2016 Australian Holidays – from the archives

Quite a surprise to find I had blogged while on holidays back in 2016 .. just never published. Better late than never.

30/06/2016 – Let the holiday begin

This was the day we were to fly to Brisbane to begin our “Summer Holiday” in Australia’s Winter. But first I had to go into work.

Work was ridiculously busy.  It started joyfully enough, knowing I was almost on my way. Though more and more approvals kept me stuck at my desk.

The boys were amazingly good at the airport and on the plane.  Owen thankfully wore himself out at the boarding gate while we were waiting. He was doing a lot of running, along with a fair share of pole dancing.  Within an hour and half he was fast asleep and looking very comfortable.

I found myself quite tired too.  Though when I just began to nod off, a cabin crew would wake me for a drink or dinner.

As I checked out the travel map for our flight, It wasn’t a good sign that my first thought was ‘Is that all!?”

The Singapore Airlines cabin crew were all very friendly. The ladies’ uniform looks almost uncomfortably flattering. Their tiny feminine body seemed to be mostly hips.

Myles was trying to nod off.  And Lewis definitely should have. He spilled orange juice, and dropped a huge pile of skittles all over the floor; and he keeps talking at full volume as if he’s outside the plane sitting on the wing trying to be heard.

Today was my brother’s birthday.  In what has become an annual tradition the boys and I left an Arabic rendition of “Happy Birthday to you” on his voice mail.

On surprising thing, I had to return my duty-free alcohol I bought. It seems only from Terminal 3 there is an arrangement to box the alcohol – needed to enter in Australia. The cashier didn’t know, it was only when he consulted his supervisor that he learned.

 

03/07/2016 – Gold Coast Marathon Day!

I managed a decent amount of sleep on account of Owen needing me to snuggle him in bed.  I still woke up plenty of times.  Once or twice after worrying dreams of missing the event as usual.

The tram to the start line was too packed. Instead I went back to the front of my hotel where charter buses were picking up runners. Lesson-learned.  Don’t pass up a perfectly good transport to try for something more convenient.  On the bus I noticed everyone except a couple of runners had Asics brand running shoes. The more I looked around the more obvious it was. Clearly Dubai has very different market to Australia. I seemed a complete foreigner, perhaps I could have been wearing a grass skirt.

We got to the start line shortly before 6am. Lots of half-marathoners had to rush.

It was quite freezing.  A hot coffee was necessary, and tasted amazing.

My pre-race toilet prep worked a treat.  I felt great from the start. Conditions were absolutely perfect. Crisp to begin, and not getting above warm. I had huge appreciation for all the volunteers and thanked them when I could.  And the spectators were brilliant.  Miyuki from Dubai was running with me, and was hugely popular with the hordes of passionate Japanese passionate Japanese cheers squads.  The Australians had a bit more trouble pronouncing her name from reading it on her bib. I didn’t add a nickname to my bib when registering. I figured it would show my first name instead. Nope, it showed nothing.  So imagine my surprise when a total stranger yelled out “Go Rhino!” It turned out the guy next to me was nicknamed Rhino also. Though people didn’t need to your names for encouragement.

Lots of signs said things like “Go complete stranger” or “I’m so proud of you, perfect stranger”.  There were so many good ones.  I liked the thought behind the image of the Mushroom from Super Mario games, with “Tap here for free power up”. I used as many of those as I could. “Unless you have puked, fainted, or died, keep going!”

One family had the song “We are the champions” playing loudly.  Though instead of those words, they sang “YOU are the champions ..”  The interesting thing with an out and back marathon course is that 20-30 minutes later when we ran back past the same spot they were singing the exact same song. That’s dedication.

I also loved other music along the way, which showcased a variety of bands.  There were two drummers going like crazy. To keep it up seemed to need as much stamina as running 42kms.

My favourite sign of all was in the first kilometre as we ran over the bridge for the first time.  A lady standing there was proudly waving a “You’re nearly there” poster.  As we did pass 1km I did the math and shared we have only 41.2km to go. I’m not sure how well that was appreciated by the runners around me.

In the final stages the going got tough, but I had no worries of finishing.  I just wanted to see the finish line – really wanted to see that line.  (Perhaps the feeling related to my former Gold Coast marathon where I had terrible cramps in the final 200 metres.)

The support heading to the finish was amazing. I particularly like seeing the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) mob – under the inspirational Rob De Castella.  Under their tent, they all gave such a hearty cheers.  I proudly gave high 5s all round. Even at the finish a lady with a camera obviously from IMF seeing me wearing an IMF shirt decided instead of taking my picture to give me high 5s.

 

04/07/2016 – Dreamworld

We all enjoyed seeing Australia’s premier theme park.  The entry was part of a deal with our accommodation, Paradise Resort. In hindsight, it would have been nice to have invested further and avoided the queues.  We waited 1 hour before doing the Thunder River Rapids ride (tragically, 2 months later that ride would be shut down forever).

We had to wait another hour for the boys who wanted to do Mick Doohan’s Motocross ride.

The Tower Of Terror seemed to have almost a 1 hour wait also, which Lewis and Corey persevered with – which seemed worth it.

05/07/2016 – The rain’s set in

We woke slightly before our breakfast meeting time to learn of a bad weather forecast. It was likely to rain all day so we agreed to drop our plan to visit Movie World. Instead, we decided to go ice skating in the resort we were staying.

All boys had a go. Owen picked it up extremely quickly. Bracken enjoyed it quite nervously – hanging on to the side walls rather than using the penguin-shaped guides. Corey joined us a little later to help Bracken, and he immediately enjoyed it more.

Lewis really put in a lot of effort. And Myles as expected was quite fine.

For lunch we went out for first & chips at the popular Pete’s Fish & Chips near Sea World.

From there we decided to not call it a day and take the Aqua Duck submersible vehicle. It was cool! The car had no suspension, so quite bouncy on the road. But it was amazing to drive into the water. All boys got to drive the boat out at sea which was fun.

For dinner Mum bought stuff to make hot dogs which went down a treat. Lewis may have had 5 or 6. The little boys and the older boys were very tired so we cut short our game of Sequence.

 

06/07/2018 – Helicopter ride and 2nd Dreamworld visit

The helicopter ride from Sea World was busier than I expected. We happened to see Tom Keneally also waiting.

The helicopter journey was more bumpy than I anticipated. The landing was the opposite and very smooth and straight-forward.

From there we went straight to Dreamworld for the rest of the day, where the boys enjoyed new rides and we all checked out the Peter Brock exhibit.

08/07/2016 – Farewell Paradise Resort, and final Dreamworld visit

We had our final morning at the hotel before visiting Dreamworld one last night.

Myles did the Tower Of Terror ride almost reluctantly. He wanted to do it, and not have Lewis just talking about it constantly. Right at the end before we got on, Myles was getting upset and said he didn’t want to do it. The attendants were very helpful and had obviously gone through the routine many times. They assured him after getting his name. Then when that didn’t work the lady said she would slow down the ride for Myles. Myles felt bad having it slowed down for everyone. He didn’t notice the wink she gave me. The story definitely helped. Although Myles looked really freaked out on the ride. Regardless, he enjoyed it. And not wanting to do it again.

Before that we took the train ride to the Corroboree section and saw the native animals. They were awesome, especially the koala which we got to pat,a 4 year old called “Cinnamon”.

The kangaroos weren’t too fussed about us. Boys enjoyed the indigenous exhibit, particularly The Mimis animated story.

We didn’t do many other rides.  The boys preferred to have fun in the Madagascar balls game. Our sons also had fun driving the Model T Fords, like their parents did at probably around the same age.

The Dreamworld Pass was definitely worth it. With three days we got to do a huge amount of the stuff we wanted, and see most of the attractions.

09/07/2016 – Caloundra fishing

Everyone slept like logs after the full week of theme parks and staying at the kids resort.

We had breakfast at mcDonalds as per Myles’s request. It was lovely to have an authentic bacon muffin. After breakfast the boys played in the playground. Well they did, until Myles noticed someone had urinated on the slide.

In the afternoon we went fishing with my brother in the Maroochy River. It took a short while to land our first fish. Naturally Myles caught it. He went on to catch 9 fish altogether. They were mostly bream, only a few legal size.

The stand-out for me was Owen. He was a complete natural. No one had to show him a thing. He just knew how to hold the rod, and wind in the line. And it didn’t take long before he was also trying to cast out the line himself.  It was well-deserved when he caught his first fish!

All in all it was a great day, and night. It’s lovely that we didn’t need to spend a lot of money on theme parks parks and hotel resorts. We can have fun doing such simple activities. I didn’t even need to fish. I enjoyed just watching the others.

13/07/2016 – Extremely white Tassie

We woke around 8am to an unfortunate day of weather, so we cancelled any plans to climb a mountain. Instead we had a great day playing in the snow.

 

16/07/2016 – Flying home to Dubai

Even without looking after three boys, it’s a very long flight from Australia.  Not as long as the couple next to me on the flight, they were coming from New Zealand.  And travelling onto London.  Altogether they’d be sitting on a plane for 36 hours.

We all boarded late due to the plane arriving after schedule.  Then it took maybe more than 30 minutes for the engineers to repair some casing under the wing! At first they couldn’t open it.  Then it took some time.  Then they needed to complete the necessary paperwork.  The captain was nice enough to update us every 10 minutes sharing a lot of details – I’m not sure if we needed all the details.

Our planned flight was to depart at 2210 hours.  Before we boarded they revised the time to 2250.  With the refueling and engineering problems once we were aboard meant we didn’t leave til after midnight!

Despite this, due to good weather conditions we were still scheduled to arrive on-time!  That’s catching up two hours.  You can become curious, Why can’t they travel at that pace all the time.

This was my first QANTAS long haul between Australia and Dubai.  Not bad, though a little pokier in Economy.

The in-flight entertainment was unsurprisingly not up to the mark of Emirates.  With Emirates you get more choices than you need.  QANTAS, for me, have the choices you don’t necessarily want. Obviously the choices weren’t too bad, they lady across the aisle was often laughing out loud in hysterics.

The food was OK. I even enjoyed having a famous Bundaberg ginger beer.