Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gold Coast Day 1 & 2 Pt 1

Our flight was Friday evening at 6.30. We could not decide whether to get a taxi to the airport or drive and park in the long term car park. Last time we must have booked the car park well in advance as the rate was cheap. This time it was not as we had left it until the last minute, with a cost of around $80 for six nights away. I wondered if the motoring organisation, RACV, would have a discount rate at the airport. It did not but did have discounts for private parking companies located short distances from the airport.  I found one for $49, including transport to and from airport, the transport taking not much longer than the bus trip to the terminals from the long term airport carpark.

While I was at the RACV website, I noticed some cheap options for Gold Coast attractions too, so I booked a couple of things there.

The car trip to the the parking company's site was a nightmare in the heavy Friday evening peak traffic. A trip that might have taken 20 minutes took almost an hour. I don't know how people cope with a commute like that on daily basis. R was getting stressed in the passenger seat and his stress makes me stressed. We left home at 3.50 pm and the latest we could check in is 5.45. I knew we had allowed plenty of time but we did not know how lengthy the procedure would be at the parking place. That all went quite ok and we were at the airport with plenty of time.

We flew for the first time with Tiger Air and I was impressed. Tiger operates from a new and not quite finished terminal in Melbourne. We had checked in online before we left and with electronic machines at the airport, printed out our own boarding passes and luggage tags and the shoved our cases on a conveyor belt. The staff were all friendly. We had chosen our own seats which were unfortunately near to a large group of young sportsmen. They were a bit noisy but had the staff not worked it so the drink and food trolley reached them last and so they only had time for one beer,  they certainly would have become very noisy. Unfortunately for us we were also served nearly last. Perhaps staff thought we too were young sportsmen.

As we had loaded a staff person asked if passengers could not put small things in the overhead luggage space and so leave space for larger bags. Some people had ridiculously large bags and I don't think the maximum size limit was enforced. That is what happens when an airline charges extra for luggage.

The state of Queensland does not have daylight saving, so while the flight took two hours, we arrived at 7.30. The Gold Coast airport is small does not have air bridges, so it was a walk across the tarmac, into the airport and past the crowd who waiting to get on the plane we just left and then to the baggage carousel. We knew it would be dark when we arrived so had decided to get a taxi to our hotel. I stepped out side to see where the rank was and within a couple of minutes R calls me to tell me our baggage had arrived. That is exceptional and probably because there was so little checked baggage. Tiger both going up and coming back had a fast 1/2 hour turn around.

I had read that there is a cab fixed price of $49 from the GC Airport to Surfers Paradise, which turned out to have increased by $10 to $59. The staff who I asked said we might save $3 by using the fixed price fare, so we didn't bother. Our taxi was delayed by roadworks for about 10 minutes and in spite of that, the fare was only just over $60.

We checked into our hotel and thought it quite comfortable. While we had requested twin beds, the desk staff did not seem aware of this. A more senior staff had a look and found the request and told the junior that there are four suites with king sized beds that can be split, and that was what had been done for us. After examining the room, we went out for groceries and something to bring back to drink. We returned to the hotel and in spite in being Friday night, by that time all restaurants had began to close down. It was clear there would not be restaurant meal tonight so we made do with a Subway roll each back in our room.

The windows faced north.

The view from our room, which had double opening sliding doors onto a ledge not large enough to stand on before the railing.

Lots of tall buildings.

The beach had not long ago been cleaned and so there weren't too many footprints at this early hour. A beach cleaning machine worked away every morning.

As we had not eaten much for dinner last night, we bought breakfast at the cafe attached to the hotel. It was very pleasant sitting, watching the world go by and looking out to sea. This conglomeration of towers faced us as we stepped out from the hotel.

Wow, that is a tall one.

Our hotel was on the corner of The Esplanade and Elkhorn Avenue.

The hotel is not grand, 3 1/2 stars, but quite comfortable, well maintained and cleaned and the staff were friendly and helpful.

I think this is a sheoak tree, one of an avenue planted along the beach. I have looked at photos online and I am really not sure. Please confirm or deny if you know.

I could not get over how many highrise buildings were in Surfers.

They even stretch for kilometres along the water's edge. About every 200 to 300 metres were lifeguard boxes and and a flagged area to swim within.

While there is a bike in the photo, there were not very many cyclists in Surfers. There were more people, probably tourists, on electric bicycles.

There are a few  more people on the beach now. The foreshore area is very well done.

R says I only wanted to go to the Gold Coast because there is a tram line. Not true, but it was very useful to get about on and I have started a post with detail about the tram line. What did really surprise me was the village like feel Surfers has when it is essentially a collection of high rise towers. The streets are narrow. The traffic slow and calm and the area very pedestrian friendly. While not quite matching the centres of old European towns, it is a pretty good effort. There are also lots of arcades but some were pretty quiet and I should think the rent was quite cheap. Lots of Thai massage places and manicure/pedicure businesses is a good indicator.

You have to have to had experience of children in prams and pushers to understand why one sandal can appear in the street, or a sock, or anything else that a child might be able to remove.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Je suis retourné

I have returned after a lovely holiday on Australia's Gold Coast. The one night when we did not go out clubbing (really?), we watched a comedy performance on a tv show to raise awareness about ??? Some worthy cause. Oh yes, Mental Health Week and once again our ABC has done us proud with a variety of interesting tv and radio programmes. The show was quite entertaining and I had so forgotten about Audrey's Kitchen. Don't be like me and think this is a short cooking show for over three episodes before I realised it was a comedy performance. The hair, the physique and the English accent are all fake and better still, in every Audrey's Kitchen episode, she will say something really politically incorrect.

Holiday details will appear at some point in the very near future. In the meanwhile go and make yourself a dish of Audrey's summer Tuscany pasta.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Selections

Joining River and others for Sunday Selections and this week it is just few random photos.

Many steel poles along St Kilda Road have been replaced. The tram support wires were moved to the new posts. The lights were moved or new ones put on the new posts but between the old and new hung some temporary looking electrical connections. And so they stayed for a couple of years I think. Finally work crews have come along, dug up the ground, removed wires no doubt connected some wires underground. They all did a neat a tidy job. I did not see it, but the old poles have now been removed, no doubt by a large machine with a claw that clamps around the pole and lifts it out of the ground. The old pole has now gone.

The magnolia blooms have come and gone, with just this photo of the one at the house next to the synagogue to remind me.

There is single display window at the rear of a building across the road and this is what sits there.

These houses seem to be connected to the next door St Thomas Aquinas church. I think they may some type of grace and favour accommodation.

The side of the very nice Royce Hotel.

And that was the end of a lovely sunny day.

The construction behind the old Albert Park Manor is creeping closer to completion. The blue crane within the building has now been removed by the biggest cherry picker you have ever seen.

I heard the Royal Melbourne Show mentioned once on tv and saw these banners. Otherwise I would not have known the show was on. Where were the grizzly kids carrying show bags around after a big day at the show? I think attendance figures must be right down.

Really Victor. A little juvenile, don't you think? We lobbied to get these bike stands in front of our building and now they are spoilt. Actually, it can't be that Victor as he would never contemplate putting a dot over a capital i.