Day 8: Saturday July 27th 2019
I wake at about 5am and am up by 6am. After a shower I venture out of the room – Mr Thomas is already up, has had breakfast and is doing his laundry.
The centre has a security guard who wanders the ground during the night. I had asked him to let me know if any of our group are out of their rooms. There was no knock at my door so it seems good news.
The group have to be in for breakfast by 10am, which gives them time for a lie in after the travelling which has left many of the group fatigued.
I am down for breakfast by 7:30am. I check that there were no problems at night – “None at all, Sir!” Good news.
The hotel is a fantastic place to be. Located on a lagoon which has a variety of water based activities such as kayaking, sailing and canoeing available.
The rooms are very spacious and the vegetation around the rooms is a variety of tropical plants and trees that obviously form the home to a variety of birds that are busy making their early morning call.
Breakfast is even better than previous with an even wider selection available to choose from – have a guess what I choose – yes, fruit and yoghurt followed by ham, cheese and onion omelette. It doesn’t disappoint. Stomachs full, we check on those who have been feeling unwell and the unlucky ones who have picked up injuries; Casey’s ankle has significantly improved, and Lewis and Nia are beginning to feel better. Miss Morgans’ leg bruises are receding so there’s no need to do anything with any of them.
The buses are to take us into Brisbane at 11am and we have arranged a 10:45am meet. 5 lads are late – 4 claim they got lost, quite believable as the complex is spread over a large area, while Ceiron Williams has had a traumatic experience. He is late because a “black chicken” stood in his path, forcing him to find another route to escape its deadly peck. A lucky escape for him from the infamous, deadly Australian black chicken (an Ibis). However, no sympathy from us, you have to plan for such things and ensure you are where you are meant to be when you are meant to be there. They will need to spend some time with me when we arrive in Brisbane.
Our plan for the day is to travel to Mount Coot-tha that overlooks the city and has panoramic views across the coastal plain.
The journey back to Brisbane takes over 2 hours due to the heavy traffic. From my experience, traffic jams are a rarity in South Africa and Australia.
Some of the party are a little restless and having not spent a lot of time on ‘retail therapy’ were keen to get to the shops. “Why do we have to spend 2 and a half hours driving just to get a view of a city from on top of a hill?” Natalie Edwards moaned, she didn’t seem to realise that the majority of the journey was what we had to make anyway and it was only an additional 10 minutes from Brisbane up to the summit of Mt Coot-tha.
The views of the city are impressive – a lot better than viewing Swansea from on top of Kilvey Hill! Anyway, I thought it was worth it – I’m not sure that Natalie would agree.
Viewing and photos done, we transfer to the city centre by 2:15pm and arrange to reassemble by 5:15pm giving 3 hours for shopping and lunch. We remind the students that we are located in George Street next to the Casino and if they get lost to ask for directions back to there. Tom Barrington assures us that he will remember the location easily, as he looks intently at the casino…should I be worried?!
We set up a staff base where there will always be a member of staff should students have an issue. The five who were late for the bus spend half an hour ‘in detention’. Ceiron Williams 0, Australian black chicken 1.
5:15pm comes around and all are present and correct. Stories abound of instances that had taken place while they were out and about. Birthday boy Sam Wells had caused an international incident in McDonalds. He was throwing chips in the air and attempting to catch them in his mouth – a skill that clearly needs to be practiced in life. He threw one chip too high, it hit the fan and was deflected, hitting an Asian diner sitting opposite. He was not impressed and came over accusing Sam of being a racist! The pink unicorn birthday t-shirt he donned at the time clearly didn’t help.
Natalie Edwards, having recovered from the trauma of having to go up Mt Coot-tha was sitting down to lunch uncertain about what she was eating. Naturally, our resident culinary expert Dr Michael Lewis, Doctorate of Food and Nutrition, springs to mind, and she sends him an inquisitive text, “Will I get fat if I eat the fat off the bacon?” Dr Lewis is rather bemused – is this a wind up? Is he to be the butt of the joke? Regardless, he replies, “No, only if you eat too much of it.” Much to the surprise of Dr Lewis, Natalie graciously replies, “Class. Thanks.” The wonders of the teenage mind.
There was a group of young lads from Brisbane with foam pool noodles. They were asking people to pay them to fight each other. Kian Webb’s ‘mates’ offered them $15 if they all battered ‘Webby.’ Very kindly, they oblige. Poor old Kian!
Mr Lewis purchases SIM cards for us to use our phones – as a result if you wish to contact me in an emergency my number is +61 403 308 565.
The buses transfer us to the Suncorp Stadium. We enter the stadium and have a block of seats behind the posts. The stadium is impressive and has a capacity of 80,000. They estimate that there will be a crowd of 28,000. It’s a big difference to Cardiff on match day. During the afternoon we’d hardly seen anyone wandering around in the city centre wearing an Australian shirt and there was no evidence of groups of people gathering together for a drink prior to kick off.
When we sit down there is a warm up match taking place between Brisbane State High School and St. Josephs Nudgee College – Nudgee win easily, but our impression is that the ‘curtain raiser’ is only on in an attempt to swell the crowd. In fact the pupils from Noosa fill a whole block of approximately 1,000 and are an impressive site wearing their blazers, shirt, tie and caps.
The game kicks off at 7:45pm (local time), 10:45am in the UK. Both teams attempt to play a running game but mistakes abound and there are nearly 40 knock ons. At half time Australia lead 10-3 by virtue of a well-constructed try and stretch that lead by 6 points in the second half. Argentina eventually cross for a score 5 minutes from time to set up a nervy finish for the hosts but they hold on comfortably.
At full time the locals go home happy, but so do we as Welsh fans. With Australia in our World Cup group there was nothing on show that caused consternation. Personally, it would be a major surprise if Wales did not qualify for the quarter finals as group winners.
We make our way back to the coaches and travel back to the hotel. We are back by 11:30pm and head straight to our rooms. Tomorrow it’s the Bli Bli aqua park.
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