If you’re a regular reader of this blog (thanks mom, dad, Miss Marg and Mr Bill, Mehr and Auntie Karen), then you know that my parents came to visit last February. As in February 2018. Last February.
Things did not go as planned.
THEY WENT SO. MUCH. BETTER!
Dad had been dreading the trip, (secretly admits to looking for reasons to cancel!) but ended up extending his time here by a week because he loved it so much, AND they bought themselves tickets to come back to Australia within weeks of getting home they had such a good time!
In case you were wondering what kept us busy while they were here, and I know you were, here is the daily journal we kept as a record of what we did! Honestly, I’d do this again. It was such a fun way to recap each day (or every few days) and has provided me with details of memories I’d otherwise lose, I’m sure. Mom did most of the recording so if you see any “I” references, it’s her. Usually.
Arrival day – Thursday, Feb 8:
- Landed in Brisbane bewildered and exhausted. Couldn’t work out how to get the train, where to go and which direction to get on. Finally found the right train.
- Mare met us in Varsity Lakes.
- Ate at Fieri Deli in the Robina Shopping Centre. Great South American food!
- Driving tour to Point Danger and the ocean lookout. This is on the Queensland and New South Wales state border. Marilee took us on a scary ride on a scary hill [Mare’s note: I had been planning that since the first time I found this incredibly steep hill! Fun fact: the name of the street is Steep Street. Australia can be a very literal place].
- Checked out kangaroos at Currumbin Eco Village. Very cool to see kangaroos for the first time in the wild!
- Went to Currumbin rock pools- did not go in. Was underwhelming.
- Ate dinner at George’s Paragon (seafood). Dan was not with us. He was at work and doesn’t care for seafood.
- Got settled at home and went to bed around 9pm.
Friday February 9:
- We both slept well and woke feeling rested! #nosuchthingasjetlag
- Went to Currumbin Beach (surf side and then Currumbin Creek).
- Dawne went in the water with help, because of the steep incline of sand into the creek and tried snorkelling a little bit – for the first time.
- Dinner at Jungle Mexican. Food was OK, but the staff were friendly.
Saturday Feb 10:
- Went to Palm Beach farmer’s market. Bought local produce to eat!
- Drove to Kingscliff – went to Cudgen Creek and snorkelled by fish sluice. It was one of the first times Dawne ever swam unassisted, though Marilee stayed close by.
- Went to Kirra Beach and got buffeted by big waves. Didn’t stay in the water long.
- Ate dinner at home – beef pies and Greek salad/red wine.
Sunday Feb 11:
- Day long driving tour from Tweed to Toogum (up in Queensland) to see the Mon Repos turtle hatching.
- On route, had lunch in Brisbane at the Pancake Manor (an old church cathedral). Dad said he wished he could stay longer and Mare used her phone to look up options. $120 change fee and within 10 minutes it was done. He would stay an extra week! He sent this message to his assistant: “Becky, cancel everything. I’m staying.” Fortunately, she gets his sense of humour. He extended his trip by one week while waiting for pancakes.
- Saw Mare and Dan’s old house in Brisbane.
- Swam at Bribie Island: saw blue sand crabs.
- Drove on Steve Irwin Way into the Glass House Mountains.
- Arrived at Airbnb early. Good thing too, because there were no bed sheets on the beds. Or towels. Once we got the air-conditioning on, however, and the cockroach in the bathroom killed, we were fine.
- After a long search, (the four restaurants we were recommended to were closed!) we ate at Paulo’s and had a wonderful pizza, each. Marilee had charcoal crust, which turned her stool black. Scary!
- Came home to two huge Cane toads at the doorstep.
- Played a game of euchre and then went to bed.
Monday Feb 12:
- Dan, Marilee, and Roy went to get an Australian SIM card for Roy’s phone. They picked up lunch and we had sushi at the Airbnb.
- Went to Point Vernon Beach. It was rocky and seaweedy, and a nude yoga man was there. Dawne got her first rock rash.
- Carried onto Hervey Bay. Beach was lovely. We walked half a kilometre out into the surf before it was too deep for Dawne – but it was flat as. Stayed in the water for at least an hour.
- Changed back at the house and then carried onto Bundaberg for the turtle hatching at Mon Repos. Temp was hot and humid. The hatching was amazing. Roy was chosen to stand in centre as a guiding light for the hatchlings as they made their way down to the water.
- Came home at midnight to find cockroaches having a party in the kitchen. Roy shut the party down…if you follow my meaning!!
Tuesday Feb 13:
- Cleared out of Airbnb.
- Went to Tin Can Bay. It was a bust. Along the way, Dawne collected pix of road signs not found in Canada.
- Went to Rainbow Beach. We had fish and chips and sweet potato fries which must have been a whole bag, there were so many.
- Beach was beautiful and Dawne got a bit of a sunburn.
- Long drive to Brisbane Costco.
- Ate at Fasta Pasta and then home to call it a night. All in all the Mon Repos trip was so much fun!!
Wednesday Feb 14:
- Went for a shopping trip…bought ointment at chemist. Met Amy, Marilee’s friend, on the street. Purchased a fuse and rash guards for ourselves.
- Hung around home until we left for Griffith, with Marilee. Had coffee with Mare’s boss.
- Looked around campus and then settled in at the library to wait until 5pm
- Drove home via the Gold Coast highway through many skyscrapers of intricate design. They were hotels and very Dubai-esque.
- Went home and Roy and Marilee made a lovely Valentines dinner for the four of us. That included lobster tail which was to die for! Except for Dan who had steak.
- It was still very hot and humid so we went to the beach for a night time wade. We went to Rainbow Bay.
- Roy and Marilee rigged up the air conditioner for the night and then we all went to bed.
Thursday Feb 15:
- Roy and Marilee re-rigged the air-conditioner (after the carpet was soaked with litres of water from running overnight). Ate breakfast and got ready to go to Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary. See https://currumbinsanctuary.com.au
- The sanctuary was amazing!! My fave was the Lost Valley – which is a remake of a prehistoric rain forest. This was Marilee‘s favourite as well. Roy’s favourite was the koala bears, particularly the baby. Dan’s favourite was the various multi-coloured birds.
- We then went for lunch at the Hog’s Breath cafe.
- Went to Tallebudgera Beach. It was very calm as it was on a river, just down from the surf.
- Marilee and Roy made supper… Spinach pasta with prawns, which Dan did not have (he had Fasta Pasta leftovers).
- Mare and Dan swapped the air-conditioners out (they gave us theirs since we needed it more). We played euchre and then went to bed.
Friday Feb 16:
- Dan and Roy attempted to fly but the weather precluded them from going. The guys came back and Dawne, Dan and Roy went kayaking on the river, Dan on a paddle board. Marilee stayed back and worked. Dawne practised tipping the kayak and recovering.
- Went to Hastings Point. This was a fairly abandoned the beach. It is the furthest south point we have been to in the world.
- Went to Marty’s restaurant and had interesting pizza. I had a banana and bacon pizza with garlic aioli.
- Played euchre when we got home. Dan and Dawne got waxed. Retired for the night. Dawne got sick in the night.
Saturday Feb 17:
- Roy and Marilee went to the farmers market. Dan and Dawne hung around at home.
- Roy and Marilee saw dolphins on their outing while visiting a boat rental place.
- We spent the afternoon at Currumbin beach. Dawne swam in the deep end!!
- Yay!! Cyclone Gita closed all the beaches but we went anyway. So did a whole lot of other people. We saw no cyclone.
- We then attempted to go out for dinner but struck out. Repeatedly. (Tried to go to Crazy Bull, but it was closed. Tried to go to Lonestar Grill. Tried to go to the Blue Owl. Closed.) Then we ended up at Zambrero’s, the place we were going to go in the first place. They practice ethical enterprise and donate a meal for every one that is purchased.
- Came home and played euchre.
- Dawne was feeling ill so Marilee and Dawne drove to the chemist for Mylanta. It was an interesting experience because the store was closing and we could not enter. But they opened a booth through which we could speak to the pharmacist and tell him what we wanted. He went and got it. He opened a drawer for us which had the POS terminal in it. I paid with MasterCard after which he closed the drawer, took the machine and placed the drugs and receipt in it and then opened the drawer for us on the outside. Totally weird experience.
The drugs worked and everyone went to bed.
Sunday Feb 18:
- Marilee made wonderful steel cut oats for breakfast with nectarines.
- Amy came at around 9:30am and we all left for Hillsong church in Burleigh. We met other people who are visiting from Alberta… fought a brief political battle.
- We had free barista-made coffee at church. It was their vision Sunday so it was a huge rah rah sermon that left us feeling a bit off. The Hillsong machine is huge!
- After church we came home and had a great salad for lunch and a visit with Amy.
- The women went snorkelling in the river briefly while the men went flying.
- The snorkelling was a bit challenging because of the boats that went by creating waves and murky water. Because of that, Dawne cut her hand on oyster shells attached to the rocks. Ouch!
- After snorkelling, we enjoyed homemade strawberry milkshakes that were so thick we had to use spoons. Using market strawberries.
- Dawne napped until Roy and Dan got home. We all visited and then had supper together at home.
- Dawne was still itching so that meant another trip to the chemist for calamine lotion. Roy, Amy and Mare went.
Monday Feb 19:
- First day on our own as Dan and Marilee both went to work.
- Roy went kayaking in the morning.
- Marilee brought Zambrero home for lunch.
- Roy and Dawne went kayaking and had a dip in the river to keep cool.
- Roy made tequila chicken for dinner.
- Roy and Marilee made yet another trip to the chemist to find yet another remedy for Dawne’s bug bites.
- We lounged around for the evening and then went to bed.
Tuesday Feb 20:
- After Marilee and Dan went to work, Roy and Dawne lounged around the house, did some housework and then Roy went kayaking and Dawne began to read.
- Marilee took a count of Dawne’s bug bites. She counted 66. We have landed on a remedy that seems to work… Zyrtech in the morning plus crushing a Benadryl and mixing it with calamine lotion, applying topically.
- Went to Scales for fish and chips with Marilee. Dawne drove -first time on the left. Got stared at in public because of all the bug bites.
- Went to Tallabudgera Beach for the afternoon. Roy mostly slept, Marilee worked in the tent and Dawne floated in the water. Well we all floated from time to time.
- After dinner we played Euchre.
Wednesday Feb 21:
- Marilee and Dan went to work in the morning. Dawne and Roy had a quiet day at home.
- Had homemade hamburgers for dinner and then played Euchre until bedtime.
Thursday Feb 22:
- Happy Birthday! Temperature is cooler, finally!
- Quiet morning at home alone…Marilee and Dan at work.
- In the afternoon we went to Currumbin Creek beach and waded in the creek – steep sandy drop off.
- Came home and got ready to go out to celebrate a birthday at the Collective.
- Played Euchre…girls won two games.
Friday Feb 23:
- Marilee flew to Melbourne for the day while Roy and Dawne spent a quiet day at home. We did venture out for a little while (lunch at Kirrimisu where we had AMAZING carrot cakes) but Dawne was feeling like being at home. We went out again at suppertime, and ate at Grill’d on the Strand.
- Marilee got home late and we all turned in for the night.
Saturday Feb 24:
- In the morning it rained a lot. Roy, Marilee and Dawne, went to the market and met Amy there.
- We all went back to the house for aero-pressed coffee and visiting.
- In spite of the rain, and rivers we had to drive through, we drove to Springbrook national Park to see the natural land bridge. It was very amazing. It was well worth breaking the law and risking very very steep fines to cross over barriers we were not supposed to cross to get to it. Everybody else was doing it too! So well worth it! This park features a natural sub-tropical rain forest. The land bridge was caused by a river carving its way into a cave. The waterfall was flowing into the cave.
- We dipsy-doodled on our way home, trying to buy fudge…unsuccessfully. We tried to eat at Mike’s kitchen (too busy, we didn’t have a reservation) …unsuccessfully. But we did see a Rosella in the parking lot! Roy has pictures.
- We ended up eating at the Outback steakhouse in Pacific fair mall in Broadbeach. The food was delicious but we all ate too much!
- We came back to the house. We tried to get the Kindle working for Amy…unsuccessfully.
- We visited for a little while and then after Amy left, we went to bed.
Sunday: Feb 25:
- Spent a quiet morning at home. Roy and Marilee went kayaking and saw a stingray, several rainbow bee-eaters and an egret. They also saw a small inlet that turned into a tiny River carved between two islands.
- Dan did some housework. Dawne did nothing, except she tried to get her backup working without having to upgrade her iCloud account.
- We all ate lunch at Rainbow Bay surf life-saving club. We had a huge breakfast, none of us could finish. Except Dan who had a breakfast burger.
- We then went to Tugun Beach for the first time.
- We brought Roy home and then Dan, Marilee and Dawne went to Kingscliff. Dan read a book while Dawne and Marilee snorkelled.
- Roy made supper while we were gone.
- We played cards and then went to bed.
Monday Feb 26:
- Had a quiet morning at home. Later went to Currumbin river beach – water was at low tide so very murky. The lifeguard’s seadoo was stranded.
- Made fajitas for dinner, and had a big thunder and lightning storm in the evening with rain.
- Played Euchre and went to bed.
Tuesday Feb 27:
- Roy set off to get Dawne a coffee…flat white…yum!
- On his return, Roy went kayaking on his own.
- When Marilee came home from work, we all drove up to Griffith together.
Dawne drove. We dropped Marilee and went to Harbour Town Mall (lunch at Nonn’a — Roy had a seafood plate and it was HUGE). Later we went to Pacific Fair Mall but didn’t stay long. We headed back to Griffith to get Marilee and then met Dan for dinner at Bombay Bliss Indian in Pimpama.
- Got home fairly late and called it an evening.
Wednesday Feb 28:
- In the am, Dawne and Roy went for a kayak – they took lots of pics but sadly none of them showed up on the camera.
- Marilee brought home zambrero for lunch. Dawne went for her appointment at Kirra chiro (Dr. Kayli Manner – a Canadian from Nelson, B.C.).
- Marilee and Roy went to Coolangatta beach (a block away from the chiro). Dawne walked over after her appointment. We spent the afternoon at the beach.
- Dawne learned the hard way that certain bathing suits do not work for dolphin diving. After nearly losing the two-piece suit a time or two, Dawne went to change into her one-piece suit that thankfully she brought. After that, it was all fun and games.
- Dawne greatly improved her ability to deal with the waves…diving under them, floating over them, jumping through them. It was a blast!!!
- We then hurried home to shower and get ready to see the Outback spectacular!!!!
- We arrived with an hour to spare – and great expectations only to discover a shuttered door and empty parking lot. The show did not go on. Instead we ate dinner at the Black Angus in Hope Island – which was delicious – most of us cooked our meat on hot rocks on the table top!! Very good but no Outback Spectacular 🙁
Thursday: March 1
- Marilee and Roy went paddle boarding first thing in the morning. Very restful and fun! 67-year-old Roy was a natural!
- Went to The garlic kiss for lunch, which was a notable place for its ambience. Marilee got pictures.
- Went to the beach at Coolangatta. The surf was perfect and Dawne learned to dolphin dive under the waves. Dawne also got stung with a blue bottle jellyfish on her right arm and left hand. Locally it is called a marine stinger.
- Dad was not feeling well so we went home. We all had a little rest and Roy determined that his body needed electrolytes. Marilee made a drink for him and he felt very much better! Roy and Marilee sat on the patio and listened to music while they visited.
- We played our final game of euchre and went to bed.
Friday March 2
- To this point in the day, we all got up early. Dan and Roy said their goodbyes. We left on time to pick up Amy to go to Brisbane.
- Got to the airport and through security, after we had breakfast together at the coffee club. We saw Roy off for a sad, quick goodbye.
- Amy, Marilee, and Dawne then went to DFO, North Lakes Mall, and Costco. It is 4:50pm and just heading home. Lots of retail therapy!! Making a quick stop to the Russian deli.
- Oops, marilee‘s wallet got left at Costco and we had to drive back to the north side of Brisbane to get it. That put us in rush-hour traffic so we had supper at Australian outback.
- Drove home and went to bed exhausted!
Saturday March 3
- Slept in. Dan went surfing in the morning. Dawne had a 9:45 AM QLD appointment with the chiropractor. Marilee shopped at a bookstore while I was in my appointment.
- Went to the farmers market where we had German sausage lunch.
- Marilee and I then went to Kirra beach where is stayed in the water for about two full hours. Amy joined us there and both Amy and Marilee coached me on dolphin diving.
- Went over to Kirrimisu where they unhappily served us carrot cake, cheesecake, and brownie. It was 20 minutes before closing time but they were already shutting the doors. All right.
- Dan met us at the beach and then we went into the water for another couple of hours.
- Came back to the house where Amy made supper. Dawne slept. Marilee did laundry. Dan looked for jobs on the computer.
- Had a lovely chili supper. Watched Harry Potter 1 and went to bed exhausted.
Sunday March 4
- Dan went to a flying club event. Marilee and Dawne are heading to Byron Bay.
- Arrived at the market and met up with Marilee‘s friend Anne. We toured the market and saw so many interesting things. Purchased a gift for Donna, Joan and Karen and Jessica. Also for Roy. I’m really happy with those presents. I still want to get a boomerang for Murray and Linda.
- We ate samosas and frozen fruit bars that were handmade of just fruit. They were delicious. We visited with Anne, and then parted ways.
- Our first order of business was to find a place to change into our swimwear.
- Marilee found a public washroom which meant we had to park in a paid parking area. Marilee decided not to pay for parking since we were only going to be a few minutes in changing and then we were going to leave. On our return we saw the parking authority vehicle approaching where we were parked. We hurried like crazy and got into the car. Marilee was pulling out just as he was pulling up behind us. Fortunately, because we were pulling out, he drove around us and did not check us. That was a close call.
- Marilee and I drove around Byron Bay for a while, looking at the lighthouse and taking some pictures. We then went to a beach and waded in the water. The water was quite placid, with the odd wave. It was wonderful to be lifted up and down by the gentle swells. We picked up a few shells off the beach and then left.
We went to downtown Byron Bay for fish tacos at Chihuahuas and then walked across the street for a milkshake and an ice cream cone from a gelato shop. We then came straight home.
- Marilee went to Currumbin beach to meet Dan. I laid down for a rest.
- After a while, I made salads for supper, including a lime passion fruit dressing which was delicious (it was the first time I’d ever seen a passion fruit let alone eat it fresh).
- It was very hot and humid and I wasn’t feeling well. I went to bed while the kids cleaned and prepped the house for Airbnb guests tomorrow.
Monday, March 5
- It’s “Take Your Mommy to Work Day”! I’m helping Marilee with her client phone calls today in the office. It’s fun to see Marilee at work!
- Went to Tweed city mall. Had two flat whites at San churro chocolatier.
- I brought sushi with me from the grocery store and barely picked me up. We went home to eat.
- When Marilee was leaving for Griffith, I discovered I had forgotten two items at the store. I called them and they were going to keep them at customer service.
- Dawne made dinner… Fresh pasta with Moroccan chicken and broccoli.
- The Airbnb guest checked in then, in tears. This was her first day of work at her new job, having to leave her family behind in Sydney. She will be working in Tweed for three days per week for the next nine months. It hit her hard, especially having to walk home from the hospital and not knowing where she was going. Completely understand her tears.
- Got everything cleared away and then basically headed to bed.
Tuesday March 6:
- Dawne spent the morning at home while Marilee went to work.
- When Marilee got home, we went and did some errands, including The Source in Miami and we ate kebabs for lunch. Australians call shawarma kebabs, FYI
- Dawne had another chiropractor appointment which was very helpful. This was visit number three.
- We pooped out of doing the rest of the errands, which included cutting a key at Bunnings, and instead went home and sat on the patio for the rest of the afternoon. Marilee worked and Dawne read Harry Potter.
- Marilee and Dawne made meat pies and roasted vegetables for supper. We ate The pies first, and then when Dan got home, we ate the vegetables.
- The Airbnb guest arrived home and we all visited for a while. We then went to bed.
Wednesday March 7:
- Spent a quiet morning at home while Marilee was at work. When Marilee got home, we took off to beach.
- We went to North Kirra beach. It was deserted and the lifeguard said it would be OK to swim. There was a lot of wind and surf was strong. We were being body checked by quite shallow waves. That’s how strong they were. We did not stay long.
- We then went to Currumbin beach to see what the waves were like. The waves were bigger and still quite strong but we stayed for about a half an hour before we finally were tuckered out. It was so windy that our stuff was blown over with sand by the time we got back to it.
- We ate lunch in Zambrero’s and then headed home for rest. Marilee worked the rest of the afternoon.
- We ordered pizza for supper from Crust Pizza. Made for a great lunch the next day. Then we watched Harry Potter 2, the chamber of secrets.
- Then we all went to bed.
Thursday March 8:
- When Marilee got home from work Dawne and Marilee went to Rainbow Bay to swim. It was chilly but we went in any way. We stayed in the water throughout the rain, which was fun. We ignored the photographers that were there taking photographs of the professional surfers getting ready for the Quicksilver Pro.
- We headed for home and Dawne had a short nap. Marilee started working. But then Amy invited us to come for coffee at Agape outreach café.
- Amy made us delicious lattes and hot chocolate. Amy came back to the house with us and Marilee did her work. Amy and Dawne visited and played Hayday. Marilee was intrigued and began playing Hay Day as well. Welcome to the hood, Marebear.
- Dawne made huge salads for supper including beats, artichokes, garlic, homemade passion fruit lemon maple dressing, plus plums and Kiwi berries, yellow peppers Green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and persian feta, cucumbers And julienned carrots. We were all quite full. Oh, and they were homemade croutons on top.
- The girls played hay day all night until their batteries ran out. Dan got ready for his job interview for Friday morning. When Amy left and our batteries died, not in that order, we are going to bed.
Friday March 9:
- Dan went for his interview and Marilee went to work.
- Marilee made pierogies with fried onions for lunch and we raced off to our appointments. Unfortunately Dawne got her time mixed up it was an hour late for her appointment. The chiropractor called just as we were on our way and fortunately they still had time for her.
- Marilee came and got Dawne and they waited at Tweed Mall until Marilee had her appointment done at the dermatologist. Dawne had a hearing test in that time. And trying on bathing suit. Her hearing is normal and we did not buy bathing suits.
- We stopped for groceries and then came home.
- We were hungry again and snacked at home. Marilee worked her afternoon hours.
- After Marilee‘s work hours, we went to Bunnings and bought hooks and shoe glue.
- We then stopped at Blockbuster video and rented videos, amazing it is still a thing! Amazing it is at $2 dollar rental fee for one week. We predict blockbuster does not have long to live. (2019 update: Blockbuster is gone).
- After dinner, which was barbecued steak, baked potatoes and sautéed asparagus, we watch the first part of the Hobbit three. Dawne was exhausted and went to bed.
Saturday March 10:
- Marilee and Dawne had coffee together and played Hayday. Dan was puttering around the house. Marilee installed the iron square plant hanger that Dawne got her at the Bangalow markets. Dawne glued her purse.
- Marilee and Dawne decided to head to Curtis Falls to hike. Stopped at Hungry
- Jacks for lunch on the way.
- Stopped to do some gift shopping in the Tamborine townsite. Got some tiny dishes for Grandma, a small bowl for my dresser.
- The Falls were amazing! We took it slow so we could take in everything. It was raining, which was very appropriate for a rain forest. At the outset, a man offered to take our picture on my camera because we were trying to take a selfie. He joked that he was going to take a picture of himself. Guess what? He did. It is so cute!!
- We reluctantly left the forest and came home. We took a very serpentine road coming out of the area. Marilee had to pee so she was driving very fast. But she made it home.
- Spent a quiet evening at home reading Harry Potter 3 by lantern because the power was out.
Sunday March 11:
- Spent a quiet morning in for a while.
- Went to Kingscliff to find a farmer’s market but it was rained out. We thought we might try and swim, but didn’t because the tide was out and the water was not very inviting. Our chosen beach also was unguarded so we chose not to swim. We stopped at Tropical Fruit World for some fruit in the shop. We bought Sapote, huge kiwi, some kind of berry which was like half tomato and cherry cross. We also got some star fruit some roasted macadamia nuts – honey roasted and chilli.
Along the way home, we found a countryside market named Farm & Co. I got the most amazing fresh turmeric I’ve ever seen!!
- We met Dan and Amy at South Kirra Beach. It was raining and quite cold. Amy didn’t go in. Dan went for 5 minutes. Dawne and Marilee persevered in the cold water and got rained on.
- We came back home and the girls played Hayday. We also made Indian for dinner and had a satay sauce for the Gyoza appetizer.
- We were going to watch the rest of the Hobbit, but played Hayday instead.
Monday March 12:
- Dawne spent a quiet morning at home while Marilee was at work. We played Hayday for a while and both of us went to Griffith. We ate at Burger Urge (Mrs. Clinton’s Chipotle Chicken Burger) and then Dawne dropped Marilee off at work and did her solo drive…made epic by immediately leaving the campus in the wrong lane.
- Unbeknownst to Dawne, Marilee was in the road, shouting and screaming and terrified I was going to be killed. I was not aware but when someone beeped, I realized my mistake. I got onto the proper lane on the right turn. I made it safely to Surfer’s Paradise and found parking behind Lifeguard post #37. I walked to the beach to check things out and saw the chalkboard sign that said “Swimming conditions are unstable.” That scared me out of it and I left. On the way out, there was a man who was leaving as well. He spoke to me and we began a pleasant conversation. When he realized what had happened, he said if he was not just out of his swimmers, he would take me in for a swim. That was so nice of him. His name is Eric. We said goodbye and I drove to Pacific Fair Mall.
- I walked around a bit but didn’t find anything interesting so I drove back to Griffith and hunkered down in the waiting area of Mare’s office.
- After work, we stopped at Main Beach and swam for a little while. There was 20 minutes of guarded time left. We played in the waves and then left for dinner with Dan.
- We met Dan at Harry’s Steak House in Burleigh Heads. It was delicious. We had steak dinners with unlimited fries for $19.95. It was really nice!!
- Came home and spent a quiet evening before bed. Late that night, Marilee told me that Dan got his new job which starts after the Commonwealth Games.
Tuesday March 13:
- Marilee worked in the morning. When she got home, we went to Kirra, where the ocean had made a kind of lagoon…it made a sandbar because the waves were really high. We tried to go beyond the lagoon but the sand was shifting, very uneven and very difficult for Dawne to walk on. She hurt her foot and so we returned to the lagoon. It was fun because the waves came there as well. We worked on diving. I was watching Marilee dive and talking about various approaches. I suddenly thought to dive deep right in front of me instead of pushing forward into a wave. I went down to the bottom and up in one fluid motion. It was a thing of beauty and felt so good. I realized that what I was doing was pushing forward into a wave, not far below the surface. I will now be practicing deeper dives.
- Marilee worked while Jess and Dawne connected on facetime and played Hay Day. Later, we made ravioli for supper. Dawne made a white wine sauce and we made a red sauce for Dan. Mare sautéed fresh mushrooms. The Airbnb guest ate her meal at the table with us. She was sick with a cold and went straight to bed.
Dawne and Marilee played Hay Day for a short while and then went to sleep.
Wednesday March 14:
- I had a good sleep last night, over 8 hours. But yet I woke up with a low-grade headache, which has stayed all day.
- Chatted with Jess on Facebook for a while before she finished work. She was so bored. But suddenly she was gone…obviously had work to do.
- Marilee came home from RC job and we tried to go swimming. The water was too fierce again because of Cyclone Linda. Instead, we got lunch at a kebab place and then came home to eat it. We played Hay Day until Marilee resumed work.
- In the afternoon we learned that Amy got her new job and so we invited her to celebrate with a taco dinner and evening of Hay Day.
Thursday March 15:
- Dawne woke up at 3:50am and couldn’t sleep…day started early. Got some more sleep after 7:30. Mare went to work.
- At 11:30 we went to Tallabudgera Creek where we swam in a strong, slow, steady current. We also floated and dived. I reviewed floating and treading and righting myself without having to turn over on my back. We saw two police on seadoos and lots of children playing in the water.
- We had a McDonald’s lunch, just because. It was the same as Canada, except it was more expensive and they forgot to give us our drinks. We finished off with cake from Kirrimisu.
- Came back to the house and played Hay Day. Marilee began her afternoon work.
I talked to Dad on FaceTime and hung out.
- Had leftover tacos for dinner and then finished the Hobbit, which came from Blockbuster Video which we hope is still in business when we return it.
- Then headed to bed.
Friday March 16:
- Marilee had a really bad day at work with a suicidal client. She came home and aborted plans to go out. We decompressed with Hay Day for the break.
- While Marilee did her Griffith work, I was on FaceTime with Jess for a good deal of the afternoon.
- We met Dan at Harry’s for dinner. Dawne and Marilee had drinks and appies to start with. Food was good. Bistro chairs were NOT!! We had the usual steak and unlimited fries…best ever fries for me bar none!
- We finished the evening watching Harry Potter 3. I didn’t make it all the way through because I was tired and went to bed.
Saturday March 17:
- Went to Currumbin Market in the morning. Bought quite a lot of things, including more passion fruit. I bought more peelers and the guy told me to look up a website for information but I couldn’t find it. I did find a good demonstration on YouTube though. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FPRqZ9jvbYI
- Ate a lunch of fresh bread, Persian feta, artichoke, chilli garlic. It was delicious.
Puttered around the house while Dan mowed the lawn and Marilee cut Dan’s hair.
- We then went to South Kirra Beach. We first tried diving in the waves. The sand formation was very interesting because it was a flat table over which water was pouring into the “lagoon.” We climbed a 2’ bank to get on top of the table and walked out to the waves. Unfortunately my foot was not doing well when we got to where the waves were because of uneven shifting sand…plus the waves were coming in fast and it got tiring. I was stressed by my foot (and my hair in my eyes) so we retreated to the “lagoon” area and just floated and swam. We played in a rip that was flowing in and out of the lagoon. We did “knee surfing” with the outgoing waves. It was fun but also instructive. We felt the power of the water and how difficult it is to not be pulled out with the force of the water. We never left the lagoon, so we were quite safe! We were in the water for over 2 hours!!!!
- While we lounged on the beach under Amy’s umbrella, Roy FaceTimed me. He saw where we were on his iPhone and then went to look for us on the Surfcam.
- He saw me sit down in the chair under the umbrella. Very cool!
- Dan, Marilee and I lounged on the beach and read our books. Mare got pizza for us from Pizza Hut and we ate an early snack/supper.
- Watched the rest of Harry Potter 3 and then Harry Potter 4.
Sunday, March 18:
- Had a quiet morning at home until it was time to leave for Baumann’s place. We took Dan’s car to his work and drove away with a truck and trailer. We headed to Baumann’s place to have lunch and pick up their new-to-them fridge.
- Had a really nice visit with the Baumann’s. They have a beautiful house in the “countryside” with my dream bedroom and inner sanctuary. I took pictures of their view outside their house. It’s very beautiful.
- Came home and moved in the new fridge.
- Watched Harry Potter 5. Then went to bed.
Monday, March 19:
- Spent the morning in bed playing Merge Dragons and Hay Day until almost when Marilee came. I stripped the bed and did laundry.
- We blitzed the house so it was clean for Airbnb guest coming tonight.
- We went for a snorkel in the river. Marilee saw little orange puffer fish but I could not see it.
- We missed high tide by minutes and had to swim back in mucky water, Dawne in tow (kicking along).
- Back near the beach, Marilee saw something huge jump in the water so we ended our river excursion because we could not identify it.
- Marilee worked at home for Griffith today, supervising a webinar that was being filmed. Karen FaceTime to me so I went to the bedroom to take that call.
- Marilee made delicious burgers for dinner. It was late, though. Cleaned up and headed for bed.
Tuesday March 20:
- Made croutons in am (and Caesar salad for supper)
- After Marilee got home from work, we went to Rainbow Bay. The waves were perfect!! They were crystal clear and no side sweep. We dolphin dived to our heart’s content. Amy joined us.
- Came back to the house. Amy eventually came over and spent the afternoon.
- Marilee worked and Amy and I played Hay Day. She got a migraine and had to leave before dinner.
- We had leftover burgers for supper.
- Watched Harry Potter 6. Marilee started her first derby!
Wednesday March 21:
- Drove Marilee to work and then drove myself to the chiropractor
- Stopped at McDonald’s while waiting for Mare.
- Had a quick lunch and Mare left for Griffith. Marilee had to Uber to campus because parking was blocked for Comm Games.
- I babysat Marilee’s Hay Day for the day.
- Ordered Indian for dinner. We all sat on our devices for a while and then had an early night.
Thursday March 22:
- I had a quiet morning at home. On her way home from work, Marilee saw a sign for an open house so we went over to see it. Met her neighbour Micheal and a brash realtor. The inside of the house was dingy so we left as soon as possible.
- Dawne drove the car to Robina shopping centre for a new iPhone screen protector – for both of us. Marilee also bought power cords. We ate at a build your own Japanese noodle bowl place and left the mall
- Stopped at TK Maxx and bought an insulated lunch kit (for smuggling turmeric), Marilee bought bras, a handbag, a bowl etc. And went home
- Marilee worked in the afternoon. Around 4 we went out to get a rug doctor, to de-stain Marilee’s carpet from a spilled coffee she had tried to cover up. On the way we stopped at Rebel sports and bought goggles. Got Rug Doctor from Bunnings and went home
- Marilee went back to work and Dawne went to work on the carpets – the Rug Doctor worked a charm!
- Dawne made Cajun Chicken Caesar salad for dinner and watched HP7.
Friday March 23:
- In the morning Marilee went to work at RC. Dawne cleaned ALL THE CARPETS nearly in the house. As well as the kitchen and floors.
- Played Hay Day while Mare worked for Griffith – earlier than usual to try to get it out of the way. Around 2 we took the Rug Doctor back, and went to Rainbow bay for a swim. The whole day had been sunny, but as soon as we walked out of Bunnings, it began to rain.
- Rain followed us everywhere. We’d see sun in the distance and by the time we got there it was raining. Got to Rainbow Beach and it was not raining, but the side current was very strong. New goggles were a disappointment. Left for home and it started to pour. We got drenched!!
- Came home and showered. Ordered and picked up pizza.
- Watched the final Harry Potter movie.
- Visited with Dan for a while and went to bed. Dan told us about his latest job offer that he was turning down. And discussed his plans to resign at the rocket company over the weekend.
Saturday March 24
- Everyone woke early, Dan left to surf with his co-workers. Marilee and Dawne lolled in bed, played Hay Day and did the log.
- Mare and I went out for breakfast at The Garlic Kiss. We had wonderful and meaningful conversation.
- After brekkie we drove straight to Tallebudgera Creek. Amy met us there and we swam for over 2 hours. Here’s the highlight: There is a poster in the bathroom at home with all kinds of fish pictured on it. I was sitting in the bathroom this morning, having the other day decided that my favourite fish is an Ocellated Toby. This morning I thought to myself, “It would really make my day if I saw an Ocellated Toby.” At breakfast I asked Marilee what her favourite fish was and told her what mine was. She tried to guess it, but didn’t. I told it was an Ocellated Toby. She knew what it was, but we looked up pictures on the internet anyway. Well, while we were “snorkelling” by the rocks at Tellebudgera, guess what Marilee spotted? Yup. An Ocellated Toby. I saw several although only the first one was anything like the picture, in its colouring – there were others that were bigger but only favoured the yellow instead of yellow and blue. Still beautiful to see. I wanted to find a special shell to mark the occasion. Mare found a beautiful dark round shell that suits perfectly.
- Dawne continued to enjoy diving and today dove several times in deep water coming up into treading. We took turns diving for a rock, but mostly that was Amy and Marilee. The current was crazy strong at times which made for a lot of fun. It also made for a wardrobe malfunction of Janet Jackson proportions.
- Fortunately Dawne was still in the water when it was discovered and remedied.
- On the way home we stopped at McDonald’s for a very indulgent lunch. At home, we showered and are hunkering down to watch the documentary “Embrace.” We have been having lots of conversation lately about body image and acceptance.
- Watched Embrace, ate leftover pizza for first light dinner and went for a kayak in the evening at low low tide. We did a lap around the big island in front of our place – we went upstream first, we thought. But did somehow have to paddle upstream a little on the way home. We were tired, but satisfied. Saw egrets UP CLOSE and a pair of Brahmin Kites in the trees who left when we arrived.
- Another kayaker helped us locate a large sting ray. We didn’t see it, but saw its trail in the water. We did see an egret who we had to go around and he stood his ground as we did that.
- After kayaking, we caught up with Dan (who’d spent the day surfing then hiking Mount Warning with two co-workers), and ate nachos for dinner. Played on our devices for a little while then went to bed. Mare and Dan watch Game Over, Man – a new movie on Netflix. Oddly good. But don’t watch it.
Sunday, March 25
- All three of us were awake fairly early but we had a nice and easy start to the day. Marilee made toast and eggs for breakfast.
- After breakfast, we got ready and drove to the Market in Bangalow (The Bangalow Market). On the way we made four stops starting with C… Commonwealth Games store in the Gold Coast Airport (for which we had to go through security to get to). We bought hoodies for Jess and Kory, T-shirts for Roy and Ian, and sunnies for Jess. Also a mug for Pura’s.
- Next was cash from Bank of Queensland. Then coffee from a cafe. And a chemist for Dawne to get barrettes and a headband.
- At Bangalow, I actually got crocodile jerky for Roy…not beef. We wandered around and looked at artisans. We found fermented garlic and honey from Eucalyptus tree bees. Marilee bought beautiful bromeliad flowers.
- We ate a delicious lunch The Treehouse restaurant in Byron Bay. It had a DJ playing music. We sat at a booth on old bus seats right next to the kitchen/bar. We could speak to the bartenders/dishwashers if we had wanted to…and in fact, Marilee did. She asked them for water. Marilee and I both had an amazing Slow Roasted Pumpkin and Baked Ricotta Salad which consisted of: organic red quinoa, broccoli, mint, basil, smoked paprika hummus, pumpkin seed and pistachio nut dukka, preserved lemon dressing, greens, and fresh chilli peppers.
- Pictures to follow.
- We then drove 9 minutes to a house from which Dan had purchased a surfboard leash off of Gumtree.
- The three of us then went to Broken Head beach where the waves were lovely.
- Dan read on the beach while Mare and Dawne jumped waves. We were in the water approximately an hour. We laid on the beach for while before packing up and heading for home.
- After a quick stop at the grocery store, we arrived home where Dan made dinner, Marilee prepped the house for guests and Dawne hung in in her room wearing her CPAP after washing the hose.
- We had dinner together and then lazed around on our devices enjoying one another’s company.
- After the guests arrived, we all went to bed.
Monday March 26:
- When Marilee left for work, I started packing and all the things associated with that (like laundry, sorting stuff I may or may not take, etc.). Looks like I sent my pashmina scarf and the compression stockings home with Roy. The rest of the packing should be very doable. The smaller of the two suitcases is now packed.
- When Marilee got home, we lazed a bit and then decided to go swimming because it is hot and sunny. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a Thai place on Griffith. I walked over to Dinky-D’s for souvenirs (boomerang, key chains and change purse). I also bought compression stockings at a chemist nearby the restaurant. Then we ate Chicken Pad Thai which was delicious.
- Then we drove to the “lagoon” at South Kirra. It was better than ever. There were waves but very gentle ones. We could dive and float and it was one of the best times ever. Loved it. Unfortunately Marilee had to work, so we headed for home.
After showering, I went on my third solo driving trip to return the goggles to Rebel Sports. I bought another pair (like Marilee’s). I drove to Tweed City Mall then and bought a T-shirt and a shawl cover-up so I won’t freeze on the trip home. I was cold in the night on the flight over here. After acclimating to the heat, I imagine I will be really cold if I don’t layer up.
- Marilee worked for a while longer and then we went to the beach again…same place. It was still beautiful only the sun was on its way out. The beach was still being guarded, however, even though it was past 5pm. We swam and dived and floated and had round 2 of fun until it started getting too dark and we decided to leave. The guards chose that time as well to pull the flags and leave too. We stopped off at Zambrero’s and picked up burritos for supper. All three of us were quite tired, Mare and I from swimming, Dan from a long day at work with the stress of having given notice and having to speak to management about it. We all went to bed early. I have to get up and take Marilee to work because I have an appointment at the chiropractor.
Tuesday March 27:
- Last day in Gold Coast and I am sad. But we made the most of the day, to say the least!!
- Marilee went to work and I spent the morning packing. At 10:30 I went for my last chiropractor appointment after which I went to pick Marilee up from work. I met Carrie and Jane, her co-workers (Carrie is the one who I met earlier who was sick at the time).
- We went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for lunch with lattice fries. It was apparently very delicious to the wildlife because an Ibis came and started eating out of Marilee’s plate when she wasn’t looking.
- It was fun to walk through the sanctuary again…the lemurs were out and mingling with us (pictures to follow). I got good video of the little red panda and the tree kangaroo. In the Lost Valley, we saw some beautiful golden pheasants who were basically red and yellow. Gorgeous.
- After the sanctuary, we headed for home to change into swimwear and get the lunch bag so we can buy the turmeric. I hope and pray I can bring it back with me with no problem. But if I can’t, it will mean losing $60 some dollars. Same with the pickled garlic which was $36. Tomorrow I will need to buy some Turkish Delight for Roy. Anyway, we went to Farm and Co. to buy turmeric.
- And then!!!!! We went to the lagoon at South Kirra again. It was colder today because it was not sunny and it rained a little. But it was wonderful to swim. Amy joined us there.
- We came home and showered and then planned to meet Dan at Fiery Deli in Robina, which is the first restaurant we ate at when we got here. But Dan had to work out of town and was not able to join us until late. So we went to Coolangatta Montezuma’s. The food was very good and we all left very full. We stopped at Dominos and got a pizza for Dan.
- We got home and spent the evening catching up and playing on our devices. I made entries in this journal and did laundry for my trip. Then went to bed.
Wednesday, March 28:
- We got up and got ready to go to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the lorikeet feeding. Dawne said her final goodbye to Dan, feeling sad.
- Then off we went to the Sanctuary. It was NOT what I was expecting. It was so much more. We first had coffee in the cafe until it opened. We then made our donation and picked up tin trays to feed the birds. We were flooded by a friendly flock of feathered friends furiously feasting at our fingers. Dawne had fortuitously worn a long-sleeve hoodie while Marilee got clawed and peed on and pooped on by these furiously feeding friends. When they started to spar with each other, they just grabbed on all the harder and their little claws punctured her skin. She was bleeding from several little spots.
- The pee and poop scuttled our plans to go out for breakfast. We came home and Marilee showered immediately. Dawne stripped off and then dyed her hair. We did a dry-run pack and weight where Dawne learned that she had not gained as much weight as she thought.
- More adventures are planned for today including, buying a collapsible carryon for Dawne. Turkish Delight for Roy. For the moment, we are on our devices just chilling before we leave. We have a bit of time because check-in is at 3PM QLD.
We adventured by shopping at TK Maxx. I saw a beautiful bathing suit and tried it one. I needed help to get into it but it looked very nice (if not a bit small). But I will still be able to wear it. Marilee bought it for me, bless her heart. We stopped at another TK Maxx to see if Marilee could find the matching wallet for the purse she bought. She was not successful, I but I found another of the bathing suit that Marilee bought and I got another one. I love it that much. This one doesn’t have torn lining so I will put it away for next year. I also bought a blue collapsible bag which I will use for my pillow and clothing on board.
- We arrived at the AirBnB in Brisbane and it is really nice. Instead of more shopping and doing things around Brisbane, we decided to hit a Coles for Turkish Delight for Roy, snacks for an evening of movies in the BnB, and snacks for the trip. We also stopped at Bunnings and bought a 4-USB port Australian adapter. I needed it so I could charge all my devices for the trip and she bought it as a business deduction. She will keep it for herself and guests.
- We watched Legally Blonde and The Devil Wears Pravda. Neither of us wanted to go to bed because then our trip together is basically over. We shed a few tears but all in all did very well at keeping perspective. We went to bed around 10:30 or 11PM.
Thursday March 29: Departure Day
- On the Sydney to DFW leg (Airbus A380), it was a bit annoying because the power doesn’t work and therefore I can’t use the CPAP unless they get it sorted. Likewise with Kathrine, the woman in front of me…she won’t be able to use her oxygen. Doesn’t look good for Qantas. But other than that, and my USB port that also doesn’t work, the flight is going well.
- It started a bit scary thought. I got off the Brisbane/Sydney leg late because they left late. I had to run to gate 15 where I went through a one on one screening with the man there. He asked about when I got to Australia, why I was there where I was going, etc. It was all very friendly, however. Then I got on the bus to go the international terminal. I got a seat, thankfully, but wasn’t sure I was on the right bus. There was a fellow at the other end of the row of seats and I asked if this was going to the international terminal. He confirmed it was and asked if I was going to Dallas. I said yes. He then showed me his electronic boarding pass and said it is gate 9. Thank God for that because when I got to the terminal, it took me a while to get through security. In leaving Australia, we had to go through departure security. Then I had to go through with my bags. Interestingly, the blue bag, which has my pillow and clothes in it, got pulled out for examination whereas my black bag with the mess of electronics, medications, snacks, etc., when through just fine. As did my CPAP. Go figure. All this hassle, however, made me late for getting to the gate. I ran and was quite stressed. According to my boarding pass, boarding was already 20 minutes in. However, when I got there, it hadn’t even begun and was also late. They had issues with a late plane, then cleaning the plane, then restocking it with food, so we were delayed until 2pm. I had time to settle down and relax.
- Fortunately, they called for pre-boarders, very soon after I sat down, and I came on the plane. Good thing, because we had (still have) issues with the power. They brought around “dinner” (my lunch) and it was good. The steward is going to come back and fix the power thing once the meal has all been cleared away and he has a moment. I’m fine with that.
- But I was wrong on the baby thing. They’re all back in my section and crabby. Hopefully they will settle sometime in the near future. But that is better for my heart than listening to what I heard in the earlier flight before takeoff. There was a dog that was obviously in the cargo hold. It was in distress and not doing well. I prayed for the poor little thing. It was quiet by the time we landed and, of course, I wouldn’t have been able to hear him during the flight. But in winding up to take off, it sure was unhappy. At least the babies on board have parents that are caring for them and giving them comfort.
- But on this flight, so far so good. There will be a mid-flight snack but I imagine I will be sleeping for that. I plan to go to sleep in about 4 or 5 hours from now. That will be 8 or 9pm body time. That will be okay since I did not sleep much last night. I’ve been awake since about 4am. For now, we are down to 14 hours left so that will be at about hour 9 or 10 on the countdown. Before arrival, they will be serving breakfast. Perfect! I’ll just be waking up.
Come back soon!
Author’s note: this post was written more than one year after the visit. My parents have visited again since that time. Look for a blog post on their second visit sometime in 2021.