An old friend

Here we are again at the beginning of 2016 staying at an old friend. It’s a place of many memories, from our wedding night fourteen years ago, through to a work conference, pregnancy with Alex and a tenth anniversary. The Novotel Brighton Beach has seen changes in that time, with sad farewells to the waterslide and Balinese pool and waterfall, to old Playstations in the rooms. But it still has the fantastic views of Botany Bay, of the airport that pokes out into the waters of the bay busy with activity against a backdrop of Sydney city.

It’s so nice to lie back and relax, a bottle of spiced ginger beer (non-alcoholic, of course) watching the plans fly people off on adventures. Tomorrow we’ll join them. Appropriately enough my 21st year old international travel will begin with a return to my very first international destination: Singapore.

I need the rest. It’s been so busy lately, with juggling work, looking after a seven year old on school holidays and preparing for this trip. Forget packing clothes and other items, it’s digital packing that’s the real hassle these days.

We are each taking a tablet. If it were just my Android tablet it would be easy, it connects to a lot of stuff. But the other two have iPads and we are not an Apple house. Apples don’t like loading from other devices. Then there’s making sure everything is backed up and charged. It’s not something that can be hurried and stuffed into a suitcase at the last minute.

So I’m glad of this pause before we jump on board our eight hour flight to Singapore.

We finished up in the house around midday, packed the car and set out to take Kita to his boarding kennel, after which it was a short drive to Brighton Le Sands. Lunch in Brighton these days seems to inevitably end up at the Bay Vista dessert cafe. Toasties, pancakes and ice cream, we were seriously full when we emerged.

I left B and Alex at the hotel after checking in and drove the car back home. A change was replacing the hazy heat and humdity with threatening grey storm clouds and gusty winds. I was glad not to be flying immediately.

It took me two trains and two buses to return to the hotel, sweaty and exhausted. Alex demanded a swim and the two of us headed downstairs. No waterslide now, hasn’t been one for years, but the water was warm and the pool big. I can live in hope that a few laps burnt off lunch’s excesses!

The segmented ziggurat of the hotel building loomed impressively over the pool. Pool furniture migrated across the deck in the strong winds and we watched turboprops shake with turbulence as they rose overhead.

I was eager to take a stroll along the beach, but when we got there Alex was driven back by the sting of the windblown sand grains. I loved the feeling of the sand between my toes and the swoosh of the waves against the beach.

We found a small dead stingray washed up on the beach, sand grains dancing over its skin.

As I watched the aircraft taking off and landing I realised that I didn’t quite feel the same way about them any more. It’s like that sense of shared adventure has been partly lost and replaced by an anxiety of the ride and an anxiousness to reach the destination without delay. I hope that tomorrow’s ride will be a good one.

B and Alex returned to the main street walking back alongside the rode, while I kept to the beach, enjoying the evening lights and the touch of sand. Still full from lunch, we couldn’t finish the dinner of a fisherman’s basket.

At the nearby Coles supermarket I discovered a clearance sale of the spiced Christmas ginger beer softdrink and bought a pack. After enjoying a relaxing spa in our upgraded room I sat outside and watched the parade of ant lights below. Cars and aircraft, billboards and buildings, people strolling under streetlights and along the beach.

I only wish I had longer here. It’s nice to be back, old friend.

I’m going to try to do more live updates on this trip. So take a look at Instagram and Tumblr, along with Whereis allrite@.

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