Day: April 9, 2018

601. Sunday 8th April 2018. Commonwealth Games, a fugitive, abseilling a waterfall and a dam…

Monday 2nd April

Working as a driver for the Commonwealth Games on night shift is not much different to day shift. It is darker, cooler and quieter. I am beginning to believe we have too many drivers and the athletes are not using the service as much as anticipated. Today I worked early shift to allow me to attend the Dress Rehearsal of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony at Carrara Stadium. The live music and sounds of the Ceremony are awesome when heard live. Live TV loses that magical sound but on the other hand you see more on TV than being live at the stadium. On TV there is usually a commentary but live at the stadium there is no such explanation. I left early to catch a shuttle bus home.


Thursday 5th April

Day shift at the games. It was a long, hot day with few passengers. We are given a little soft bodied Esky and two fresh freezer blocks (I now have a large collection of freezer blocks)The little Esky contains our lunch, which comprises a muesli bar, a piece of fruit, a sandwich and a muffin.  I am getting a little tired of soft bread and soggy tomato on every sandwich.

Today I drove two Anguila Track and Field team managers to their hotel at Broadbeach. The address was not on my list of approved destinations. It seems the hotel is really an Air B&B within a hotel and hotel reception know nothing of the arrangement. We drove around for ages trying to find the entrance as several streets were blocked off while entertainment events were being held. We tried calling the Air B&B but the lady who answered was Chinese and difficult to understand. The ladies phones were running out of battery until they found a help number. The man they called was a bit aggressive and not helpful except to say we were parked in the hotel entrance but not to go inside to see reception. Instead we should walk along the side and through a gate and into a small lobby where we would find keys and instructions. The ladies by now were quite tired and so relieved their journey was over so they could go to bed.

This is the second time I have dealt with Air B&B in the last week and I find their arrangements are quite unsatisfactory. There is nobody to call if the room is not cleaned or bedding or bath towels are not in place. Usually keys are dropped off at an agreed place or left with somebody else.

Tonight we joined Karen and her son and grandsons at Southport Chinatown for dinner. The streets have been closed to allow a street party for the next 10 days, One street has a giant TV screen

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Giant TV Screen in Chinatown

while another has a live band on stage and amongst this was a giant inflated moon suspended via a crane.

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Full Moon in Chinatown

As well as the amazing Asian restaurants there were lots of street food vans. It was a nice warm evening and a relaxed safe atmosphere. We at at a little Vietnamese Family place with a limited menu. The food was good, plentiful and cheap.

Friday 6th April.

Afternoon shift at the Games. I was asked to pick up 5 members of the Mauritius Officials and take them to the airport. It turns out I was only taking one to the airport and the other 4 were minders including the President of the Mauritius Commonwealth & Olympic Games Committee. They rarely spoke and would not answer any of my questions unless they discussed the question first then somebody else would answer. Once I left the airport the remaining 4 men fell asleep. When I arrived at the Presidents hotel I asked if he was tired, he turned to me for the first time and said “we are all very tired but now we can rest”.


My final passenger finally talked with me all the way back to his accommodation at the village. It seemed they were all under instructions from the President not to talk. After I got home I was curious and found an official of the team was earlier in the day charged with sexual assault but he was allowed to retain his passport. His photo on the internet was suspiciously like the man I took to the airport. Later (Saturday) I found this news report.

And this report later Saturday morning.

That’s him, same shirt and coat and nice trimmed beard. The report stated he fled the country last night!!!

I drove the fugitive to the airport and the other 4 helped him leave the country.

Sunday 8th April

Alecia arrived last night so today we drove her and Joan (Donnis sister) to Springbrook to see the waterfalls, especially at Purling Brook Falls. We were surprised by a man and his two mates show up with a bag full of ropes and preparing to abseil or rappel down the cliff face near the falls. (Actually abseil and rappel are the same thing. Rappel was the name of the Frenchman who invented the technique)

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Waiting for the abseilers.
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Getting into position.

I had every confidence the man knew what he was doing and was suitably prepared with safety equipment.

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He has reached the point of no return and it is all downhill from here.
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Look closely and you can see the abseiler in position in relation to the cliff face and the waterfall.

Donnis was too scared for his safety to watch.

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Only another 80 or so metres to go.
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I am not sure if he is taking photos or making a call but he is still descending.

I was not so confident of the pair of backpacking idiots who jumped a safety fence, despite signs asking people not to climb the fence as the rocks are slippery and it is a 100 metre sheer drop to certain death. One backpacker in particular stepped right to the edge and used a selfie stick to record his lack of brains.

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I have called this “Idiots”, This backpacker jumped the safety fence, ignoring all safety warnings and signs. He was rock hopping when he suddenly realised there was nothing left to hop to. The rocks are wet and covered in slippery slime. Beyond his left foot is a 100 metre drop.
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He is joined by another idiot who decides sitting with his legs dangling is cool.
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We are so pleased this did not end in tragedy. The people on the viewing platform were quite concerned for the safety of these two.

In the meantime the abseil was underway finally running out of rope a metre above a rock slide.

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Getting closer to the bottom.
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Almost there but running out of rope. Although it looks as though he has reached bottom there is still about 10 metres of steep wooded slope to scramble down…without the safety of his rope.

He unhooked then struggled through thick bush to scramble to the creek below.

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At the base of the waterfall is a bridge which connects both banks. Normally there is a circuitous walk winding back up the cliff making a 6 Klm return walk. A landslide after recent heavy rain has closed the track so now it is a simple 4 klm down and back along the same track.

While his mates pulled the rope back up the cliff face he started the 2 Klm hike back up the cliffs.

To finish our drive we went to Hinze Dam which supplies most of the water to the Gold Coast.

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Hinze Dam Visitor Centre.

With all the rain we have had over the last two months, water is running over the spillway.

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Spillway at Hinze Dam. This is the first time we have seen water on the spillway. Dam is at capacity.