After a month in the
Sitting at the coach station (really, just a glorified bus stop) we were slightly confounded when an elderly lady moved away from us initially. After a few minutes she moved back closer to us and apologised when the smoke from her cigarette blew in our faces. When we told her it was o.k. she started to giggle. This behaviour continued, not just until the coach arrived at , but for the next 40 minutes or so, as we stopped at Green Point, Pacific Palms and
As always, we had our own drama with the transport. While it wasn't as time consuming as the train that broke down with us on it as we were travelling into Brisbane, the malfunction of the coach ticketing machine saw us stopping in Raymond Terrace at the Busways Head Office with the possibility that the coach may not keep going. In the end, the driver (and the guy he consulted with) decided that they would ignore it and try and get it fixed while they were in
Meanwhile, Brock and Quinn, who had spent the previous 8 weeks travelling all over the east coast of Australia staying with various family members were coming to the end of their time in Brisbane. Their father dropped them at the airport at 4pm to make sure they would be ready for the 7:20 flight to Sydney but because the had no money there was not a lot for them to do other than sit around and spot celebrities. After a 15 minute delay to their flight leaving everything else flowed fairly well and they were safely in
This gives us the opportunity to share a happy hint. If you are travelling to the domestic terminal in
The following morning everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Wayne and Meg had breakfast at the aforementioned store and then woke the boys at . We easily made checkout at 11 and then shortly after the shuttle arrived to ferry us to the international terminal. We were a little early to beginning checking in for our Etihad flight but there were lots of seats and we were soon in a fast moving queue to the check in counter. Of course, it was all just a little too easy and it wouldn't have been us if something had not gone wrong at this point.
We had been sent copies of our visas by email and had printed them out at the library in Tuncurry, however they were only in black and white. Maria, at the counter, pointed out to us that they couldn't be easily read and asked if we could get a colour copy done. Fortunately, Meg had had the foresight to anticipate this event and saved the visas to her memory stick. While the boys sat and watched the bags and Maria held on to our passports for us, Meg and Wayne scoured the International Terminal looking for a colour printer. Various people tried to help us (including three different Help Desks) but across Levels 1 and 2 there was not a colour printer to be found. Finally, someone suggested that we head up to the Administration Level 3 and visit the Etihad Office. George allowed us to use his printer and wouldn't accept any of our attempts to pay him for the privilege.
Once our bags had been checked it was smoothly through customs and security and we were in the lounge at our gate at just after 1pm. This gave us the opportunity to keep people updated with where we were using the free internet sites. Meg also changed money from Australian Dollars into Qatari Riyals and used some of her remaining funds to buy some Gucci 'Envy' at the duty-free store. It was not long after this and we were boarding our flight ready for the first leg, 14 hours from
Etihad has some beautiful planes and we took the opportunity to make some last phone calls to our parents to say goodbye before take off. There were enough free seats on the plane that Wayne and Meg were able to move to a different row, giving both themselves and the boys a little more room to spread out on the flight. One of the stewardesses was from
The flight itself was very bumpy, with lots of turbulence for most of the route as we passed over
This was truly bizarre, because the plane left 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The 45 minutes flight time was over very quickly and consequently we were soon on the ground in the city that is to be our home for at least the next two years. At it was already 32°C but it didn't seem too bad as we boarded another coach. As we left the coach at the Terminal, even before we made it to Customs and Immigration we were met by people who had been waiting for us. Rather than stand in the line with the hundreds of others we were ushered into a private room while our passports were stamped and our baggage collected. They then shepherded us around the lines and through security to a café to wait for a couple of minutes while our shuttle bus was collected.
While we were waiting, one of the
We soon arrived at the complex where we will be staying and it wasn't long before we were inside the door of our new home. It is on the sixth floor of the building which is really a large apartment complex. The house itself is very big, certainly the biggest we have lived in since Wayne and Meg first came together, with three very large bedrooms and four bathrooms. When we looked out of our windows we could see the major sports centre across the road. It was all very exciting and we unpacked some of things quite quickly. However, it was clear that all of us needed some sleep and by we had all crashed, relieved to have finally arrived.