Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From floods to floods!!!

Well, its still raining!!!

Its now Monday morning and me and Donna are getting up and ready to leave our little place by the sea. I sat up last night searching the internet and watching the news on TV trying to ascertain whether the roads would be open for us to travel any further north or even get back down south to Brisbane. I didn’t really need to though as outside was one of the fiercest bouts of rain I have ever seen or heard. I went up to bed at around midnight and found the edges of my sheets and mattress to be damp, where the rain was somehow coming into the bedroom. I was too tired to do anything else than move over a bit to avoid the damp spots though.

I woke constantly through the night as the wind and rain got harder and harder. I love mother nature and all her force, but this is getting a bit mad!!

This morning I got out of my bed and felt the mattress on the side that I had avoided – It was sodden with water. Donna woke and her mattress and sheets too, were very damp where the rain had got in.

I sat downstairs and began the process of trying to get us out of here. Whilst waiting in a queue to speak to Greyhound buses, I checked out the roads and weather websites again, and the situation is worse than ever. More rain is expected and more road closures. I finally got through to Greyhound on Skype and had a nice chat with the operator who explained there was not a chance of heading north by road, until the rain stops. Brisbane was possible, but buses were being booked up quickly, so I got me and Donna onto a bus out of here tomorrow and then gave Lisa and Andrea a call to update them on the information. At the same time as all this I was on Facebook, chatting to Mark, from the bus, as he is in Airlie Beach, where we are supposed to be heading in a few days. He assured me that the place was running fine, with calm seas and that our boat trip should probably go ahead without any problems! All we have to do now is get there!!

We are now starting to pack out kit and will grab a taxi later to get us to Noosa Nomads, where we are staying tonight.

Well it was interesting when we left our accommodation here..... Firstly we didn’t have to pay because of the rain we had wetting our beds. Then as we drove past the bus stop in the taxi, we saw a landslide from last night had taken a roughly 5metre deep chunk of land away from where we should have got off the bus last night!

We made it to Nomads without any problems – apart from the local taxi driver not knowing where it was!! Donna and myself settled into room 20, just down from where Lisa and Andrea are in their room. It is a pretty nice comfortable place with friendly people and we quickly settled in. The afternoon was spent avoiding the rain and watching 127 hours on the net-books Me and Donna watched it on my net-book, while Lisa and Andrea watched it on theirs. Both started simultaneously so that we could enjoy the movie together.

I had a walk around town later to get a bit of time on my own and then in the evening we all had a couple of beers in the Hostel bar. Everyone except Andrea went down to the local Irish bar too, but it was just too busy and I was feeling a bit shit, so I spent a while chatting with Andrea about all the shit that is going on, before heading to bed around midnight. It had been a long day with little respite from the rain and we all needed a good night sleep.

In the morning we got up and were ready to leave for our booked 1240 bus down to Brisbane, but as were booking out Andrea and Lisa were informed that the rain had got heavier and the roads were worse than yesterday -The bus to Brisbane had been cancelled. Andrea asked if we could work for food, just for a joke, but the Hostel manager agreed that if we did a bit of work, we could stay for free!! We had nowhere else to go and nothing else to do as it was still pissing down, so we grabbed a broom and a shopping trolley full of sheets and pillow cases and then spent the next 2 hours going through the rooms, sweeping the floors, emptying the bins and changing sheets from the beds that people had left. It wasn’t that much fun, but kept us amused till after lunchtime at least.

In the afternoon , between showers, me and Donna did a bit of shopping for dinner and had a look around the shops – We did get caught in yet another big rainstorm and had to hide under cover for about half an hour. Andrea and Lisa were happy when we got back with their salt and vinegar crisps, plus I had bought each of them a kinder egg and a cadburys crème egg as a surprise! I think they both enjoyed them, apart from when Andreas crème egg stuck to her trousers when she sat on it! The rest of the afternoon was spent watching more movies on the laptop.

One of our room-mates is also trying to get down to Brisbane tomorrow, so we are wondering whether to travel with him in his car – but the roads look just too risky at the moment and we don’t honestly think we will make it, so we will probably stay here unless there are drastic changes.

After spending the afternoon watching films, me and Andrea had a bit of toast for dinner and watched the devastation on the TV news, before she headed back to the room to write her journal and I rang home to make sure everyone knows we are still alive! I had a good chat with my mum and dad and then before bed I had a couple of quiet beers in the bar. It had been yet another long and tiring day – we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but for now the rain has stopped and we hope we are reaching the end of the nightmare. Its been a freaky few days and unless you had been here you really couldn’t try and imagine the rain that we have had -It has been just incredible and unbelievable – Some parts had 25cm or rain in 2 hours!! It is just mad!! Hopefully we will get some good news tomorrow with reference to buses and flights, but we are not crossing our fingers!!

This morning we had some good news – The Bruce Highway, the main road to Brisbane was finally re-open, but Greyhound buses are still not running. Luckily for us, there is a Swedish guy in our room called Tim, who has a car and is heading south today. He has offered us a lift, so we have accepted and after packing the car and thanking the staff in the Hostel, we left Noosa about 10.30am and headed south towards Brisbane. We didn’t really know what to expect or even if we would make it to Brisbane, but apart from a few bits of road that have obviously been under water recently, it was a pretty easy drive to the City. In the city however, it was a bit different. We saw lots of large pools of water in the roads, a few roads are closed and there are police on most junctions directing people. Our new mate Tim, managed to get us to the Hostel pretty easily and after booking into our new room, me Lisa and Andrea went to the local supermarket to get in some food for dinner. The supermarket had a strange atmosphere and we noticed that the fruit and veg stalls were virtually empty, as were the bakery and most of the milk had gone too.

We got some soup and noodles for dinner, plus some food for tomorrow and then headed back to the hostel. It was time to sort out our next few days – Luckily I managed to change my boat trip booking for next week and after chatting with Lisa and Andrea we booked flights from here in Brisbane to Proserpine airport, in the Whitsundays for next Sunday. Donna is unfortunately going the other way – She has a flight home to the UK early next week and is heading back to Melbourne for that. We also got ourselves some accommodation sorted.

Andrea and myself then decided to take a walk around Brisbane to take in the sight of a city in flood. We are by no means going out to enjoy it, but to witness the devastation for ourselves and then we can tell everyone what it was like.

We walked to and then along the river for about an hour. It was a strange experience as the road we walked down would usually be a 3 lane highway through a busy city, but today it was full of people wandering along, looking at and taking photos of the river, the bridges and the surrounding floods. Everywhere you looked you could see trees, lamp-posts and buildings covered in flood-water In the river, there were lots pontoons and debris floating past where they had been ripped from their normal positions. We saw one that still had a post attached as it crashed into a bridge and was ripped apart. We also saw a lone canoe sitting next to a flooded road. There was also a floating restaurant that was completely flooded and had smashed windows from being hit by debris. Some of the restaurants furnishings had floated outside, including a full bottle of Moet champagne that was just out of reach in the river!! If only it was a little closer!!

After a while we headed back to the hostel and watched even more of the floods on telly, before a film was put on and we relaxed for the night, hoping that the floods didnt mean the electricity would be turned off during the night!

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