“Whoops! I accidently booked us a limo!” Or tales of a middle-aged ditz.

February 2020: The closest to Queen we got the morning after the show. Or any time.

Ah March already… last week passed by in a blur of work and again I didn’t blog. Back in early January I had planned to blog every week but I feel like I’m constantly scrambling to catch up on all that needs to be done in life. Last Sunday the 28th of February 2021 was the last day of this summer that has gone by so quickly; I can’t let a season pass and a new one begin without putting some thoughts (and a blog post) out there.

On the last weekend of February last year, my son George and I were on the Gold Coast to see Queen and Adam Lambert perform. That weekend was one of firsts for my then nearly-12-year-old. You can catch up on the Gold Coast antics here and about the Queen show here. And although this post is all about the journey, not the destination, some legs of the journey were SO GOOD, they were destination-worthy in themselves…

It turns out that when I was booking transport from Brisbane Airport to Surfer’s Paradise, I got a bit confused; there was a train from Brisbane airport to Nerang on the Gold Coast, and then I THOUGHT I’d booked a shuttle bus from there to our Surfers Paradise hotel. When we arrived at Brisbane airport I went to the booking desk and realised I’d booked the “car pick up service”. I imagined it to be like an Uber. Since it had already been paid for and I was in holiday mode, I thought we may as well just go with that.

After about 2 and a half hours on the train, we stepped out of Nerang station and saw a man dressed in a white shirt and black pants. He was holding a sign with a name on it. Surely that couldn’t be for me. But there was no one else there at the suburban train station at 7.30pm on a Friday night.

“Abrahams!” he called. It was for us.

Our chauffeur James introduced himself and ushered us into a big fat black comfy Mercedes Velantra. He was lovely and so chatty. He told us about his past as a photographer for the Courier Mail and all the celebs he’d snapped in his time as we drove into the lights of Surfers during peak Friday night play-time, crawling through narrow streets past so many restaurants, people, and fancy hotels, on the cusp of Covid-time.

Surfers Paradise morning on the last day of Summer, 2020 (from our hotel balcony at Mantra on View)

Fast forward to Sunday morning when it was time to leave the GC after the Queen show and a fabulous hotel buffet breakfast. We checked out and waited in plush white chairs for our “car pick up service”. I noticed there was a white stretch limo in the hotel driveway. I knew we were getting a car, but this white stretch limo wouldn’t be for us. What kind of person gets a stretch limo to pick them up? I wondered. Seriously.

“Abrahams!” called another man in the black pants/white shirt combo.

After several minutes of my expressing disbelief and a “are you sure this limo is for us” carry-on, we got in to the limo like excited children. And one of us really was an excited child. This was the kind of limo with shiny wood surfaces, a TV, a minibar and enough room to host a small party. It was a rock and roll limo.

After a few minutes of chit chat, our driver Greg dropped the old “I drove the boys home in this after the show last night.” into the conversation.

“When you say ‘the boys’, do you mean, Queen?” I clarified.

“Yes, that’s right” he said. Then Greg chatted and answered all our questions about them. But as I’m blogging about this literally ONE YEAR after it actually happened, my middle-aged memory won’t let me remember what he said about them. I do remember it was positive. And that they got caught in a traffic jam. And something about Hotel Versace. I’m bringing my former career as a music magazine journalist to shame with my lack of juicy detail. The only reason I’m able to bring this blog post to you today at all is because I jotted down notes in drafts not long after the event (“notes in drafts” is a real life hack of mine).

But what I do remember is how wonderful it was to sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody with my son at the Queen concert and how excited he was during the show, and to ride in a limo. Or maybe I just remember how excited he was because I have these photos…

Excitement: another day, another cool car.

Limo style: not only was there plenty of leg-room, but plenty of room for reflection as well…

And speaking of journeys, the plane trip wasn’t as easy for him as the smooth limo ride through the Sunday morning streets of Surfers. I’ll never forget the look of relief on his face after each landing. We’d had four plane trips in the course of two weekends that February.

“Well, we survived” he’d say after each landing. As we descended into Canberra on the flight from Brisbane he asked, “Would we survive if we crashed now?”

“Yes, probably.” I said. Then the wheels hit the runway. “We survived!” he announced.

I think a limo might be more his cup of tea.

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