A Travellerspoint blog

march 22 2010 Brisbane airport to Cairns

good domestic flight

sunny 31 °C
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Monday March 22 2010 sitting in the Brisbane International Airport, waiting to depart for Cairns. Flight time 6:55am

The gate 20 station area was filling up with people. Who knew so many were going to or through the Cairns airport. The 737 was going to be full. Then the ol' delayed announcement came on. (How many people's horoscopes predicted delays that morning – I know the general one for Aquarius did – really!)
The plane is going to be delayed a half hour, plus we will now change gates. You would think gate 24 was just around the bend, not so much. I am not exaggerating when I say we walked back down the long hallway of boutiques and eateries, back towards the entrance, then took a left and walked half a block to our new gate. I sat behind some women who were talking in normal sound and they were quite funny, so it was hard to mind my own business and not snicker at their stories. It was an easy wait. Then on to the airplane and I sat between one business man and one guy who took up his space and a touch of mine. He was quite tall and on top of that, he put a piece of personal carry-on under the seat in front of him, so his large feet dropped straight down in front of him. Then I noticed both guys, sat with their knees flared out and into my space. I felt quite confined with knees edging my little space and the bulk of their arms filling the arm rests. Breakfast came quite quickly and it was good. Then I put on my headphones and proceeded to snooze with the music in my ears.

Stepping out into the Cairns airport I felt a tropical blast of hot and humid air. Oh my. This airport is under renovations and our baggage pickup was way out of the airport area that we entered, down a long sidewalk to our left into a big new baggage carousel area. Where to my delight I found my contact because she was holding a white card with my name on it! I so love being taken care of in this way. My travel contact introduced me to Tony, who was taking me to my hotel as soon as I got my baggage. Done. I am now in my hotel called the Discovery Cairns and my receptionist there was so welcoming, full of advice and made me feel that I would be fine here for the next 5 nights.

Posted by dpanusa 00:35 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

March 20 Maleny

Saturday morning activities

semi-overcast
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Saturday March 20, 2010 Maleny, Australia 11:00am

I forgot to mention, that Thank God I rented a car. The vacation would not have been as good without it. Different of course, but I love my freedom to go and do what I want.

This morning I showered and headed out to the internet cafe to upload all my photos and stories to date. Also, planning on having my breakfast there. Then off to the hairdresser's place.

I ordered my pancakes and soy latte and went over to the internet computer where I am allowed to move the internet cable onto my laptop. Now I'm connected! Bonus was that the waitress allowed me to eat my breakfast at the station, big grin. I uploaded all my photos which was time consuming not for the actual upload but for the requirement of information to attach to the photos. After that, I had stories that I wanted to upload and of course as I review them for editting there were some minor items that I wanted to add. It was satisfying to get these stories out to my friends.

Then I was able to pick up emails from home and that buoyed my spirits too. I love the encouragement and positiveness that my sister and daughter-in-law provide.

Now I am waiting for my hair appointment at 11:15am.
I had not brought my “hair stuff” from home for two reasons, one is the bulk and two is that I did not want to worry about my hair. Whatever, tie it up. However, for the wedding, I had asked Hair on Maple Street if she could squeeze me in and she did. Just a regular hair style, nothing fancy; firstly it's not me and secondly the humidity is way too high for maintaining a style.

While I was there a number of neighbourly type people came through and chit chatted with the wonderful woman who owns the place and was doing my hair. It was nice to be in the middle of this community. Time to go back to my cottage and get ready.

Posted by dpanusa 00:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

march 22 2010 Maleny to Brisbane airport

my journey and when not to drink coffee

semi-overcast 22 °C
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Monday March 22, 2010

Time to leave Maleny.
My flight leaves the Brisbane Domestic Airport at 6:55am. I want to be there an hour early. I have to return my Hertz rent a car first. I went to sleep at 9pm Sunday evening. I set my mind to wake up at 4am having set the alarm radio clock in my room, but not having confidence in it because I had to follow directions that are not entirely clear and reassuring.
I awoke firstly at 10:30pm with a start. Then went back to bed.
Then I awoke about 1:00am because I think that's when Janet and Rob arrived back at the cottage next to me.
Finally I awoke at 3:25am and that was close enough. I made myself a good cup of coffee, watched the TV weather channel and then proceeded to get ready to leave by 4am. Somehow putting my stuff together and changing my mind about what I wanted to wear took longer than I planned. Then when I tried to set the GPS up on the window screen, the bloody holder was giving me a hard time. I think I spent 5 minutes trying to fix it. (Saturday evening the holder fell apart and that was an interesting start. See march 20 going home for that story). So anyway, forget the holder, put the GPS on the dash and go. I left at 4:22am. I'm anticipating that it will take me an hour and a half to get to the domestic airport.

The highway system is great and the GPS voice got me through the various changes that were required.
I used three highway systems. The GPS was not up to date for actually exiting to the airport. It told me in 3 km that I would turn for the airport, a sign in front of me said 500 metres exit to airport. I followed the sign. (remembering our new bridge at home). The signage is fantastic, with busy traffic, the slower pace and separate lane for rental cars (at a certain point) got me into the Hertz car park easily. As I unloaded my stuff – now having to go to the bathroom urgently, a fellow came out from the Hertz station and took my keys etcetera. I headed into the airport. It was 5:45am.

I gave a quick look for a toilet, but with all my baggage, I really didn't want to have to take it with me into the room.

Then for check in, everyone is expected to use a self-service kiosk. I have never used one before. Okay, time to read (keep in mind I have to pee). So I got my electronic boarding pass; waited in line; checked my baggage; went over to security to go through the gates. Please take your laptop out of your carry on and put it into a tray. Done. I go to the roller thing and place my laptop tray, my carry on piece and my red purse/satchel. I see/hear the security person point out something about a red purse to a person in the back. Whatever. I go through. Then re-pack. Then turn around to go and I am asked to come to the side for a check of ammunition powder. Sure. (remember I still have to pee – do you think that I was looking a little sweaty and nervous?) I looked at the person next to me, also getting checked and she had some red on her baggage. I think that is how they were choosing their random people checks today. Then as I was now free to go, I realized that I had forgotten that I had a big bottle of drinking water in my carry-on. Perhaps I could have gotten to the toilet earlier if I had not left that in my bag?

First level is gates 1 to 3, no mention of where my gate 20 was. I asked a security guard whose body language seemed to indicate that he is not to be talked to. Anyhoo, my gate is upstairs, take the escalator. Thank you. Up the escalator, down a long hall, walking is good...and finally the bathroom! Hold up, for a short lineup of three in front of me. So close. Finally I got to sit and be relieved Whew and sigh.

This brings me to sitting in my chair at my gate and we will be boarding in five minutes. I am now going to be flying to Cairns. Leaving at 6:55am March 22, 2010 Australian time.

Posted by dpanusa 18:35 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Supper March 19, 2010

Maleny restaurant compliment

semi-overcast 26 °C
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Suppertime March 19, 2010 in Maleny, Australia

Maleny restaurant called: The Up Front Club. Loved it. Why? It was welcoming and made good food.
I am traveling on my own, so I drove into town from the cottage I was staying at 5 km east of Maleny. I just drove slowly through town so as to get a first impression from any of the open restaurants (it is currently 5:30pm). I spotted one and drove into the first public parking spot I could find. It was about a ½ block down a lane. It was a well lit parking area and the lane was wide and short with public activity going on within sight. I felt okay.
I walked down the sidewalk and almost felt invited in by the ambiance. It has a hippie feel to it. There were tables and chairs in front of the restaurant, at the side of the restaurant, at the back of the restaurant and of course inside. I entered from a side opening – no door. It's a warm March 19 evening at 22 deg. C. There were musicians setting up in a small corner behind me as I waited to order. As they did a few test sounds, I could tell it was going to be relaxing but not put you to sleep, New Age type music with a beautiful flute sound. The young man behind the counter was so easy to talk to and willing to help me with my decisions. I wanted pasta as there was a Pasta of the day. Since the supper period had just started, he didn't know and asked me if he could leave me and go check it out. Behind him is an open view of the kitchen and all the people working back there. He came back and described the dish. Perfect for what I was in the mood for. I asked for an ale as I don't generally like lagers and all I could see before me were lagers shown in the cooler window below the counter. (there are also wine choices). He had two ales and recommended a Coopers sparkling ale – oh yes! I checked with him to see which table one person should sit at, and he said there were no rules except for the reserved table, and in fact pointed out an interesting table with four chairs at it. I paid for my meal and took my ale and table number to that table. I seated just outside of the said side entrance and have the musicians in front of me to the right about 20 ft. Within just the right amount of waiting time, the waitress brought over my pasta dish. It was homemade fettuccine with a fresh tomato sauce with just the right touch of onions and an excellent addition of good tasting black olives. The perfect balance of flavorings in this sauce. The pasta was cooked perfectly. What a comfortable suppertime I had.

I didn't want to be driving in the dark, as I am not so familiar with the roads around here and just want to reduce any risk associated with being in the dark. The dark comes on quick at this time of year. By 6:30 pm it is dark. So I did not linger for the music. I enjoyed my meal in comfort as I said, and wandered easily back to my car. The drive back is about 7 minutes. I am not available for any more meals there as I have other plans to move on, and so, this quick note on my laptop. I wish The Up Front Club much success.

Posted by dpanusa 03:26 Archived in Australia Tagged food Comments (0)

March 19 Venturing Out and about

Town of Maleny then onto the Australian zoo

semi-overcast 26 °C
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Friday morning March 19, 2010 in Australia

This morning I woke up at 6am – work habit I guess.
So I made myself a cup of coffee and watched the local news.
Then as I felt more awake, I decided it was time to paint my toe nails :-)
News, coffee, comfort and a sunny start to the day – nice.
I did not order breakfast from this resort because I wanted the excuse to visit the surrounding area.
I wasn't sure what time the cafes would open for breakfast so gave myself until 9am before venturing out. I drove into Maleny for the first time.

Another town on a hill – oh gosh. I found public parking and just slowly shuffled along in my most interested tourist look – grin. I found a cafe where a lot of men were picking up their coffees and eats, so I figured it must be good. I sat down with a soy latte and a delicious date scone with butter and jam.
Also gave another look at the coins that are used here, takes a little getting used to! 50 cent is huge, no quarters but a 20 cent piece, then a 10 cent piece. The $1 is smaller than all those, and the $2 is smaller than the $1.00
I asked the young lady there where the internet cafe was. She knew and it wasn't too far away!
The town is like Commercial Drive in Vancouver – but – on a hill and quite sunny. I noticed a lot of older people around, but it is 10 am Friday morning. As I was window shopping, I found a hair salon that was done in modern (out of context with everything else) style, so I popped in to see if the owner could squeeze an appointment in tomorrow to do my hair – blow dry and straightening iron. I hadn't brought all of my hair stuff because it is way toooo much and I planned on going as rough as I could – hey I'm on holiday, no stress! She was so nice! I saw her schedule was full, but she could look after my hair needs at 11:15am tomorrow. Done. The wedding is at 3:30pm Saturday.

I did wander in and out of the various shops. I found the internet cafe and wrote quickie emails to my son, sister and friend. I plan on typing more up in my laptop and then uploading from my laptop, as the cafe allows this with their cable. The cost is $2.50 for 15 minutes, I went on for 20 minutes and no more was charged. Thank you.

Then was feeling weak, so time to go back to the car. I drove around a bit to have more look sees. I headed back to my cottage for a rest. I pulled out my meditation item on my MP3 and felt much better afterwards.

This is my update in my journal after that rest. On with the day..now.

My tummy says it is lunchtime, so where to go? My first thought was the Steve Irwin Australian Zoo as it is not too far from here (about 45 mins I think); plus it will fill in the rest of my day. I checked with my host Terry for directions and off I went south to the zoo. It was on a direct route and easy to find. I arrived at 1pm. Big parking lot, no fee to park. Of course, once I got to the entrance, the fee to get in was $55 . I am not an experienced participant in such outings, so I was surprised, but hey it's a part of my journey; and I paid.

This is a good outing. The zoo covers 70 acres; they are anticipating growing to 300 acres. To my sensibilities there seems to be a good space for each type of animal. This is a warm climate with rain so the vegetation is lush. The animals looked healthy, no scrawny or wobbly walking things. There is a continuous shuttle that you can get on and off at so that it was easier for me to prioritize what I wanted to spend my time and energy on. There was a big food court building with shade and open to the breeze, although it was still warm – of course. There are shows at specific times for specific animals and the shows do not overlap, so it is possible to stay for all of them. Every animal station has a dedicated time for hands on by people and these times are posted. The koala bear area has many koalas so they rotate the bears and this allows people all day to have the opportunity to pet their lower back area. There is a main stage event twice a day and I was there for the 2pm show. Crikey it was a bit corny for the introduction, and yet this is a good warm up I suppose. Very good information at helping the animal conservation. The most fascinating to me were the trained wild birds flying around the open stadium! Oh my gosh, they flew like fighter jets across our faces, again and again! The crocodile show was okay.

Of course there are many opportunities to buy stuff, but I am just at the start of my 21 days trip and I don't want to have to pack around stuff. Bindi Irwin's souvenirs will have to be purchased over the internet for my granddaughters! So after 3 hours, I was tired and needed to leave and the shuttle was on its last run now at 4:30pm. Time to go.

Posted by dpanusa 03:26 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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