Landed exhausted and confused in the Gold Coast airport after almost 20 hours of travel. Due to a delay in Honolulu, we’d missed our flight to Brisbane and could not agree whether to stay the night in Sydney and fly out in the morning (once landing it would still be a 2.5 hour drive to Ballina, where Jan and Eric live) or hop on the little flight to a slightly closer airport in Coolingata. We chose to keep going and were just worn out by the time we got to the Gold Coast, our body clocks were chasing their own tails, and one of us wasn’t very happy to not be asleep in a room in Sydney at the moment. Well, maybe two of us, as Ginger hadn’t slept much at all on the flight and it was midnight back in the States.
While I waited in the terminal for Ian to fetch a car, I scoped for signs that I was in a different country and was somewhat disappointed. The people dressed in a casual, trendy, surf-town sort of way that could have been any number of destination spots in California and so far, much of the merchandise and servicing seemed pretty familiar. If anything though, things were even more expensive than in the US. The national obsession of rugby, or
footy, blared on a TV in the corner of the terminal at a volume that even in the States would have been way too loud. I mean, the only travelers coming through that place at such an hour had to be pretty exhausted and the entire area was being totally dominated by the booming sound of announcers on steroids. About that time, with the slacker style and the too-loud TV ripping through the air, I formulated the thought that these people are more American than Americans are. This was to be confirmed by the trip we then took into the Surf Town USA of Kirra at midnight. We arrived just as the big State of Origin footy game had ended and loosed several hundred IQ-compromised revelers onto the streets. As we crawled around town looking for a motel in which to finally close our eyes, the natives literally shook their fists and did war-dances when our tiny, yellow, overstuffed Hyundai Getz rolled by (as I said, more on footy and its devotees in an ensuing post).
Anyway, we’re here now and recovering from the rabbit hole of crossing the international-date -line with a toddler. Jan and Eric’s place is amazing, the living room wall’s made of glass and opens onto a deck with a view of the best humpbacked whale-watching this side of Maui. Ballina is a lovely little shire (it really is called a shire) and I look forward to exploring it and its environs like Lennox Head and Byron Bay extensively in the days to come. So far, it seems like a sub-tropical Scotland (sweeping green headlands leading up to rugged, empty coastline) filled with unbelievably friendly people all eager to find out where you are from, help you figure out where to go next, and are dying to tell you that they live in the best place on earth. Already, I’m starting to believe them.
For those of you wondering how G Rain is doing (for her fans): she’s mostly as good-natured a love as ever. Of course, she’s still exhausted and her body-clock is still quite thrown off. The nights are rough. Today, she napped at 10am for the second time here (rather than the usual 12:30ish) and was down for the night by 5! She does seem clingier with me so far and I admit that I fret a bit about how the new lack of continuity might be effecting her sense of security. But I choose to believe that the ways in which she’ll become more flexible on this trip will overpower the ways in which she’ll be thrown by so much change. Overall, she is loving all the fun new adventures like swimming with sea turtles, chasing bush turkeys through the New South Wales rain forest and seeing Dada drive on the wrong side of the car. And she’s started saying 3 word sentences like “Missed you Dada” and “Go wake Mama,” so all in all I’d say that things are very right in her universe.