We made it!!! We are here!!! After about 44 hours in airports and on airplanes we have made it to Townsville, Queensland, Australia!!! Our flights were all pretty much non eventful and we managed to sleep a little bit on the way—especially on the LA to Auckland flight which was good. Qantas is very good about feeding you and making sure you have everything you need, water, snacks, blankets, pillows, etc. so we didn’t need a thing. All of the flight attendants were very nice—kind of different than flying NorthWest where I have encountered quite a few not so great flight attendants.
We all were herded onto a bus to take us to the plane in LA (after 4 gate changes) and when we crammed on we actually were talking to a guy who lives in Townsville which was actually pretty amazing since it isn’t that large of a place! He and a colleague were in Las Vegas for a convention and they were both financial planners. It made me laugh– a bunch of financial planners gambling away their clients money! He was very nice and helpful and couldn’t understand why anyone would go to Townsville on holiday as there isn’t much here in his opinion. Chris told him he was doing a little consulting and of course was then asked who for, etc. And since CSR is a fairly big company he tried to be vague but there was to be none of that!!! It is all good–he just told him he was helping a buddy out and looking at some processing plants for him and that seemed to satisfy the guy. I guess I didn’t think that we would have to really explain anything to anyone on the way here!! Bad enough that we can’t really tell anyone or be excited about it at home.
So we got into Townsville Saturday night about 9:30 pm without my suitcase which had been left in Auckland. The tracking tag came off and they were able to locate it when we were in Brisbane but of course we couldn’t get it . I actually think I handled it very well—-I was just grateful it was not Chris’ bag! I had packed a pair of capri’s and a polo shirt and sandals in my carry on along with a few toiletries so I thought I would be okay and I was! I was too tired to really care I think! Mark Day picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel where he had made sure we had one of the best rooms and a bottle of champagne greeted us which was very sweet. He is a very soft spoken man and it takes a bit to figure out the way the Australians talk but he is a very gracious man and I was just grateful he came to get us.
He brought us to our home for the week–Jupiters which is actually a casino also right on the Marina and we have fabulous views! I will try to include some pictures in this but right now it won’t let me do it for some unknown reason. The hotel is very nice and after we both took steaming hot showers we fell into bed and slept until about 7 this morning which was glorious!!! We both woke up feeling really good and hopefully we won’t be too jet lagged.
We ate breakfast in the room and then walked about town for about an hour and half. We had planned to find a church to go to Easter services but my lack of appropriate clothing kind of nixed that so instead we wandered down Flinders Street and took in the market that they hold there every Sunday which was pretty neat—street musicians and lots of stalls set up with things for sale and things to look at. It was a grand morning and by the time I was done I knew that yes— I would need bandaids as my feet have not seen a pair of sandals for months and the ones I chose to stick in my carry on were not ones that were totally broken in yet—big mistake!!! Oh well.
Mark and his wife Lorrayne ( or some such spelling) picked us up for a late lunch and we went to an open air restaurant where Chris had this HUGE fish with a head on it—barramundi which he said was excellent. I chose more of tartlet with mushrooms and pine nuts and had a much easier time eating it along with some prawns. Yummy. We had good conversation but it is definitely different than US conversations plus there were a few awkward moments—like when Mark asked me if something were to happen what questions would I have about living in Australia. Hmmmm—don’t really know!!!
All in all a very nice lunch and they are definitely a much more laid back culture than we Americans are. They do not seem to be in a rush and especially since it was Easter holiday I was surprised that they wanted to spend so much time with us but it was greatly appreciated. We then took a drive (and yes driving on the wrong side of the road does take a lot of getting used to—don’t know if I could ever figure that one out with all the round abouts and all) and went to Castle HIll which looks over Townsville. It was beautiful and quite a sight but of course I had not stuck a camera in when I left so the pictures are in my mind!! We drove around a bit and chatted and Mark seemed to lighten up a bit—-he was so willing to take us anywhere and do anything which was very kind. Tomorrow he is going to pick us up and take us to the Billabong Sanctuary which I am sure is a very touristy thing to do but he asked me what I wanted to do and I do want to see kangaroos and koalas and crocs!!! Hopefully it will be a good experience!
And the good news is my luggage showed up here around 5 pm so I am ready to roll with clothes and toiletries and shoes!! YEA!
I know I probably am boring you all to death but post some comments if you like!!! We are having a blast and I think Chris is pretty relaxed about the whole week at this point and will just see how the mills are and how much work they need!!!
More tomorrow from down under!!!