Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brisbane to Cairns

I dreamed about SIL Ken and grandson, Zac...something about a casino, a beauty shop, going to eat at a burger joint, and Zac slipping on a snow covered step and getting his foot soaking wet.

I was up at 5:30...way ahead of the 7:00 alarm.  I am ready for 3-1/2 days at the Mercure on the Esplanade with a little luxury.  And I'm ready to get back to the farm on Thursday.

David dropped me off at the airport a little before 9:00 a.m. on the way to visit his brother.  David was a good host, and I hope he'll come to Arkansas next year.
David Fielder using his fry pan.
Toll roads here are managed much better than they are in the States.  There are no toll stopping to pay tolls or show your prepaid cards.   Tolls are paid electronically.  The tag goes behind your rear view mirror and is read by a sensor as you drive past a tolling point.  When David drove through there was a little beep that meant his toll account had been automatically debited.  You get a tag from toll providers by paying a security deposit and a pre-paid toll balance.  When your balance drops below a certain amount, your account is topped off by charging your credit card or checking account.  Traffic never misses a beat.  It's a great system.  The Northeast Corridor in the US needs to look into this.

I was at the airport in plenty of time for my 1:40 flight on Virgin Blue.  I found my gate and then decided to try one of the computers in the airport where you drop in a $2.00 coin for 20 minutes of internet time.  I lost my money.  Nothing happened.

At NRG (Natural Regenerating Good) I bought a tropical juice with passion fruit.  Passion fruit is so good.  Can you grow passion fruit in Arkansas?  It will be worth pursuing.

Through Qantas Connect I was able to get 2 hours of internet for $10.00.  I checked Facebook, Drudge Report, and email.  Then I updated all my aps, installed Minesweeper and Spider Solitaire, and then Skyped with my sister, Sheila,  until I ran out of time.

At 10:30 I bought a Greek Salad and a box of chips (fries) to eat at lunchtime.  There was a gate change, so I found my new gate and settled down to play Minesweeper, Spider Solitaire, and Freecell.  Then I ate my lunch and read in Heidi.

At 12:30 I noticed my flight was no longer included on the list of departures at my gate, so I went to find my new departure gate.  That's the bad thing about getting to the airport so early.  If I had arrived an hour ahead of time like a normal person I wouldn't have had to move so much.

Security at Australian airports is not nearly the hassle it is in the U.S. airports.  Everyone still goes through a security check, but it is not like a police state.   Friends and family can go with you to the gates and see you off when you board your plane.

My seat mates on the flight were a British couple who have lived in a small village in France, Duoe La Fountaine, in the Loire Valley, since 2002.  They bought a ruin and made it habitable.  Now they are working to make it like they want it....a job that will never be done according to the lady.  They have done most of the work themselves.  They also bought a second property there and restored it to sell for income.  We talked about learning French...she is fluent...and her 93 year old neighbor whose cat died while in her care.  The old lady lives in a lovely home with no hot water and no toilet.  But now she has a new cat companion, thanks to the lady in the seat next to me. 

If you want to renovate a ruin in France, here is one to look at.

I worried all day that my luggage was not going to be on the plane.  After I dropped my bag and went through security, I remembered that when I printed my boarding pass no luggage tag had printed.  I had not put a luggage tag on my bag!  I couldn't remember the man who checked it in putting one on either.  My bag weighed 21 kilos...20 kilo limit.  I offered to take out some books, but the man at the counter said it was okay.  As I waited at the carousel to pick up my bag, I had a negative mind that it was not going to show up.  I was already missing my marked up Bible and my notebooks I scribble in all the time.  Bag after bag came by, but no royal blue with a pink luggage tag.  But finally, there it was!  I was so HAPPY!

Price for a shuttle on Sun Palm Shuttle Service to the Mercure Harbourside Hotel from the airport was $12.00.  The driver said, "Welcome to the tropics!"  What beauty.  The hotel clerk was friendly.  My room looked over Trinity Bay and came equipped with internet access in my room for $15.00 extra.  I am loving the luxury of it all.  After traveling for so long, I am worn out in body and mind.
View of Trinity Bay  from the balcony of my room at the Mercure.
None of the lights would come on in my room, so I called the reception desk to find out why.  I had been given two room keys and one of the keys must be inserted at the light switch by the door before any of the lights will work.  I had never seen that before.

I had dinner at Teshi's Restaurant at the hotel.  I had a pot of peppermint tea, a wonderful garden salad, and a side of jasmine rice.  I enjoyed every bite of the food along with the lovely view of the sea and the swimming pool.  Cost of the meal:  $24.00.
Peppermint Tea

Garden Salad from Teshi's Restaurant.
 The internet is working great in the room, but everyone at home was asleep.  I watched television and read until I went to sleep.

To health and happiness.

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