Waking this morning with the sound of the rain on the roof of my van….. Put me into a mood to spend the day relaxing and taking some time to catch up.Nothing in the cupboards tempted my taste buds and so here I am at the “Bulli” cafe at Marcoola Beach, just a few kilometres up the road from Maroochydore.
This little backwater block of shops is not a place you would normally stumble on as you make your way along the David Low Way towards Noosa. To get here you will need to turn off just after the northern end of the Sunshine Coast runway and head towards the beach. Turn in by the shops and you will find it secluded but busy at this time on a Saturday morning.
I was welcomed with a friendly greeting and shown the choices from the menu, as well as offerings from the specials board. I decided on the baguette, with avocado, cheese, tomato and bacon. To this I added an orange juice and a short black coffee. Total price $15.50.
Faced with a choice of inside and alfresco dining, I opted for a table just outside the door, but far enough under the awning to get protection from the drizzling rain. The outlook gives the impression of a little beach town, almost left behind from the maddening world, with a little park and pagoda across the un-curbed street and back-dropped by low sand dunes shielding it from the coastal breezes.
I found myself looking at a fellow patron, a couple of tables over, who looked extremely familiar. Try as I might, I could not get the brain cells to dredge up the memory of who he was, or how I knew him. Such a frustration… so much for relaxing the mind.
The orange juice arrived first, followed closely by the short black. With the number of people here, I had expected a bit of a wait but, within a very short time, the baguette arrived, nicely presented, and I tucked in.
Now baguettes are not a staple of my diet….. I don’t eat a lot of bread… but this one was definitely good. The bacon, not so crispy that it shattered (just as I like it) but cooked enough to satisfy most tastes. The coffee was strong, (just as it should be), and there was a refill offered not long after I had drained it. The orange juice was…. well there isn’t a lot that you can say about orange juice… it is what it is, but in this case it was cold and refreshing.
As I sit here writing this at the cafe table, the rain is starting to fall more heavily meaning that the walk back to my truck will be wet. This is, of course a sign that I should order another coffee and wait it out.
The group with the “guy” that has cause me so much frustration got up to go and I stopped him to ask…..Alas, He didn’t know me.. came from Brisbane and had a brother in North Queensland who looked just like him but none of this gave me that lightbulb moment. We parted company with me none the wiser.
Across the street, a family has become stranded in the pagoda as the rain increases intensity. Although it is not a downpour, it is enough to make even a short dash across the street uncomfortable.
This is November on the Coast, but today is definitely a jeans sort of day. It is not cold, but the rain kind of makes you feel that you need just a bit more cosy-ness in your day. Just the right sort of weather for brunching at Bulli in Marcoola
Summer seems to have come early on the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland. Hot sticky nights that are normally the preserve of January and February have begun to test the powers of getting a good night’s sleep.
Now this might sound like a good old whinge, but as I sit here enjoying a coffee in my “today” office at Banjo’s Bakery and Cafe on the Sunshine Plaza at Maroochydore, I find have discovered a tiny micro climate where the breeze is sweeping along the banks of Cormeal Creek. How pleasant is this welcome break from the oppressive heat I have so recently stepped away from?
The view today, is somewhat less inspiring due to the development of the Plaza building on the opposite side of the creek, but in the fullness of time this will transform into a relaxing and tranquil space.
Banjo’s is one of my favourite coffee spots in the Plaza. I am particularly fond of their Danish, be it the apricot or apple version, and it is the latter that is the pick for today.
After a very torrid week at my other job, I am taking a bit of me time to reflect on places where I have recently been and work through the photo’s that I took along the way. The travelling, it seems, is the easy part of this travel writing business. It is the editing and writing that take up the time. Still I find playing with words a satisfying pass-time, made all the better by a good latte.
Some years ago I started taking photos of letterboxes that I came across along my travels. The ingenuity that goes with the crafting of some of these is astounding, and this is especially the case the deeper into the bush one travels. On a recent trip to Rockhampton, I drove along one stretch of road and found several examples, each seeming to be trying to outdo it’s neighbour for uniquisity.
GMail…..If you are handy with a chainsaw you can whip one of these up in a few minutes. Good use of an old dead stump at the gate.
Cream Anyone? There will be some who can remember the old cream can. Some even who have dragged them onto the back of a truck before carting them off to the milk factory. This one has weathered the years well and is still doing stirling service in its new role as a mail box
Shades of D’Arth Vader……. Turned on its head, this “passed its use by date” gas bottle could be a reminder of Ned Kelly from the past or maybe D’Arth Vader from the future
This Hollow Log has found a new life set up on a tree fork and keeping the weather off the few letters that get delivered in this day of electronics. Maybe it also doubles as a shelter for a wayward possum on a cold night.
44 Gallon drums were common place on rural properties back in the day. They still can be found storing liquid and, with the tops cut off, make an excellent storage bin or, like this one, a mail box.
Not sure obout this one…. Cooked the motor, perhaps
A bit more traditional, but liked the attention to detail with the tin coping around the eaves
All of these boxes were scattered along one short stretch of country road I travelled as I headed out to Seventeen Seventy and are probably the highest density of odd-ball mail boxes I have come across. There are others out there that are weird and whacky which I will bring to you as I see them.
If you enjoy this post please feel free to share it with your friends and if you would like to leave a comment I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you for taking the time to drop by……….
One of the oldest places you’ll find in Sydney is The Rocks, situated almost beneath the Sydney harbour. It is a warren of streets and alleys that border the old warehouses near Circular Key. While much of it has been modernised there is still an old world charm about the place and it is easy to imagine the folks of early Sydney going about their daily business.
I decided to spend some time looking around and my first stop was in the park by the ferry terminal. Here crowds wandered along, many checking out the huge cruise ship that was tied up at the terminal. Signs alluded to an afternoon departure and many of the crowd towed wheeled suitcases as they made their way to the customs checkpoint.
I spotted an elderly gent sitting doing a crosword. The lines of age told a story of character but I didn’t realise when I took the photo that this was Mr Graham Courtney. I discovered, after talking with another busker, that Mr Courtney could be found doing gigs almost every day along the promenade and had been for years. The fact that he is an octogenarian seemed to slow him down not a bit.
Along the concourse folk took a few moments to stand and watch the buskers who entertained for whatever donations they were able to encourage from the pockets of the punters. I was intrigued with a suitcase that was sitting unattended on the sidewalk. Not a suspicious item in an obvious way but intriguing because it was set up as a makeshift drum. A young lady sitting nearby told me that her boyfriend was the owner and sure enough a young chap approached and began to tune up his guitar ready for a new set.
When I asked his girlfriend, Carolin, if he was any good, she replied that he had an unusual style but that, yes, in her opinion, he was very good. I decided to stay and asked if I could take some photos for my blog. Unfortunately, I only had a few spare coin in my wallet as I don’t tend to carry cash at all, but I emptied them out for the privilege of taking a photo.
We started to talk about the way people disrespect the buskers on the street by taking a photo on their ever handy phone camera without ever bothering to contribute to the entertainment being given by the busker. To me, this is the height of rudeness. These people, would think nothing of spending eighty or more dollars to go to a gig by a famous band, when the gig is right there in front of them.
As it turned out, Jack Dawson was incredibly good. His style was different but the sound addictive. Sitting, as he was, on the old suitcase, thumping out percussion in time to the rhythm of the guitar he soon drew quite a crowd. Jack does a lot of original songs and his CD was available for purchase as well as information to purchase on line.
From here I wandered further along the concourse and came across another crowd of people taking in yet another display of street talent. This time it was Emma Mohsen, a contortionist with a bit of humour. I first saw her in a very compromised position with Col from London who was lifting her up while she held her legs firmly wrapped around behind her neck
For her next trick, she called on Sam from Sydney to assist. She brought out a narrow frame with a very small glass box at the top. She explained that she intended to fold her body inside and shut the door. After some instructions to her volunteer crew she climbed on the back of Sam and proceeded to do exactly what she had said she would.
In no time she was firmly locked inside the glass structure still exhorting all and sundry to add to her donation box.
Moving on passed the wharf I came to the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This icon of Sydney was opened way back in 1932 and is the sixth longest arch bridge in the world. At its highest point it is 134 metres and until as late as 2012 was the widest long-spanning bridge in the world.
This is a place where tourist from all corners of the world stop to take a memory of their time in Sydney. Ehsan and Rashid from Iran were two such people and I stopped to chat a moment and take a photo on their own camera so that they could both be in it together.
One of the things about travelling is that one can rarely get a photo of everyone in the party without resorting to the dreaded selfie. Offering to take the photo is a great way to strike up a conversation and get to know more about the fellow travellers we share this world with.
From From here the other icon that sits beside Sydney Cove, The Sydney Opera House can be seen across the water. The angle here gives one a good view of the famous sails that make up its profile
The Rocks is as old as Sydney itself, established at the time of the first European settlement. Prior to this was Tallawoladah and the home of the Cadigal people. From the outset of European influence it gained a reputation as a slum and was frequented by convicts and prostitutes pretty much until the 1870’s
The buildings were made of Sandstone and that influence is still apparent to this day. The style of architecture was fairly drab. Tall straight and as featureless as a row of factories, they dominated the narrow alleys that criss-crossed the town.
Today, the Rocks has been reinvented as a tourist mecca with the obligatory market stalls that can be found both inside the sandstone buildings as well as under marques along the narrow streets. Selling all the usual fare that markets the world over do along with a share of Australiana to provide the tourists with a suitable memento of there journeys
And so my wanderings through the tourist mecca of Sydney came to an end and I attempted to find a bus that would take me to Glebe where I was to meet up with a friend. Not such an easy task and I soon decided that I would be far quicker to catch an Uber Car which, as has been my experience so far arrived in but a couple of minutes and I was soon on my way. Jack, my driver, had a great chat as we crossed the few kilometres to my destination. Still new to the job, he had a good knowledge of the city and with his pleasant personality I am sure he will do well in the job. The car was immaculate and at the end of the ride, Jack took some time to help me find the best place to set down, seeing I was a little unsure of my bearings. Thank you Jack..
It has been more than a year since I took any serious time off work. To remedy this most serious of situations, I have taken some weeks off during which I intend to spend some time in Sydney, the Philippines and hopefully some other Asian countries as well.
The journey for me starts by heading to Sydney where I spent a week with my son, Sean, who lives in the Eastern Bays area. After spending some time tossing up whether to drive to Sydney or fly, I finally decided that I would take advantage of the extra time a flight would give me and went on line to book a seat.
The cheapest fare I could find was with Webjet and so I commenced the process of securing a ticket. Now here is where things began to become a little unstuck. Each time I got to the point of making payment, the screen would freeze and I would have to start again from scratch. After the third attempt, I resorted to calling a consultant. He was happy to help and finally put through the transaction around $30 more than the online price. I asked why the difference and he explained that the fare I had online would have been sold out, and this was the next cheapest.
I pondered that for a while and thought I’d try again. Sure enough, my cheap fare came up. I called my agent back and after some reluctance, he agreed that I should be refunded the difference. The catch…… They would credit my account for my next flight. Really!!! Why would I use Webjet again? Again with reluctance, they agreed to refund the balance to my account. So much for always getting the cheapest price when you use Webjet……
So much for my rant.
The day finally arrived when I would begin my next adventure. After a late night packing the last of my gear, I snatched a few hours sleep and woke to track down a ride to the airport. This problem was solved with UBER. I downloaded the app and within ten minutes I was on my way.
Although it is an international airport, the Sunshine Coast Airport is small enough that it is not necessary to get there too much before departure but I planned on taking time for a coffee before the trip. Not such a good idea as, as in all airports the cost of coffee was a little on the high side. Still, it was wet and strong and I used it to wash down an omelette.
I arrived at Sydney domestic after the short hour and thirty flight and caught the bus over to International to meet up with Sean who works there. The rest of my day was spent wandering the Airport which is always a fascinating place to fill in time.