The two men in the row in front of us have formed a strong bond
. They get to know each other (loudly) as they swill back miniature bottle of cheap airplane wine. One of them, in his early 50s, shows off the diamond rings he plans to propose with tonight (I'm still not clear about why there's two rings). They joke that the other will be his best man. I hope the groom-to-be is sober enough not to slur the proposal. It would all be a lot sweeter if he hadn't spent the last two hours sleazing onto the female flight attendants.
As I write I'm relieved to hear him ask for coffee. "I'm going to do it at the terminal," he tells the attendant. Maybe we're in for a show. "I've been demoted," the other man, who is even drunker, whines for the fourth time. "I was best man an hour ago."
The turbulence worsens the nearer we get to our destination. Luckily two glasses of wine at altitude is enough to allow me to relax into the movement of the plane. I'm more worried about losing hands of hearts to my laptop, although I am concerned about the implications for tomorrow's weather. So much for sunny Oz. Regardless, the thought of two weeks off work and all the people we're catching up with across the ditch is enough to keep my spirits high.
As our plane heads towards a rainy Coolangatta, it starts to sink in that our two week trip of East Coast Australia has begun. Torrential downpours are not exactly the kind of weather you think of when you hear the words 'the Gold Coast', but as long as the roller coasters at Movieworld are operating tomorrow, Nathan and I will be happy. That's how the idea of this holiday was born, with Nathan's almost weekly dreams of riding a big roller coaster. One evening, out for dinner at our fantastic local Japanese restaurant, a few little bowls of sake in, I said to Nathan "You know, if you really want to ride a roller coaster we'd better plan a trip to a theme park in Australia soon. Give me another few years and I doubt you'll get me on one." Now that we've planned our trip, with the way it's worked out tomorrow's our only shot. If the rides are closed we'll be missing out - our train south is booked for the following day.