Day 76





What We Did:

For the most part, our logistics throughout the trip have been remarkably smooth. A few rough edges sure, but given the pace and that we’re staying in just under 50 hotels (and their corresponding destinations) it’s been impressively efficient. Today, was not one of those days, but it’s hardly anyone’s fault. After all, not many people leave Mackay Queensland for Darwin, Northern Territories. It involves two full days of travel, with a late checkout out at the very busy Oaks Rivermarque in Mackay, and 10 hours to do…something until our plane to Brisbane. Overnight in Brisbane, and then 10 hours to do…something there too, until our flight to Darwin finally touches down after midnight. Mackay is a mining town and a pass-through town and a town to spend a couple days, but having returned our Everest to Ford (thanks for the great ride ARA) and with rainy weather, it’s not like we could hang out at the Bluewater Lagoon waterpark across the street, or drive to a great beach. Instead we walked to the public library, which, travel tip, is a great place to take young kids anywhere, anytime. We read a zillion books and played with the arts and crafts, had a great lunch nearby, and returned to the library to do it all over again. The librarians must have thought we were squatters. The library closed at 6pm, so we had 4 hours to go, with Gali skipping his nap and acting like a punch drunk big horned sheep, head banging his way forward, falling over his feet. Meanwhile, Mom snuck off to cut her hair short in the afternoon, because her hair was driving her crazy, and now she has a lot less of it. It also killed 90 minutes, which is probably more important in the context of the day. As the parrots kicked up a sunset ruckus and bats flew overhead, we walked to Caneland Central Mall, where the shops close inexplicably early at 4pm (for us city folks anyway) and so we wandered about the deserted mall like lost spirits in a retail ghost town. We were, literally, the only people in the place, and it’s not a small mall – all the stores locked up but the corridors open. For some reason, they were blasting terrible 90’s pop music, perhaps because they knew nobody would be there to listen to it (except us, with Raquel busting dance moves to Ace of Bass). A South African taxi driver named Cecil got us to Mackay Airport, and Jetstar staff, as usual, were especially accommodating and sympathetic to our travelling gong show. Load up, check in, load down, check out. Always great to see us in the Jetstar Magazine (with a photo of Raquel and the lion from South Australia all those miles ago). Push and shove and somehow get all our stuff to the Pullman airport hotel – a 10 minute walk with overtired kids that took four years off our lives – and finally, halfway to Darwin, we can put this day to rest.

What We Ate:

Lunch: Surprisingly high quality chicken tenders and sweet potato fries for the kids, an avocado chicken melt for Mom and juicy Waygu beef burger with red pepper jam for Dad. Plus milkshakes, because it’s that kind of day.

Dinner: An assortment of snacks, ranging from brekkie juice and mandarins to croissants and yoghurt and bananas and tapioca chips and granola bars.


Where We Ate:

Lunch: The Grazing Goat in Mackay, which we will be forever grateful to for sneaking in our last order right before closing for the afternoon, as every other restaurant in downtown Mackay had already done so.

Dinner: In the chill lounge of Caneland Central where a kindly security guard turned on the lights so we’d have somewhere to park ourselves for a couple hours.

My Favourite Pictures Today

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Where We Slept:

Sleep? What is this thing called sleep? Not even Galileo wants a thing to do with, how do call it, sleep?   We crashed at the Pullman Airport Hotel at Brisbane Airport.  Nobody can remember sleeping.

We Learned:

Mom learned that when you cut your hair super short, you get an itchy back (sounds like a Confucian proverb). Also, the girl who cut her hair was 18 years old and probably never cut anyone hair before, but she only found that out halfway through the cut. She still looks great ; ) In the library, the kids learned about animals and braille and mazes and planet puzzles and colouring in and butterflies. We learned what it feels like to want to fill a day up with time, after having so little of it since we started our journey. We learned that not having a car when you need a car really limits your options. We learned that Gali can go a full day without sleeping, although you don’t really want to be hanging around him when he does.

Reflection of the Day

The Best Part:

The quality of Mackay Public Library downtown, which does the city a great service. Also, being able to download shows from Netflix, which does travelling parents a great service too.

The Worst Part:

Gali woke up covered in spots. We think it’s Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, picked up from the indoor play gym at Caneland Central. He’s had it before, so we’re not panicking. It looks horrendous and he’s in a grotty mood, but otherwise OK. The way he’s been flinging himself about, he’s covered in bruises and scratches, we hope he learns that he’s not invincible sooner than later.

  Today's Random Thing

  A Note from Mom and Dad

It’s been a day of family travel purgatory, a day you kind of don’t want to remember in the big scheme of everything, and yet probably, one of the days we’ll remember the most. I mean, Mom got a boy cut! Certainly it’s a lot easier for
adults to burn time – going to the movies would have been great (there was nothing on for kids, we checked). Reading a good book in a coffee shop, catching up on work, calling friends…with Gali able and capable and particularly fond of taking off at 0-40km/hr in 7 seconds, you can’t take your eyes off him for a second, as his bumps and bruises remind us. Long minutes, longer hours..we won’t ever forget Mackay (pronounced Mack-eye) or that empty mall.

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