!”
Also, here was the tall tower we’d noticed before and there were 2 rides using it, one that lifted a row of seats up to the top and then ‘dropped’
them, and the other was the thundering jet noise we’d heard constantly ever since we came into the park – a large metal ‘car’ that thundered along sounding very metal-to-metal as it built up speed along a runway and then hurled itself up the tower almost to the top. Then it slowed, pretty well stood still, and then thundered backwards again. Great fun. For those who wish hehehe. We enjoyed watching it all for quite a while though and hearing all the girls shriek.
We walked through ‘Gold Rush Country’ and saw a heli pad. We both love going in helicopters but I had not got my travel sickness tablets with me even if we’d fancied their charges so we kept walking and had a nice wander around as far as ‘Nickelodeon Central’ where we decided it was time for lunch. Lunch was what you’d expect from a place like this, pretty much on a par with McDonald’s although we tried to choose well, but it filled the spot and while we ate we sat and watched people using the FlowRider, which looked like great fun. It was water being forced upwards on a slope so people could try to surf on it and it was good watching the life-savers help the smaller people as they tried. I enjoyed the kindness of their actions.
We wandered around more and saw lots of things and then went to ‘Tiger Island’.
This was lovely. Two big tigers were laying around and after a little while the keepers went and got the 2 youngsters and we enjoyed watching them. One of the youngsters went to ‘talk’ to one of the mature tigers but he didn’t seem to like that idea and they boxed one another about the ears. The 3 keepers, who had been standing around talking, hastily made more space between themselves and the tigers. We both had expectedthem to break up the fight, silly us!
After this we went for an ice cream – something else we never do – and from there on to the little train for a final trip around the park. There were lots of rides for toddlers which I have not mentioned, and lots of rides for the brave too – here are a couple of pictures. In this first shot the people are upside down can you make it out?
Choose any pair of legs on either ride and they’re not ours!!! (AKA bugger that!)
On the way back to the car (which we found with ease, aren’t we clever?) we found a dear little Diahatsu occupying barely half of its parking spot, with the cutest number
plate which we thought was fun and then I saw a sticker on the back window which said “I’m a hummer poo”. That did tickle me.
What a wonderful day we had at DreamWorld. Thank you Lyn and Bill.
From here we were meeting Swami at Mermaid Beach to have dinner in a restaurant which she loves to go to so we headed south once more. As we’d been up and down this Pacific Motorway, always noticing the strangely numbered off-ramps, David had been forming a theory and this time he checked it out and found he was correct. The numbers related to how many kilometres each was from either Brisbane, or the start of the motorway (which perhaps is the same thing, I don’t know). What a clever little possum he is! Neither of us like unsolved questions so we were very pleased to have this one answered.
We arrived much too early at Mermaid Beach but it was not worth driving on to the hotel and then coming back so we parked the car and looked around a little growers market which was very nice. They had some absolutely massive mangoes and we also bought some bananas, blueberries and a few other things which I can’t remember. We put these in the car and then went for a walk around which included going down to the edge of the beach and sitting on a bench just watching the waves and the few people who were around. It looked like rain and was quite windy but it was never cold on the whole holiday. It was peaceful just sitting there snuggled up together.
As we wandered back towards the restaurant we saw someone delivering junk mail so we checked out his style and found him considerably lacking in energy hehehe. We run like billyoh, trying to beat each other back to the car! It had just started to rain very lightly so we went and sheltered under the restaurant awning until Swami arrived soon afterwards.
The restaurant was called Tian Ran and was vegetarian, though to anyone who did not know, the menu looked like any other Chinese restaurant – things like chilli beef, sweet and sour fish etc etc were all on there, but every single item was created without animal products. This place really was a dining experience and for a myriad of reasons.
Firstly we got to meet Swami’s friends Jo and Amanda who were both really nice. Amanda was the partner of the waiter, Josh, and they had a little girl named Chilli who was so cute. I’m not good at ages, maybe 6 months old, but a dear little thing. And then Swami’s other half, Greg, arrived so we met him for the first time too. Everyone was really nice and so friendly.
The restaurant itself was plain, a deep but skinny room that was helped visually by having mirrors all along one side. I forget now if it was Josh that brought out pots of tea or whether Swami went into the kitchen to get them – it may have been both as we had 2 pots which were different flavours to one another and we drank these while deciding on our orders. For the most part we relied on Swami to choose as she’s the expert at eating there. And for her next trick she went behind the counter, got the order book and wrote out our order and then took the top copy in to the kitchen. She had also made a dessert at home and took that through to put in the fridge until we were ready for it.
We all chatted away happily and other people came in and I think everyone spoke to us. Many took Chilli for a cuddle too. It was more like being in someone’s house for a party because everyone knew each other and it was a really excellent, friendly atmosphere.
Our first course arrived and was totally delicious. We shall go there again for sure when we’re back over there in July. Then the main courses arrived, which we shared, and David surprised me by happily using chop sticks, as he usually either refuses or puts on the full show of trying to stab each grain of rice on the end of a stick which obviously does nothing for getting food in his stomach but everything for getting him attention and making me laugh.
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The main courses were totally yumm as well and we all chowed down until most of it was pretty much gone and we could not fit another bite in. Someone bought out another pot of tea – with yet another different flavour and we all sat around chatting happily. I didn’t see Josh do a whole lot, it pretty much seemed to be a help yourself kind of place.
Swami mentioned the poi which we had borrowed from Zak and brought to return tonight. Amanda is a professional fire twirler and poi expert so Swami asked if Amanda would be willing to show me how to use them. I’d been trying each night with Zak’s but not been terribly successful. Amanda was amazing, and David whipped out the video camera to catch her lesson on film. I felt so special having someone perform poi especially for me! And David loved watching her face as she showed us too, she had a very expressive and beautifully calm air about her and her face just glowed.
At the end of the meal Swami went and got the duplicate copy of our order, wrote all the prices on and added it up using the calculator on the counter and then supervised the payment. I had already seen another customer from another table do the same and put his money into the cash tin which was open on top of the counter. This was certainly different!!! All too soon it was time to go so we gave huge hugs to Swami, as this was the last time we would see her, this trip, and made our way back to the hotel once more.
3 bags of rubbish across the hall. They had excelled themselves today!
Tue 12th Feb
We awoke to rain for the first time during our holiday but it didn’t matter as today we’d planned on driving north, through Brisbane city to a shopping centre to meet another raw foodist friend. We had a nice fruity breakfast, in fact we were wondering if we’d be able to eat all the fruit we’d been collecting from everywhere and sat and allocated it into separate piles for specific meals so that we could pace ourselves seeing as fruit is not allowed over the Western Australian border.
Across the hallway from our door as we left were 2 rubbish bags and we wondered if the maids had taken only 1 or whether they’d taken all 3 and the mystery occupants had whipped 2 more out there quick! Little things amuse little minds.
We had looked at the map the night before to see where to go and David had made notes of roads, turns and map pages. I believe the trip covered 19 map pages from memory. We were completely baffled by the Brisbane map book anyway in that it has 3 sections, 1 each for Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast – fair enough. But!!!!! The sections were edged by 3 different shades of green which meant you had to double check each time that you’d opened the correct part by squizzing at the edges instead of just being able to confidently grab and open. Seemed pretty silly to me when there’s a whole rainbow of colours to choose from. (Word has that sentence underlined and probably wants me to put “rainbow of colours from which to choose” but this is not a literary/formal document it’s just for fun so Word can keep its opinions to itself.) We’d waited until the commuters would be off the motorway and off we went.
The rain was steady but not heavy and we made good progress. We came a lot closer to the city than I’d hoped and many of the roads once we were there just branched, unannounced, into 2 parts and the signposting was after the event so it was not easy, but somehow we did not make any wrong turns at all and made it past the city centre outskirts. Then northwards to places we’d never visited before which is always exciting. We found Chermside Shopping Centre very easily and took ourselves into the first available driveway and eventually found heaps of parking after getting a bit worried to start with as it had all seemed chokkas. We even got a parking spot under a shade sail which was doing its bit to keep the now gentle rain from our heads, and found our way easily into the centre itself. The drive took us about 2 hours.
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