I was very fortunate to make some dear Australian friends while I was in England. Not only do I have Steph, who lives only 10 minutes away, but friends in Sydney and Brisbane. For our first “Nottingham Reunion” I met 5 friends in Brisbane for a weekend at the beach. My flight was scheduled to leave early Friday afternoon but ended up being delayed 2 hrs. I flew the budget (not budget by my standards) airline – Tiger which is notorious for being late. The Australians have a much higher standard for their airlines so the ones who can afford it never fly Tiger. My friend's Dad couldn’t believe that I didn’t get served a meal on a two hour flight. Most Americans have come to expect that lack of food. Though some food would have been nice, I flew the most basic airlines in Europe so I was happy to even get a seat assignment.
When I left Melbourne it was in the low 50s and raining so I dressed accordingly. 2 hours later in Brisbane I was melting in the nearly 90 degree heat and humidity. My friend Amy’s mother picked Steph and me up from the airport in her wonderful air-conditioned car. She gave us a quick tour of the city and pointed out many of the spots that had been damaged by the flooding. Everywhere in Australia has had abnormal weather this year. Darwin has been sweltering and dry, Queensland had cyclones and flooding, and the south had more rain than many of my uni friends have seen in their lives. It’s remarkable how the city has cleaned up after the flooding, but it’s still sad to see empty, boarded-up houses.
Steph and I had a relaxing rest of the afternoon exploring the Brisbane suburb of Sherwood. The tropical climate meant that there was a whole new array of flowers and trees that chilly Melbourne can’t support. Unfortunately there were also geckos, opossums, lizards, and HUGE spiders everywhere – including inside Amy’s house. I was not sad to leave those behind when we headed further north the next morning.
It was an hour and half drive to the Sunshine Coast where Amy’s family has a holiday house. Her house was in the town of Noosa Heads – a town with lots of touristy shops and cafés and a large public beach. We spent the first few hours in Noosa on the beach. It was another hot day, though, so no one protested to having an early lunch and finding shade. The rest of Saturday was spent shopping and relaxing at the house. It was great to catch up with everyone.
The tanning fans in the group (not me) wanted to make an early start to the beach on Sunday to catch a few rays before heading back to Brisbane. The weather had other plans, though. It poured on and off for most of the morning, so we retreated to the town to have a hearty breakfast and do some souvenir shopping. Then it was another drive back to Brisbane to collect our things before heading to the airport again. Whereas in the States, they recommend 2 hours of time to check-in and go through security at the airport, Aussies need about 10 minutes. You don’t have to have ID or a boarding pass to go through security and there is no need to remove your belt, jacket, or even shoes. Oh, I miss those days!
I could have stayed in Queensland much longer, but I was certainly happy to return to Melbourne where the humidity is bearable and there is no need to check for spiders before hopping into bed!
Happy April, Everyone!