Australia

At Brisbane airport

We had to wake up at 5:55am. Here the taxi, at 6:25am.

And there we are, at the last overseas airport.

After having made it through all security checks, it was time for breakfast. The kids had Subway for breakfast. Auke had chicken and bacon ranch, Dieuwe had Subway melt, and AnneRoos had roasted chicken. Don't know how they could eat that so early, I just had yoghurt, and Ida had a cherry Danish.

Last world trip dinner

Slightly before 2pm we left the Van Dorps:

As we had to drive to Queensland, we could undo the daylight saving time we had to incur in New South Wales, so that meant an additional hour of sleep. Very nice. We had our last dinner in Kangaroo Point:

No desserts for the boys, but the girls had a $10 and $12 desert.

And that was it! Tomorrow up at 5:55am and then to the airport where the plane should leave at 8:30am.

Staying with the Van Dorps

We've stayed with the Van Dorps during the entire communion, from Wednesday till now, Monday morning. Very kind of them, and it was very nice, especially having the Van Praags here as well. We'll be leaving early this afternoon to back to Brisbane, to catch our plane to Auckland. Expected arrival in Auckland is October 6, 14:40.

The kids enjoyed the stay as well, as the Van Dorps have a lot of land, animals and tools. Here AnneRoos.

And Auke on the quad bike.

Enjoying dinner outside. Weather has been nice, not so hot, and not cold enough that we had great trouble to adapt. Hopefully a good preparation for a still quite cold Auckland.

We had a good communion, especially when enabled to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. Here the church in Grafton.

Rev. Rainer also kindly invited us for lunch. He has left the manse, that had became too large for them, behind, and lives a bit outside Grafton, in Junction Hill.

With a very nice view over the river.

We met quite a number of people, and visited some of them. Here at Conny's mother. Her stepfather Keith has restored an Oldsmombile 1927 to a perfect condition.

It took him six years to complete it.

And we were given a ride!

And there we went. It's amazing how comfortable driving a car from almost 100 years ago is.

Grafton

The boys had to buy a Wii first in Brisbane as they are significantly cheaper over here (even at the same store, EB games). At 12.30pm we left Brisbane and drove to Grafton. Richard & Connie van Dorp had very kindly invited us to stay with them for the communion. We arrived shortly past 5pm.

The communion has started today with Mr. Rainer preaching on Deuteronomy 8:2: "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."

We expect Jake van Praag and his wife tonight as well.

Brisbane

Getting internet in Brisbane was somewhat problemetic to say the least. The hotel offered wireless, at a fee though. 15 AUD for a day. We took that for the first day, I would try to find a SIM card the next day. After some research I decided that Three mobile broadband would be best, so we drove to their shop. Unfortunately they didn't offer their services in Grafton, and I couldn't run the risk I would not have internet access in Grafton. They suggested Telstra.

That proved to be an ordeal I've not yet experienced. When I arrived at the Telstra shop an assistant took down my name and said it would take about 20 minutes. One hour later there was still one person in front of me...

As we had decided to go to Wet'n'Wild and it was getting late, I left. We arrived at Wet'n'Wild at about 13:15, but should indeed have gone earlier as the kids probably could have spend an entire day there. Interesting attractions, such as the Kamikaze where you sit on a floating mat, and do a free-fall... I did that one with AnneRoos, Ida didn't want to try this one.

Next day I went back to the Telstra shop, this time trying to be earlier. I was there at about 9:15am. The shop was already full! There were 3 other shops I passed, Three, Optus, and another one, and they were basically empty. What was Telstra doing that it attracted these customers? Like yesterday, the shop was full of elderly customers. That's perhaps their target market? They very painstakingly go over what these customers want or need, their 250MB or 260MB plan, and just take all the time that's necessary. Incredible painful to experience in my case, but perhaps it makes good business sense. I only wished I didn't need Telstra, but had no option.

Two customers in front of me the assistant informed me, should only take 10 to 15 minutes. Actually after 20 minutes I was finally served. I could make a quick selection, the basic prepaid mobile broadband was 30 AUD with a whopping 75MB (that's meant to be sarcasm). I got a month all-you-can-use mobile wireless in Israel for $55, and a 3 day all-you-can-use in Singapore for $18! But I believe the Three plan is also significantly better (2GB for $30 if I'm correct).

Next I needed to activate this SIM card. In Singapore you just plug it into your USB modem, and that's it. Here you need to call Telstra and get someone on the phone, who creates an account for you. They need your address and passport again. Again, because you already need to provide them when you buy the SIM card (you must do that in every country). But no country asks for it twice. They needed the correct ZIP code for the address (luckily I remembered the street name), but didn't know the ZIP code. Obviously they didn't have internet access at the other end, so they couldn't look that up themselves. The operator suggested I asked a shop assistant, which I did. I then had to remained on hold for a few minutes. After that the operator informed me it would take a few hours to activate my SIM card. What??

The last question was how I found the process. I didn't use any uncertain words to describe this ordeal.

But at least it's clear why Telstra was so busy: not only their target market, but also their procedures and systems are from a different age. At least I can now understand why the mention of Telstra causes certain reactions with people who have lived in Australia.

Anyway, finally done. I was back at the hotel at 10:40 or so and we had to leave, to drive to Grafton.

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