After I touched down in Brisbane I was on my way to the baggage claim when my phone rang. It was Bill who asked me where I was. I must have passed him without realizing. I hadn´t expected him right at the gate but only after the baggage claim. So I waited for him to catch up with me and we got my luggage, went to the car and drove home. It was really nice seeing Bill and Joan again after about 1.5 years. I had met them on a day trip to Kangaroo Island the previous year and stayed with them for a couple of days in their home in Brisbane a few weeks later. They are a warm hearted super nice and friendly retired couple. It was really nice to have a room to myself for a change and being in a place with people I could feel a bit like home. We had sandwiches for lunch, they showed me their pictures from their tour from Broome to Darwin, and I could do my laundry and had a shower. They were supposed to babysit their grandchildren that afternoon. Since they don´t have WiFi at home and I urgently needed to get some things done I went with them and used the WiFi at Dan´s place. With the WiFi I could also talk to my dad and he managed to set up a conference call with the GMX support, so that I could finally talk to them personally. I had tried several times already over email and making other people (my sister and Stephan) call, but nothing had worked. Doesn´t make it exactly easy while traveling that you can only reach them from a German or Swiss landline. Finally, after 1.5 weeks I had access to my emails again and thus also to everything that was linked to this email account. I was so happy, you can´t imagine! Two weeks after the hacker attack finally everything was back to normal. My new credit card had arrived at Bill and Joan´s place, the old one was blocked, the fraud payments on the card were objected, my computer was set up completely new, scanned and screened several times and protected, all my passwords changed and I had access to everything again. Finally time to get back to enjoying my world trip! The only thing that still remained was that I was way behind with my blog, planning and booking since I wasn´t able do much of that without having access to my stuff and with all the time that went into fixing this shit. We had Tacos for dinner and the boys (5 and 3) were asking me to tell them all kinds of words in German. The kids went to bed and we drove home. I had a bit of Swiss chocolate which had arrived in a parcel from Nate for my birthday and had a beer with Bill before having an earl night. Next morning I helped Bill and Joan fixing some computer issues. At 8:30 Grace and Fraser (twins of 2.5 years) were dropped off by their mom who is a befriended neighbor of Bill and Joan. They babysit them once a week. We took the kids to town by bus, had a look at the giant Tukan and snake made out of flowers in a shopping mall,
got some muffins and tea and went to the park to the playground. We got lunch at a market in town where there was a German sausage stand selling proper German sausages with sauerkraut. I had a firewurst, not quite as good as the ones from Ulm, but really nice!
We waited in the library for the bus back and returned home at about 2 pm. The kids got picked up again and I went to a shopping center to get some stuff for my skin and a few things I ran out of. I had a little nap at home and helped Bill on the computer again. In the evening Bill and Joan took me to an Indian restaurant down the street for dinner. It was really good food and we had way too much. I felt like I could roll home. I watched two episodes of GOT and went to bed. Next day they took me to Mt Coot-tha. It was a nice day and we had a great view from up there.
We treated ourselves to some Ben & Jerry´s Ice-cream and went to the botanical gardens.
On our way back we stopped in town so that I could take some pictures of the Kurilpa Bridge and went to the café Bill and Joan usually go to after the movies for lunch.
Back home I set up Skype for them and helped with some other computer stuff and got a few of my thing organized and had a nap again. In the evening I watched a movie with them.
Next morning was my birthday. I got a boxing kangaroo as pin from Bill and Joan. They had to babysit again so I went with them to Dan´s place right after breakfast. While they went to the park with the kids I got some banking stuff and blogging done and checked in for my flight before Bill picked me up to bring me to the hairdresser. The hairdresser appointment was my gift to myself. My hair was completely bleached from the sun and the saltwater and very dried out too. Plus it was only shapelessly hanging down. Was about time to do something there! We had lunch at Dan´s place all together and went back home. After a short nap I skyped with Nate and my family. In the afternoon we had some crackers, cheese and pear with a beer. At 7 pm I got picked up by Sid who invited me to a really nice Thai restaurant named Thai Kanjana for my birthday. I got to know Sid in Perth last year while dancing zouk. He had moved to Brisbane by now for work. I couldn´t meet with him earlier since he was traveling for work the other days I had been in Brisbane. Julian – another Zoukie from Brisbane – was in London for work during my stay. Didn´t really work out well, with meeting up friends here… Well, but at least on my birthday I was able to meet Sid and it was really nice seeing him again. After dinner we went to a zouk party. I had lots of fun dancing zouk again and even got a birthday dance.
I also met Darren again there and I managed to get a dance with Alison (a Zouk teacher) who was there from Melbourne for the weekend to give some workshops. The party finished really early unfortunately. Punctually at 0:30 it was over. We went to Sid´s place to celebrate a bit more and since he lives at the other end of town I ended up staying over for the night. That was a really nice birthday, even with being far away from home, most friends and family! The next morning we had breakfast together and then Sid dropped me back home. Bill and Joan haven´t been there (I later learned they went to the movies), but they had hid a key, so I could get inside. After a shower Darren dropped by to say goodbye. We talked for a while and then he took me to a nice café. When Bill and Joan came back we talked for a bit. Then I had a nap and packed my stuff. At 3:30 it was time to get to the airport again and Bill drove me there. Jetstar had changed my flight and instead of the original direct flight from Brisbane to Darwin I had to fly over Sydney now. That doubled my travel time, so instead of 4 hours it was 8 hours now. And they don´t even check your luggage through. I had to get it in Sydney, check it back in and go through security again in only one hour. Jetstar was really ripping people off that day. They made everybody weigh their carry-ons. You had to put every little thing you had on the balance and for every kilo too much you had to pay $30. You are only allowed 7 kilos, which is really not a lot. Almost everyone had to pay at least $60. The ridiculous thing is, if you take e.g. clothes out of your bag and put it on, you can take it without paying. The bag is still the same size and the weight is still there, just on your body and not in the bag, so this absolutely doesn´t make sense to me, it´s just a rip off. You could see so many people wearing like 10 layers of clothing or so. Was quite funny to watch. I tricked them in hiding a few things before putting my stuff on the scale and putting it back in after I had the red tag.
I enjoyed the quiet days in Brisbane a lot, recharging my batteries after all the shit that had happened before. And it was great seeing Bill, Joan, Sid and Darren again! Thank you very much Joan and Bill for taking so good care of me and hanging out with me more than expected originally!!! Always great seeing you guys!