Thursday, 1 February 2007

Maroochydore is a small seaside town located about an hour, by road, north of Brisbane. South-east Queensland is a holiday mecca for residents of Europe and other Australian states. Around me as I type are a family of French women and girls, a woman from Germany, and a young Japanese couple. Folks come from everywhere to enjoy modern amenities along with beautiful beaches.

The flight up was uneventful, and took an hour and fifteen minutes. Naturally I flew Virgin Blue. Having downed a kebab and a double-shot flat-white in the terminal, I watched as the 737-800 taxied into position ready for boarding.

On the ground, the airport outside the lounges looks highly functional. But when you're in the air, everything looks different. From Terminal Two at Sydney Airport, we taxied out to the main runway, crossed the roadway, and roared into the air. Immediately, the aeroplane banked sharply, giving a prime view of the oil terminal located in the suburb of Kurnell, beside Botany Bay.

Once you're flying at between 38 and 40 thousand feet, the functional gives way to the sublime, and everything looks clean and clear. Soaring through the empyrean realm, through clouds, above clouds, between layers of clouds that stretch into the hazy distance, you can celebrate, as I did, by purchasing a can of beer ($5).

Before boarding I chatted with another passenger as we stood in line waiting to drop off our luggage. I'd say he was about 60 years old. He had a scar in the corner of his mouth, close-cropped hair, and said he came from Woomera. To show me where that is, following my question, he stretched his index finger and thumb apart while asking: "Do you know where Port Lincoln is?" The space between his fingers was evidently intended to be superimposed onto a map of South Australia. "About 200 kilometers north," he said.

He sat two rows behind me on the flight, so we were served by the stewardess at approximately the same time. I asked her what colour her uniform was. "Tan?" "No, beige. Tan would be more like..." and she looked around the cabin clearly searching for a person wearing tan. Nobody available.

I chose to drink VB because the alternative (Crown Lager) was too 'high-class' for my mood. I'm flying on a ticket that cost me under three hundred dollars, after all. But no sooner had I finished drinking my beer than we commenced our descent to the Sunshine Coast. In the picture below you can see the Maroochy River entering the frame on the right-hand side. The town itself is arrayed along the river, back into the hinterlands. Mile after mile of degraded sugarcane stretches out on all sides. The beaches are never-ending. The air that greeted me as I descended the stairs onto the tarmac was warm and moist. I've arrived.


Meredith said...

Have a lovely holiday! I used to holiday in Noosa, in a previous wealthier life, and we'd fly to Maroochy as we called it. Once the registrar at my daughter's school said to me "Noosa, that's God's own country", and although I'm not religious I know what she meant.

Frankly Done said...

Please note: comments made in haste are closer than they appear in the rear vision mirror.