Gold Coast

It’s my last few days on the Gold Coast visiting my son, daughter-in-law and new grandchild. I’ve not done too much touristing but have done a zillion loads of laundry, washed a millions baby bottles, cooked umpteen suppers and got my quota in of cuddles.

I will never get tired of the beach here. We walked Mermaid Beach this morning and it was gorgeous down there.

We walked in the water and it was slightly chilly, too cool to swim in although there were a few folks in the waves. The sand and water felt good on my feet and legs as I am drawn to the water and ocean.

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Gold Coast Waterways

If you go into Google Maps and look at the Gold Coast in detail, you will see the area has waterways throughout. According to the City of Gold Coast website there are more than 400 kms of canals and 135 lakes constructed in the area.

These waterways provide a recreational and transportation venue but also help control storm water and decrease flooding of residential and commercial zones.

M&D’s house backs onto one of these waterways. Across the canal is an flat field which floods, purposefully, when there is too much water flowing down the waterway. The water in the canal rises, but not to dangerous levels.

Canal that runs behind M&D’s house

There are walkways along the canals and we enjoy a late afternoon walk, pushing the pram, every day. There are ducks, swans, ibises and other native birds in and around the water.

It is a unique area to live and work in. We went to HOTA (Home of the Arts) the other day to see the Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit of Pop Art and the building sits beside a large waterway and also borders a lake that allows swimming. A grassy expanse encourages picnics and lazing in the shade.

My favourite pastime is sitting on the deck watching the birds and activity on the water.

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Hinze Dam

Today the three adults and one mini person hop in the car and drive about 30 minutes to the Hinze Dam, built across the Nerang River. The dam was built in 1976 and upgraded in 1989 and again in 2011. It is not used for hydro power but for a water supply for the Gold Coast.

The reservoir is currently at 91% capacity with 283,000 ML (283,000,000,000 litres!). The dam and reservoir were constructed to ensure the area always has fresh water, especially in times of drought.

No motorized vehicles are allowed in the water in the reservoir but canoes and kayaks are. We spy two canoes in the distance and I do not think there are that many paddlers utilize the lake.

The area is very popular with strollers, beginners bikers (kids) and coffee drinkers. We have a long stroll and little miss v does very well, chattering the whole way and then conks out in the car ride home.

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Gold Coast Botanical Gardens in Benowa

The Gold Coast has a botanical garden in Benowa, about a 20 minute drive from my son and daughter-in-law’s house. The gardens have maybe 5 kms of walking trails, both paved and gravel. The trees are mature and well cared for.

Even though it is the start of fall here, there are still flowers blooming.

We stroll and admire the plants and look for wild life, spotting a small turtle sunning himself on a log in the pond and a swan chilling in the shade.

It is a peaceful walk and the four of us enjoy this Gold Coast gem.

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Life with Baby

Our lives revolve around the schedule of an almost 5 month old. Wake up, play, eat, play, sleep, repeat. Oh, and throw in abit of crying too to keep the adults hopping.

I might be on the Gold Coast, but the only tourist thing we’ve done is walk down the beach promenade. The ocean will always be a draw for me.

Being able to see Surfer’s Paradise down the beach is incredible.

Hanging out with a five month old is fun. In her eyes, Mom is the Universe, Dad is the Galaxy and Grandma is the Moon. Grandma is fine but Mom is the supreme! We will see what the next few days bring.

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Gold Coast

There is something I find fascinating about the Gold Coast. Just a 15 minute drive takes us to the beach. It’s late afternoon, windy and chilly, but there are many folks out walking the promenade by the beach. It’s part of the life style here. Old and young walkers. Families and couples and singles. Dog owners and cyclists.

We planned to walk on the sand and dip our toes in the ocean, but the wind tells us to stay up on the promenade. We will have to wait for a warmer day.

We stroll and watch the waves and the people and look at the houses and condos bordering the promenade. I would love to live in one of those condos and watch the ocean all day.

A winder surfer comes to shore for a rest and then heads out again.

Life on the Gold Coast.

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Cell Phones and Travelling

I hum and haw about taking my cell phone with me to Australia. Since I am visiting family, I don’t really need a phone. Who am I am going to call? The only reason to take one is to communicate via Whats App with the Canadian family members and my group of neighbourhood ladies (via WIFI). Ah, I don’t really need to do that……so I left it at home and only take my WIFI only iPad.

I feel like I am missing an appendage. I want to send Murray a text or two or three, but I have to use email. Then I couldn’t get a WIFI connection at the Edmonton airport, so I couldn’t even do that. 

Air Canada was very efficient and sent an email (there was also an option to receive texts which I unchecked, of course) informing me of the gate for my Brisbane flight. If I had my phone, I would have gotten the text right away, but the whole connecting to WIFI gig when I was speed walking through the airport, because our flight was late, wasn’t going to happen. So I got the email once I was sitting at the proper gate, having used the old fashion method of checking the Departures Screen in the terminal.

After this experience, I think I would like to travel with my phone just for the convenience, at least for the Canadian portion of journeys. I know, there are SIM cards and Travel Plans. But unless cell coverage phone calls or texts are needed for travel, is it REALLY necessary. My sister and her husband are traveling in Greece and England right now and they both bought SIM cards for their phones. One to be able to contact AirB&B folks and one to communicate with the folks that arranged a walking tour to confirm pick up and drop off spots. This is a logical use of SIM cards. Our impending trip to Africa is a different type of trip and I cannot see a use for SIM cards, so every trip is different. 

I arrive early to the spot where my son is picking me up. No WIFI, so I sit and wait. Not a terrible thing, but I am wishing I had my phone and it had an Australian SIM card.

I do think that the cell phone is becoming a tool that everyone assumes everyone has and uses. I am sorely missing my appendage.

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Australia Gets Closer

I packed my bags on the weekend and decided to check a bag. I did not realize how heavy children’s books are! The small pile of five books is heavier than I imagined, so a checked bag it is. The bag is surprisingly full, but I am taking some clothing I do not normally travel with.

  • Sweat pants, warm shirt and fuzzy for lounging in
  • Workout clothes, plus sneakers
  • Indoor Birkenstocks
  • Beach towel for swims in the pool or ocean

So, if I left the books and the above items at home, I would be taking my carry on bag. As I get older, I am realizing that sometimes not having to lug a carry on bag through airports is rather appealing.

My only issue with checking a bag is waiting for it at the end of a journey and wondering if it will fall down the chute and appear on the baggage carousel. In case my bag takes a side trip, I have diligently packed my prescriptions and a toothbrush in my purse!

You will see in the photo my checked bag, purse, pile of airplane clothes, neck safe and packing list. I still wear a neck safe that holds my passport, vaccination book, spare credit card and a few prescription pills. I have a rule for myself….my passport is either in my hand or in my neck safe. Our well travelled friends managed to leave a passport on a plane one day and even Murray momentarily lost his passport in an airport, so I have my rule and I stick to it. Plus, if ever, and I hope I never experience this, the airplane has to unload in a crisis, I have my passport and credit card to get me through. I think that is smart.

Tonight I will do the final pack of all those items I am still using. Tomorrow it is off to see my granddaughter! See you in Australia!

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A Solo Adventure Approaches

The excitement is growing! You see, my first grandchild was born in Australia just before Christmas and I am going to meet her next week! I am going by myself, which is kinda weird.

I have travelled alone for business and it was hard at first, but I got used to it. I haven’t travelled by myself, except to Lethbridge and Kelowna, since Murray and I started travelling together. This will be the longest we have been apart in the almost thirty years of being together. Scary and exciting at the same time.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a friend in the hospital and was having trouble finding my way out of the building. Shaking my head, I mumbled to myself, “I can navigate easily through an airport, why can’t I navigate through a hospital?” Once I realized where the miniscule elevator signs were I did much better and found the outdoors.

It is also weird planning, packing and preparing for a trip all on my own. Normally Murray and I discuss various aspects for the trip and this time, I am figuring it with no input. This is where a packing list comes in handy. I have printed it off and have been using it to guide my preparations.

Packing is interesting. At first I thought I would go carry on with my backpackish suitcase, but my pile of clothing, and baby presents, keeps growing and now I am not sure which suitcase to take. I may go against our mantra and check a bag! Going to the Gold Coast of Australia isn’t like going to Bhutan or Bonaire or Botswana. City clothes are needed! Nice stuff, not the wrinkled linen I wear in hot climates. So, the pile grows. The final pack is this weekend, so I will see what happens.

Stay tuned.

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Updated Blog

It has been an interesting few months with the blog. First, the email system didn’t want to work, so emails were not getting through. Apologies if you sent an email and there was no response.

Then our hosting company was arbitrarily going to move the blog database to another hosting company we did not want to use. So, we went into “save the blog” mode!

The migration of the blog, and its assorted accessories, over to a hosting company of our choosing has been complete and it is up and running nicely again. We once again are receiving emails.

If you had commented on a post or contacted us through the Contact Page and did not receive an answer from me, please please resend the comment or contact email. I would hate to think I missed someone reaching out.

Stayed tuned for most posts.

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