After many, many hours of travel, discombobulated and slightly mentally impaired, we arrived in Brisbane after an hour-long layover in Auckland, New Zealand. Right now it’s 5:06 p.m. and we are soon to head out to dinner. Upon arriving in the airport and going through customs (where Virginia had a little trouble with all of her many snackity-snacks), we met John, our replacement travel guide as our planned guide (Glenn) was in the hospital with food poisoning. Hopping into the big blue bus, we soon noticed that everything was backwards and feared for our lives. Every car was on the wrong side of the road!!! The steering wheel too!! Cam soon noticed John’s sarcastic and witty sense of humor as he warned us with genuine care for our safety to “Stay out of the water that has rip tide warnings because if you don’t, you’ll be swept out to sea. And you’ll never make it to New Zealand, so don’t hope…you’ll just end up as shark food.”
We then disembarked and walked around a beautiful park filled with flowers and a wonderful Ferris wheel that offered fantastic views of downtown Brisbane. Paula, Gabby, LoLo, and Ms. Fraser went on a ride on the Ferris wheel and got stuck as the entire bus had to wait for their ride to end. They were kept on two turns extra and it took 30 minutes for the entire ride from beginning to end.
The bus ride to our hotel, the Chateau Beachside, was pleasantly short and was passed singing “Lasses and Lads,” which is quite a beautiful and fun piece. We arrived and rushed up to our rooms to shower and change and explore the town in groups.
Virginia, Cam, Madison, Parisa, LoLo, and Surya went off singing songs as they went down the street and ate gelato. They also walked along the fine, soft sands of the beach that is only across the street. The ocean was cool, but surprisingly warm for mid-winter. Anna and Leila had much fun wandering about and watching the locals.
Coming back to room 806, the popular hang-out of the night, most of us retired to writing down our adventures in notebooks, posting letters home to loved ones, and just attempting to stay awake at close to 1 a.m. in the morning (California time). We head out to dinner soon – which is just a four-block walk away, on the seaside. We will all write more later.
The Australia Group
From Madison and Surya to Nancy:
Loves! Having fun!!!! Will see you soon, and we will not become shark nibbles!!! Yay! Loves.