Thursday, July 17, 2008

Australia Day 3: A Rainy Day at the Fair

July 5 was the first day David attempted to golf. He went down to the pro shop in our hotel about an hour before they even opened because he was so excited. But it was raining and there would be no golf on Saturday! Meanwhile, I learned that the hotel was actually running a shuttle to the marathon start area, which alleviated some of my nerves about the following morning. But the rain got my nerves going right back up again... 26.2 miles in the rain would NOT be fun!

I love being somewhere where they speak English! Even if it is the Queen's English. The whole "I know this language!" thing really made our adventures in public transit on the journey to pick up our marathon packets much easier!
As I mentioned before, our hotel ran a shuttle to Surfer's Paradise- there were 3 stops: Pacific Fair, Jupiter's Casino & Holiday Inn Surfer's Paradise. None of those stops were anywhere near where we needed to go for our marathon packets. The shuttle driver suggested that we get off his bus at the 2nd stop and get on a city bus bound for Southport. The bus driver told us we could get on his bus, but that he wouldn't take us all the way to Southport and we'd have to change buses. So that's what we did. Did I mention how darn friendly everyone in Australia is? This sweet looking little old lady got on the 2nd bus a stop or two after us. She was wearing a big leopard print coat and some hot pink flowered pants. I loved her. How could anyone not love little old ladies? David showed her the address of the place where we were going and she said we should get off a the same stop as her, but that she didn't know where we should go after that, as the roads were under construction and she really just went to Southport for the library. David pointed at me and said, "Oh, she'll go with you to the library. She loves the library!" Some other nice lady got on the bus and David got up so she could sit down. She talked to me for the rest of the bus ride telling me how people don't get up anymore, what her family was doing in Gold Coast (theme parks), how preschoolers should learn manners at school, and the weather (rain, rain, rain). The man in front of me, Clive, had his marathon paperwork out, so I asked him if we could follow him out to the expo. This was his 5th Gold Coast Marathon and he said this was the first time there had been chance of anything but sunshine. Go figure. He gave us some general directions once we got off the bus...and good thing, too, because Clive was a very fast walker.
Oh, and that sweet and fashionable little old lady? Right when we got off the bus, she asked if I was going to go to the library with her or if she should just tell me how to get there so we could go after taking care of our marathon business. Too bad we were trying to follow Clive to the expo, because I bet it would've made that lady's day if we would've walked with her to the library!
We tried to tail Clive through Australia Fair (and by this time, I was able to deduce that "Fair" is actually "mall" and "mall" is actually "park"), across the street and could relax the pace a little once we started to see the expo signs and marathon tents. We went in and picked up our race numbers. Australians are very much into conservation (that's why there was a little tip sheet on how to save water on the mirror at the hotel, and why in Sydney the restaurants were heated with those tall outdoor space heaters instead of actual heat) and so of course they didn't give the stuff in plastic bags. Our marathon bags are almost like the "green" grocery bags, so it's one more thing I do not need but will never throw away. We got a couple of magazines, a hat, and a ticket for a free city bus ride after the marathon. We spent some time looking around the (not very many) booths at the Expo and I bought my new favorite running accessory... it's called a SpiBelt and it's just what I had been looking for! You wear it around your waist like a fanny pack, but it's tiny...but it stretches to hold your ID (very important around here!), keys (I usually leave my car unlocked anyway), gel (mine always makes my pocket too full or falls out), coins, etc. Love it! The salesman told us that the SpiBelt came all the way from America, just like us (gee, I wonder what gave us away). So, now I've gone all the way to Australia to get a belt from Texas...and all the way to Italy to get a guy from Kentucky.

We went to the mall and ate a nutritious pre-marathon lunch at the food court. David had Chinese buffet, I had a chicken pesto crepe and a Nutella crepe. We could've gone to the carbo-load marathon luncheon, but why carbo-load when you can eat Nutella? Yum.
We did a little shopping at the Fair too, we decided to buy long sleeves for the marathon. I bought a turtleneck at K-mart, a wool coat at "Miller's" and we bought some fruit at a produce shop. We should've gone to Woolies (that's Australian for Woolworth's- grocery store) and bought some other snacks too, but we didn't.
We took the Southport bus back to Surfer's Paradise, where we checked out the waves, souvenir shops, restaurants, and what would be part of the marathon route.

Yep, we got to run along the beach for much of the marathon! Even though Okinawa is an island and there are lots of beaches and lots of ocean around here, the Okinawa marathon only has a really short glimpse of the ocean, so I looked at this as a really special treat!

This is David and the Gold Coast Skyline. It's actually just David and a really big picture of the Gold Coast Skyline but with the grey skies, we figured this would be as good as it gets! The building with the long stick thing sticking out of it is the Q1, the world's (or maybe just Australia's, I can't remember) tallest residential building.
We found our way to the Holiday Inn Surfer's Paradise and sat there until our shuttle bus returned to take us back to Royal Pines. We got our shirts, shoes and marathon & post-marathon gear all ready once we got back.

We ate dinner at Kalinda, the seafood buffet in our hotel. It was good, but not as great as it was cracked up to be (the man waiting with us said he and his wife have been going there once a year for 16 years). The best part was that they grilled steak and shrimp to order. We (mostly David) had to try really hard not to say "Throw another shrimp on the barbie!" Especially because Australians don't call them shrimp, they call them prawns. After dinner & plenty of water, it was straight to bed with quadruple alarms set for the morning!

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