Day 69

Location:  

Port Douglas

Weather:  

Calendar:  

What We Did:

Today’s a travel day, a scale down to what we arrived with (sort of) day, a taxi-airport-taxi-car pick-up-check-in day. It’s a good time to reveal some of the logistics of our journey. Wake up 5:45am. Although we packed the night before, still have the knick-knacks to deal with. Leave the kids sleeping, pick up luggage cart, load it up with 4 pieces of luggage, 4 pieces of kids stuff (2 x Britax car seats, 1 x Valco Baby double pram, 1 x Veebee travel crib), 8 pieces of carry on. Oaks staff once again go above and beyond calling a maxi cab and even loading it up while we bring down the kids in their pyjamas, still asleep. They wake up en route to the airport, and are too excited for any grumpiness (wouldn’t you like to wake up in the arms of your parents on the way to somewhere exciting?) Airport arrival, Dad bitches again that they make you pay for luggage carts in Australian airports – it’s salt on the wounds when you have this much to schlepp. Maxi cab drivers have been patient and helpful to unload, and someone always offers help, which Dad reclines, then the carseats falls off the cart, and then Dad accepts. This happens every time! We get to the Jetstar check-in, thank the Good Samaritan who wishes us luck and says a soft prayer he’s not travelling with two young kids. We always arrive early just in case because with kids and travel, just in case is a smart move. Jetstar staff have always been patient and friendly and understanding, especially because they’re not stressed by line-ups yet. 4 bags checked in, 4 kids stuff to the oversize belt. Kids are starting to run wild, still in their PJs, and need to get fed soon. Security. This is 50/50 a gong show or smooth sailing. Today, smooth sailing, although it’s amazing how often we’re pulled aside for a random check carrying 4 bags and a kid hanging off our neck. Come on guys, have some pity! Today Mom got pulled aside, with Gali attached to her thigh. I hope they swabbed him, because he’s ready to explode if we don’t feed him soon!  Through security, straight to a coffee shop for an overpriced croissant or slice of toast. Gali paints the table with yoghurt. Raquel refuses to eat anything because she’s grumpy because she refuses to eat anything. Mom and Dad manage a few sips of coffee. Juice is spilled. Off to the gate. At least three Chinese tourists will tell us our kids are cute. Unlike Canada, parents with young children do not get priority boarding. Dad lets two screaming kids elbow their way into the front of the line, nobody will ever argue. Raquel holds onto the tickets to keep her engaged and excited, 50/50 whether this is a good idea. Today it wasn’t such a good idea, but we found the tickets on the floor of the plane. Loading from the ground. Raquel stays in the lines ever since she got yelled at by airport staff for trying to run off. Up the stairs, greetings to a friendly Jetstar attendant, take our seats, arrange the carry-on with Tetrus precision, get ready for the flight, realize we forgot to renew the episodes downloaded from Netflix and they’re all expired. It’s only two hours, we have apps, and the kids are flying pros. Dad does some writing. Mom observes a Mother with two young kids making the same mistakes she made when we started. “Too many toys! And why isn’t she sitting between them, of course they’re going to flight with each other! I bet that Mom is drinking wine tonight.” Arrival. Collect luggage. Dad refuses to pay for carts again, and attempts the “everything must balance on the four-wheeled Swiss Luggage” manoeuvre. It never works, luggage spills everywhere. Someone offers to help. Get to the taxi line-up, into a Maxi cab, straight to the Trinity Ford Dealership, pick up another awesome Ford Everest, pick-up a trailer (usually), head to next destination. Load in, buy groceries, set up activities, do an activity, compile the trip day. Are you exhausted yet? Brisbane to Cairns to Port Douglas, probably our smoothest travel day yet!

 

What We Ate:

Breakfast:  Tapas snack plate on the plane

Lunch: Tacos and fajitas

Dinner: Satay chicken sticks and fried rice with zucchini

Where We Ate:

Breakfast: On the plane, which you get with a Jetstar Starter-Plus ticket.

Lunch: The Mexican in Port Douglas. Love places that have kids books to keep the little ones entertained (Raquel especially took to the Guinness Book of Records). Also next to a great bookshop! 5-Chile beef came on a sizzling plate, Raquel and Gali made their own tacos, ingredients were fresh, simple, service was outstanding and the homemade hot sauces meant business.

Dinner: In our apartment at the Oaks Lagoons.

My Favourite Pictures Today

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Where We Slept:

Steps from our living room is a swimming pool, one of six that serve one of the best and most affordable hotels in Port Douglas. The Oaks Lagoons are spacious, self-contained apartments with fully equipped kitchen, laundry and communal BBQ facilities. But having a pool this close in the humidity of tropical north Queensland is amazing, even more so when the kids jumped in and Raquel took her first strokes without arm bands, and then wouldn’t stop. Huge bats gathered in the trees in the late afternoon, as the kids enjoyed the best pool time of the trip. The staff were also super helpful on arrival, directing us to great restaurants and attractions, and once again going the extra mile.

We Learned:

After all this time, that you CAN travel with liquids on domestic flights in Australia. That it always pay to arrive early. To never pull into the first petrol station you see because the next one could save you about $10 off the bill. That the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is one of the most beautiful drives in the country (especially when kids are sleeping and they won’t get carsick from the winding road). That Queensland LOVES the roundabout. That northern Queensland reminds us of Hawaii. That it’s possible to get both kids sleeping before 8pm, especially if they’ve had a long travel day and a couple hours in a swimming pool. That fruit bats are cool to watch from up close.   That synchronicity means it’s Day 69 and we’re staying in Apartment 69.

Reflection of the Day

The Best Part:

Both kids loving in the swimming pool, and Raquel taking her first successful crawl strokes.

The Worst Part:

When Dad dropped the pasta sauce and it broke (fortunately, our apartment isn’t carpeted and the clean up was easy on the tiles). This came in handy a couple hours later when Gali informed us that he made a pee without his nappy on.

We'll Always Remember

  • Name: Stacey
  • Favourite Place: Port Douglas
  • I Love Travel Because: it makes me a better person
  • My Advice for Kids: Travel as much as you can because life is about experiences. Travel more, work less.
  • Name: Clive
  • Favourite Place: London
  • I Love Travel Because: I meet different people
  • My Advice for Kids: Travel
  • Name: Tash
  • Favourite Place: The Northern lights, wherever I can see them
  • I Love Travel Because: there's many adventures to have
  • My Advice for Kids: Enjoy every day and laugh a lot!

  Today's Random Thing

  A Note from Mom and Dad

Both kids down before 8pm! We don’t know what to do with ourselves, well, besides work and deadlines and whatnot. As detailed above, it was the smoothest travel day of the trip, mostly because people always came to our aid. If you saw a Mom or Dad struggling with too much stuff and an out-of-control-kid, wouldn’t you offer to help? The kindness of strangers is one of Dad’s greater travel truths, and he believes you can rely on it (and if not, you can always ask for help). We’re catching the kids having the most tender moments together, arms around each other, talking in their own language…it’s really special to see, although it usually flips to punches, pushes and tears but that’s OK, we’ll enjoy what we can get. More than anything else, the opportunity to spend this much time with our young kids is an intense opportunity to watch them grow, day-by-day, noticing the subtle shifts and developments we’d miss because of day care. Sure they drive us bonkers, but they’re so damn cute. Travelling with older kids is certainly easier, but they don’t wake up in the morning with bigger legs or extra vocab skills.

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