We landed at Brisbane airport on Sunday evening ,
Me and jags were slightly excited at the fact we may appear on ' border patrol australia '. On our immigration slips we ticked yes to a few declarations : ' mud on our walking boots ' from the canopy walk in KL and Annie had to tick 'medications' for her inhalers , I was convinced we would be stopped!
However on arrival we passed through migration with 'no dramas' and went through baggage reclaim and exited on to the taxi rank ...relieved but also slightly disappointed!
We were there , all the months r'planning' and I think it started to sink in at this point. we caught a taxi to our apartment / hotel and as we pulled up outside andoffloaded all the luggage , we heard the taxi drive away we suddenly realised the reception area was closed. .. As I had made the last minitue booking , I was a little worried ! Annie spotted a speaker phone located outside the door and after approx 5 minitue wait a friendly 'ozzie ' accent answered the phone , after confirming our booking details she was able to buzz us in from a remote location and give us directions for how to open the safe in the reception area and find the keys ..very strange ! However, as we manage to squeeze ourselves and our luggage into the small lift up to the 6th floor , and found ourselves in our full size appartment , a large queen bed , a smaller single bed situated in its own little private corner, a kitchen area and ensuite with a balcony: it was just as tripadvisor had promised .. 'A little gem'
We dumped our stuff and quickly decided to venture out to stretch our legs, explore our surroundings and more importantly find some food !!
We walked out into the very mild night , to find it all very very quiet, we walked for a good 30 mins following just the city lights for directs and pointers to where we may find some food .. On route we had our first wildlife experience , a possum patrolling the streets of Brisbane!
Eventually we found a night shop...
Initially when we had first started planning our trip , I had sought some advice from friend who were already 'down under' the general advice was u need to do some drastic saving!!
I soon realised why. .. Things are extortionately expensive we ended up buying a small box of crunchy nut and a pint of milk for 10 dollars .. Even with the favorable exchange rate , it hurt!
The next day we had a list of jobs planned , we checked out and ventured into the city centre , not as many familiar brands as I thought we would see , but the same kinda stuff .. Just more expensive , we had to first navigate our way accross the city to tick various administrative jobs and then exchange some money and find SIM cards , and of course fit in lunch. A busy first day ..
The weather .... I'm not going to bother mentioning but briefly There's not a lot to say .. The sun is strong , there's a really good breeze , it's not humid ... It's amazing !!!
That evening, we were greeted by ' uncle David' Annie's close family freinds who lived near the city , and where we would spend the next two nights . We arrived at their house after a hours drive , into a very very leafy hamlet , in Mount Crosby ( I'm not sure if I can call it a suburb, it doesn't really do it justice ). Their house , is beautiful , it's like something out of 'grand designs' ... A dream house ... A lovely home cooked meal was prepared for us by Naina Masi - the first time we felt we had eaten properly since leaving Birmingham.
A lovely evening where we were able to sit out in the open till quite late with our te shirt and shorts !
Just as we had been warned , we were awoken the next morning at 5 am.. By a cocktail of noises , but it wasn't your normal city life sounds of big lorries driving past or early morning construction works: a flock .. It must have been a very big flock of cockatoos, flying in circles above us , a kookaburra, a owl and a mother frog .. !
The next morning, feeling refreshed and well fed with home made bread and masala tea, we were dropped off on the ' magic mile ' ..
Today's project : ' buy a car' !
We had done our research, the 'magic mile ' a little different from the golden mile or curry mile at home, a mile worth of car dealerships and Independant garages , we spent a morning tracking up and down various garages slowly realising that our 3000 pound budget was not going to get us a whole lot ! We ended up weighing up between two options a ) a 15 year old 4.9 litre v8 ford falcon 159 000 km on the clock ( a absolute monster) or b) a 1999 land rover diesel 3.0l 200000km on the clock ... Neither really very good options. A phone call to David , a online search , 2 busses and a kilometre walk later we arrived in a quite suburb on the other side of town , using google maps we found a very small Independant garage ... And in it our dream car.
A sporty looking , white metallic body, shiny silver badge with circle and stars , 5 door hatchback, 4 wheel drive Subaru impreza !
Ok so it's not a glamourous as it sounds , it's an old model , the central locking .. Well there is none! and in car entertainment .. There's a cassette player ! But it drives .. Actually quite well, and it's 2 litre engine is pretty rapid .. (As I would soon find out ) and the 4 wheel drive , sticks to the road damn well .. ( I should apply to present Top Gear, Jeremy Kapoor ?)
The next step the price.. It was advertised for 4850aud , for those that know me know that I'm a bargain hunter .. So we ended up driving out the garage half hour later 4300 aud lighter ! Well when I say driving out ... we needed a bit of help embarrassingly turning the key!
That night we were treated to a family meal with David , Naina , Vinny and Milan at a local Thai restaurant !
Although we were still acclimatising to the prices , the quality of the food was also very very high so it pinched a little bit less !
After being fattend and rested and now equipped with car big enough to carry all of Annie's luggage ( I m still finding hidden pair of shoes in and amongst my t shirts in 'our suitcase' ) we left early next morning for Sunshine Coast ! It is beautiful, golden sands , blue water , hot weather .. We were in awe.. Couldn't belive that this was to be our home for the near forseeable future . We also realised that we were homeless !!! We weren't able to really spend to much time on the beach .. But this is the point me and Annie came to the conclusion that jags has an addiction ! He like a them tall, black and skinny ... Coffee, it's almost like he can't function without his coffee .. So we had to leave the beach later and hunt out coffee for jags and food for Annie .. I didn't realise that this was to become regular daily life for me!
After jags coffee and Annie's spinichand feta roll we then started our flat hunting ... Limited by what was available to suit our needs : funished
,2 bedroom 2 bathroom , near the beach , 4 month contract .. Was hard to find! But out search bore fruit eventually and we found ourselves 'submitting an application for rent' on the first property we saw.... a little bit strange .. I was used to the English rental system: u turn up , view a property sign on the dotted line and get the keys .. This was a little different , so out hope of moving in somewhere that day was apparently a little ambitious!
Luckily help was at hand , we met Andy and Katy for dinner on the 'espianade' beach front , and they kindly let us have their spare room for that night!
So now realising we were not going to have the keys to our new property for at least another week : we were 'forced ' to make new plans ..spontaneously...! Annie had to re pack a left her yearly supplies at andy and Katie's and jumped In the car... East coast road trip !!!