Monday 8th October
Donnis arrived at Coolangatta Airport almost exactly on time. The sun was shining there was a light breeze and was well with the world. She wanted to go to the beach for a walk along the wet sand with the wind in her face.
Within a few minutes of our walk there were three fingers of storm fronts creeping across the sky. The wind picked up the sky got darker and we could see Surfers Paradise in the north beginning to look hidden behind a haze of rain.
From Bilinga Beach we drove to Currumbin Beach and as we have done on a number of occasions, dropped into the Surf Club for a drink and a snack.
By now the sky was heavily overcast and the air seemed to have an electric feel about it. Within minutes the lightning show began, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach disappeared under a curtain of rain and we had a front row seat beside the open floor to ceiling window.
Today was the beginning of what the forecasters were saying was daily storm cells, damaging winds and hail and rain, heavy at times including a tornado or two.
Wednesday 10th October
At line dancing today, the sun, which made a magical appearance for a few hours, reflected off the pool, through the windows and cast a shadow image of the palm fronds outside and the dancers inside onto the wall. Magical. We first noticed this last week. Today I brought the camera to capture a silhouette show but it is difficult to capture shadows just the way you want them.
Friday 12th October.
I read back though my blog page for September and October 2010 when we first left Airlie Beach to begin our permanent travels in WWWGO. I note how the very first day it started to rain heavily and WWWGO developed a leak around the area where the TV antenna enters the roof. Luckily we were not far from my daughter Melissa horse stud and we parked WWWGO in their tractor shed. Over the next week Steve and I cleaned up anything which may have caused a leak and re-sealed everything. Over the course of the next month it rained more frequently in our travels and we were often caught in flooded areas. The wet season was beginning at this same time in 2008 in much the same manner as it is beginning this year. At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 saw the disastrous Brisbane floods. I wonder if history is going to repeat itself.
Saturday 13th October
Heavy rain today. Hmmm! I know lets go to a brand new giant shopping centre. It will be nice and quiet. The new centre is Westfield Coomera and opened on Thursday to much fanfare. I figured the crowds would be thinner today and who would want to come out on a wet day like today. You would have to be crazy. Right! Like us! It is only 17 Klms from home and will take only 21 minutes according to Google Maps. OK lets go. Driving along the M1 with lots of traffic, heavy rain and spray from car wheels was OK. Hmmm! Said Donnis what is this red line on Google Maps for??? Once we turned off the M1 the red line became apparent. Traffic chaos! WT!!! Surely they are not all going to the new shopping centre. No, of course they ALL were not going there. Only the vast majority! I felt like turning off and going home but we were locked into umm err, gridlock.
A couple of Police cars were parked to block some traffic so that we all moved forward in a controlled manner. There were parking attendants in wet weather gear waving flashing batons. Everywhere we looked the car park was full. I asked a friendly looking baton waving raincoat shrouded figure how do I get out? So far my 21 minute journey has taken almost an hour and I want to go home. The attendant said turn left here, follow the wall and you will see the exit signs. With a wink he also mentioned we might find a parking spot.
Just as somebody pulled out we drove in and better yet it was under a shade sail. Meanwhile it was still raining.
Inside it was a mass of seething humanity all going somewhere with nowhere in mind. We did the same.
First things first. It was lunchtime so we looked at all the foody offerings to decide. There are 39 food outlets to choose from (with not a McDonalds or Hungry Jacks in sight) in several different locations. We looked at Hardy Boys and saw a plate for two with a price tag of $30. Some people just had theirs delivered to the table and we thought, A Ploughmans Lunch. Hmmm! Seems a bit much for lunch but even sushi elsewhere was going to cost $20 so it was back to Hardy Boys a place we have never heard of before. The platter for two was $16. The $30 option included a bottle of wine. WT! The amazing thing about this platter was sheer value for money. Honestly we struggled to finish the plate. It contained small cubes of a mild cheddar cheese, cubes of a goats milk fetta and some triangles of a Brie. Plus there were little bowls of sun dried tomatoes, olives, and smashed avocado. There was a steak cut into small chunks, salami, rocket lettuce, salsa, slices of smoked salmon and some toasted rye bread.
Bathrooms are interesting. When you wash your hands p;ace your hand under the spout and water runs as long as your hand is under the spout. There are two arms on the spour place hands under the arms and hey presto a blade of high speed warm air dries your hands and the drips go down the sink. So instead of finding one or two hand dryers in the bathroom, each hand basin has a dryer. No more waiting with dripping hands. Good new invention Mr Dyson.
Upstairs was a cinema complex with ticket prices starting at $20. (Our local movie complex prices are $9) Next door was a huge adventure and games complex. Wall climbing and walking across ropes and ladders and swinging bridges and a couple of flying foxes to keep kids amused and burning off energy without using a mobile phone. Geez if only old people could have a go but alas nobody older than teenagers.
The helpful thing about this Westfield as is the Helensvale Westfield is its location. Across the street from the railway stations at Helensvale and Coomera.
When we left it was still raining. In fact the rain brought back memories of 2010 and me wondering if this year will be a replay of 2010. So far it is
Tonight we watched the movie Hell or High Water with Jeff Bridges on SBS On Demand. Jeff Bridges is usually a great actor and he does not disappoint in this movie. It contains black humour, unexpected surprises and a few plot twists to keep you interested all the way.
Sunday 14th October
We went to the movies actually it cost $10 each. We saw Bad Times at the El Royale. This movie includes that stalwart Jeff Bridges and Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth. It is 2 hours and twenty one minutes of riveting edge of your seat surprises, black humour, suspense and enough plot twists to easily fill in those hours. We left the theatre drained of energy. Great movie.