After departing Australia Zoo and the cramped holiday parks near it, I head to the coast. I need to smell the sea air to clear my head a bit. Today is Sunday and I decide to drive over to the town of Caloundra. It’s only about a half-hour away – right on the shores of the Sunshine Coast – and, though I’d hoped to get further north, I’ve picked up a literal library of brochures and pamphlets along the road and I’ve read that they have a Sunday Market.
As I pack up Van Morrison, I find that Van’s chiller box isn’t working at all. I took a chance last night and ate the salmon I’d bought as I headed out of Brisbane. Honestly, when you spend $100 on food, it’s difficult to throw half of it away. Van and I drive the thirty-minutes to Caloundra. I’m not exactly sure of the specific location but, as it turns out, if you just keep driving straight, you run into it! After circling for a while in search of a parking space, I snag one just a few blocks away and walk over to streets filled with dozens of booths selling jewelry, healing oils, clothing, crafts and food items. There are also a few street-musicians providing music to fill the air with guitars and folk-songs. I’m hungry and have a choice of treats from a United Nations-like food area. From Turkish, to Vietnamese, to pizza, to juices, to spiral-cut potatoes fried up and put on a stick, and more. I buy some Tibetan fried and steamed dumplings, grab a stool which I’m warned is not very sturdy and could fall over at any moment (I’ve been feeling the same way lately), and enjoy my dumplings while chatting with a Bert and Madelyn (?), Marianne (?), crap, I’m bad with names. Bert’s just come back from back surgery and Mrs. Bert has worked her way back from breast cancer so, though they used to come to the Caloundra Market regularly, this is the first they’ve been in quite a long time. I’m honored to share just a bit of their return with them.
After enjoying some time at the market, I walk back to meet Van Morrison and find a place to stay. The streets are much emptier than when I arrived and they look very different without all of the cars which lined the streets on my arrival. Also missing from that line of cars is Van Morrison. Panic sets in as I wander around seeing blue signs about 2P parking and, though I have no idea what that means, I fear it might mean that you must pay for your parking (but it’s Sunday) and Van has been towed. It’s bad enough when your car gets towed but, when your life is inside, well, that’s a whole other story.
After wandering around in a bit of a panic, muttering to myself like a mentally disturbed homeless person, I see a sign that says “Jesus Saves.” Please note that I’m a Jewish girl and, while I respect the right for all to believe what they will, I’m not a big believer in Jesus saving me. Still, I do remember hearing church hymns being sung when I left Van Morrison, and looking to my left to see the open door of a church with congregants singing on a sunny Sunday morning. It really does feel as if this is a sign pointing me towards Van Morrison and, when I round the corner, Van is sitting, all alone, as if saying, “I’ve been here waiting all along, you doofus.”
I climb into Van and we check out a few of the holiday parks in the area. We stop at one on Kings Beach; well, it’s not actually on the beach, but a couple of blocks inland. Actually right in the middle of the very small town. As I’ve found in previous Australian caravan parks, there’s a central cooking are with a picnic table, but none at each site. And the sites are jammed tighter than a pair of Spanx on a linebacker. It’s not very appealing and I head back towards Caloundra (five-minutes away) and check into the Caloundra Bay Waterfront Park which is pretty much on the waterfront, though the sites aren’t. If the place were full, it would be a tight squeeze but, luckily, I’m given a tent camping spot (I mean really, I’m sleeping in a car) and there’s only one tent in the area. It’s on a small grassy area and picnic tables are close by. And, as Van Morrison’s cooler isn’t working, well, it’s not like I’ll be eating in much.
The park is very close to the central business distract and, though I’ve laid in the van and watched movies on the DVD player for the last couple of nights, tonight I head out to see Meryl Streep in a real-live movie theatre. As today is Father’s Day in Australia, it’s just me and four other people and the movie is entertaining, yet forgettable.
I make my way back to the campground and Van and I watch another flick. (Before Sunrise; who knew a movie about a couple walking through the streets of Vienna for a night could be so entertaining?). Oh, and the Van Morrison Movie Theatre serves scotch so, well, there’s that.
After I wake up today, most of the morning is spent attempting to send out a CV in, what seems like, a vain attempt at securing employment. I’ll leave those attempts out of here for now as I don’t want to bore you with the details or bum you out with the depressing results. I take advantage of the fact that my computer seems to be working for the moment (it’s crashed, refused to turn on, and had a power-cord connection issue, all in the last month). I seem to also have some WiFi so I tailor the CV for the job, write the cover letter, and go to attach it to an E-mail when the server says I have no WiFi left. I stop in the office and, it turns out that, when they told me the park includes free WiFi, it means you get 100MB for the first twenty four-hours of your stay. As I arrived yesterday, that twenty four-hours is up and I must now purchase some. Still, it’s cheap, and I hand over my AUD$3.
I walk back to the campsite, sign back into the WiFi and go to open my E-mail, when I receive an error code from Yahoo. I attempt to get in on all of my electronic devices (PC, iPad, iPhone) and have no luck. After a many unsuccessful attempts, I send the CV out via an alternate E-mail address and head over to grab some lunch at the beach.
While the Sunshine Coast is, for the most part, sunny, it’s also a bit chilly in September. It’s not quite cold, but too cool for my tastes to even think about going into the water. I sit on the beach for a while, soaking in some sun before it heads behind some clouds.
After a quick stop back at the caravan park, I head back into town to enjoy a glass of wine and small bite. On the way, as I pass a couple sitting on a bench, I hear, “How did you enjoy the film?”
I stop and ask if he’s speaking to me?
“Yes, weren’t you the one I pointed to the cinema last night?”
Wow, we had a five-second exchange and he remembered me. (Yes, I’m wearing basically the same clothes, as my wardrobe on the road, and especially in campgrounds, is limited; but still.)
“Oh, wow, yes, it was good,” I respond.
We introduce ourselves; they’re Peter and Wendy and, perhaps tonight, I’m one of the Lost Boys. Oh, and his full name is Peter Griffin and he’s a family guy. We chat for a good half-hour. There are some people you meet that, if you’re open to it, you feel that they might have been put in your path for a reason, if only to lift your spirits when you’re a bit lonesome while traveling. Perhaps while walking tonight I turned right at the second star and went straight on ’til morning. And maybe I’m not a Lost Boy, but Tinkerbell, a spunky, little fairy, flittering around, lighting up the world.