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  • Writer's pictureClaire

13/02/24 Surfers Paradise to Brisbane

A nice start to the day again, a bit hazy so no fabulous sunrise but you can't have it all can you! We made short of packing up the Sturdy one, I think by now we can be considered as professional bag packers. I filled my new back pack up that replaces my origional bag, and I regret not buying the first one i picked up. Frankly I have serious doubts that this one is going to hold out for any length of time. I do however, have the name and brand of the other one so if push comes to shove I know where to get it from. Inspired or what? The pack is considerably heavier than I anticipated it would be, apparently that has something to do with the amount of rubbish I have in it ... hurumph. We now have space to spare in the Sturdy one, although I dont know how long that will last, I've had to trade in some of my clothes for new ones and my daps have come to the end of their days. RIP faithful old rocket dogs. I am now down to a single pair of flip flops and they're not in the best state. Unheard of, me only having a single pair of shoes to my name. It won't last, I will definately have to get some more at some point! Just not right now.

We checked out of the apartments, after a final photo of the ocean from the balcony, and went the short distance down the street to the tram stop. It came in to the station a minute of so later, absolute perfect timing on our part. If we had missed it, we only would have had to wait another 7 minutes for the next one anyway. It was quite busy, even thought we were out of the morning rush hour, but we managed to get seats and a Mildred space. We were going to the final stop of Helensvale which was 28 minutes from where we got on board, it stopped at every stop, hence the time it took to get there. We went through Southport, and Labrador, places I lived and worked in, and I recognised not a single bit of it. The old Australia Fair Mall was still there where I used to do my food shopping, but everything else was all new builds and far more housing developments than it ever used to be; They were quiet little suburbs many moons ago and now they have just merged into each other. I realised as we left it was the ocean and the beach that I fell in love with and that Surfers itself , whilst ok is just a party place and I am way too old for that shit. The sprawling highrises and ever increasing apartment buildings are so immense now that they actually block the sun on the beach in the afternoons now! Sorry, but that is not remotely acceptable to me. Whilst it was really nice to visit, it's not somewhere that I have the urge to return to any time soon. Perth and Western Australia, I'd go back right this minute, it's just home from home.

The tram terminated in Helensvale and arrived bang on time. The police patrolled the cars and asked us for our cards to prove we'd paid, Im not quite sure how they could prove it as we paid with our bank cards and not a travel card. They seemed happy enough though and we weren't thrown off the tram. Result. The fine for not paying is $300 AUD, so for the sake of a few dollars, what's the point in trying to avoid paying? After we'd tapped our cards to signify the end of that particular leg of the journey,, we had to take the lift up to the next floor, go across the fly over and then go back down in a lift the other side. The tram went back south and the connections Northbound were either train. or by bus. We took the train and had a few minutes to spare which was again, just perfect timing.. We were able to board without the ramp because the train was level with the platform. There was a very strange individual on the train with two boys who I'd put at mid to late teens. He was videoing walking onto the train and videoed us as he plonked hiself into a seat opposite the Mildred parking spot. About 5 minutes after the train left the station, a guard walked down through the carriages, and the strange man got up and followed him all the way down the train. Right on the guards shoulder. He didn't return for the whole journey, which relieved me no end. The boys who had boarded with him were looking for him down the train, obviously having no idea where the hell he had gone to. It struck me as being just very very odd behaviour. He had a rucksack on his front too ..... As we came into Brisbane, we crossed over the river, it was a dirty muddy brown, and despite its unappealing colour there were boats, and jet skis speeding down it. Unfortunately, it was just a bit murky for me, so I won't be dipping my toe in there anytime soon. As cities go, its not dissimilar to any other, when we return from North Queensland we'll have a look around it for a few days, and hopefully we'll see some interesting bits. We had to get off the train at Central and then swap to the other side of the platform for the next train we needed to take to Doonben. It was a purple line, Si was happy, his favorite colour. The hotel I booked for the night was on Lamington Road, and bloody google told me we needed to get off the train at Ascot. We did as advised by stupid google and then discovered, after Si wheeling us up hill and down dale that the end of the line of Doonben was far closer to our hotel than Ascot was. Apart from the fact the station was a good deal further away from the Hotel than the end of the line, It was actually a really nice trundle. Everywhere we looked were perfectly manicured verges, shaded by large leafy trees , beautiful houses and gardens it is an area that appears to be very affluent. There are two awesome horse racing tracks just of the main road, that we passed as we came in on the train, The owners entrance and the stables were on a whole different level and just screamed money. Sadly there is no racing on while we are in town which is a shame. I don't mind me a day at the races at all.

We arrived at the hotel too early to check in, so went in search of a cafe called Jam and Lamington, only to discover it had closed down. Knickers. The only option was the equivilent of a greasy spoon, which neither of us really fancied, and so a drink sufficed!. The temperature was mid 30's and overcast, so it was nice to have a cold bottle of water to chug on. The smell of the chips, spring rolls and other deep fried foods was wafting out the door, and in fairness, the food couldnt have been that bad because there was a never ending rotation of breakdown truck drivers, small lorry drivers, (it was the lorries that were small not the drivers) and laborourers all tucking into their goodies as they came out the door. With half hour to go to check in time we rumbled back up the street to the Motel, We were able to check in and the room itself was spotless. Everything, was white and gleaming, the towels soft and fluffy and the bedding smelt great! It was a lot newer than the apartments we had inSurfers, which were a bit tired and dated, but still perfectly adequate for our needs. We didn't bother going back out for food, deciding it would likely be a much better idea to get some sleep in readiness for our uncivilised flight tomorrow.

Jet star have recently changed their internal flight check in procedures, whereas we could previously check in with an hour to spare, they now require a full two hours before departure. As our flight was scheduled at 0640 hours, we need to be there 0440hours. I've pre booked an uber for 0430 as the airport is only ten minutes up the road, and we've set the alarm for 0330hours. For some reason, the aircon wouldn't work on high for any length of time, about five minutes was it's limit. The only way we could get cool air in the room was by hitting the on button again and again and again. As the temp was warm to say the least, we were a little on the warm side so it wasn't boding well for a decent nights sleep. The air con is the worse we have encountered to date, which is a shame, because the rest of the motel is lovely. Not somewhere you'd go for a holiday, but as a stop over close to the airport it's perfect.

Unpacking was a waste of time so we haven't bothered, we had our toiletries and clean knickers in the hand luggage so there was no need to open up The sturdy One.. Tomorrow is going to be a tough one, from the point of view of the times, but we are really looking forward to a new place and adventures. Oh, and lots more sunshine.

Much love


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