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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: -28.1681, 153.535
Yesterday was the first day of the Oceania Congress. While Fletcher went to the meeting I had a day to relax and do as much or as little as I wanted. After a good breakfast I read for a short time and then ventured out of the hotel and down the street. Griffith St is the main strip of Coolangatta/Tweed Heads so I walked the length, up and down, looking for interesting shops. There weren't many. I did find two second hand bookshops which were compulsory stops for browsing. In the second was a book by Isabel Allende which I hadn't read, 'Ripper', so I had to buy that. I then went down to the beach and had a short stroll along the sand. The Gold Coast' high rise loomed in the distance but the wind was so strong it was quite unpleasant so I returned to my room.
The meeting broke for lunch at 12 so I joined Fletcher and the other delegates for a substantial spread of sandwiches, wraps and rolls with some delicious fresh fruit for afters.When the meeting resumed I walked down to the park next to the river to a War Memorial. There is an
interesting statue group of young children standing around the flagpole. Behind that is a curved wall and a bank of plaques behind that. All done very well and fairly recently. I then walked along the riverfront but the wind had not abated so I went back to the hotel. On the way back there is a larger than life statue of Johnny O'Keefe and a Walk of Fame. JO'K was my first "crush" and I was a big fan when I was 13 or so. A good statue.
The rest of the afternoon was spent reading. I bought Richard Flanagan's Booker Prize winner, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" on my way here and it is beautifully written though very harrowing in its description of POWs on the Burma Railway. Absorbing though!
Then it was time for the Congress dinner.This was a great night where we met up with friends from all over the Pacific and even further, some we hadn't seen for 6 months, others for 20 years. Anne and Arthur Eustace were over from NZ and we sat at the table with them, Bill and David, Atmah Maharaj and his wife Kush as well as Margaret Mahoney and BobSnow.
During the night awards were given for Athlete of the year, Valerie Adams from NZ, also Coach, Official and Merit winners. The final act was the conferring of Life Membership and Bob was given his. He had not known so was very emotional. It is a well deserved award for the dedication and time given to Oceania Athletics over many years.
Today is just a travelling day. We are at Gold Coast Airport awaiting our flight to Sydney and thence to Adelaide. It has been a good few days away but the best part was seeing all those wonderful people we have become friends with over all those years.
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