It feels weird to board a plane without our passports.
We have one of those significant anniversaries coming up this weekend and want to celebrate in style. “How about lunch at McDonalds?” Frosty smile. “Or maybe a trip to Bunnings to check out some new power tools?” Still no reply. “Er, how about a short trip somewhere nice?” Bingo!
The “somewhere nice” is going to be Cairns. It’s only two and a half hours flight from Brisbane, and the flights are cheap(ish).
Thursday. Our morning so far has been pretty relaxed – coffee, breakfast, start packing, finish packing, head to Brisbane airport. A slight glitch with the “please print and attach your own luggage label” thing (you really only get one shot with that sticky little sucker), then a short sojourn in the airline lounge and Mr and Mrs 23K and 23J are on their way. Quick digression. Questions for Qantas. Why do you have reclining seats on domestic flights? In economy class? In row 22?
Cairns. Our bag (yep – only need one) arrives more or less in one piece. Time to collect the hire car. For once, I’m very well prepared. Not only did I take a screen shot of the picture on the website, I’ve been practicing words from my North Queensland phrase book. “We have booked the pretty blue car in this picture eh?” Blank looks. Oops – wrong country. I’ve used the Canadian “eh” (as in “extra” without the “xtra”) instead of the North Queensland “ay” (as in “hay” without the “h”). “I’ve booked this car in the picture, ay?”
“Sorry sir. The cars in the pictures are just meant to show the general type of car you might get”. I thought that was bad – but then he added “now, let’s talk about a few little extras. Do you need insurance?” A few quick swipes of the plastic and we’re on the road. Ok, so Seasick Yellow isn’t the colour we would have chosen for a car, but it sort of matches my Hawaiian shirt so it must have been meant to be.
To my surprise, everyone except a few stray tourists drives on the same side of the road as they do back home. In no time, we roll into the entry of our flash hotel. Smiling young reception lady. Yes, they do have our booking, ay. “Do you need car parking?” I’m tempted to park in the street, just to get value out of that extra insurance, but swipe the plastic again anyway. A couple more swipes to cover those mysterious charges they have at places like this and we’re done. “Now sir, your room is on the sixth floor. Don’t worry that the signs don’t show your number. Just keep walking and you should find it. ”
Elevator. Doors stretch left and right around a huge central atrium. Toss a coin and turn left. Walk for days. Aha! Here it is. That view they promised us better be ….. oh wow!