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Gold bikini wearing meter maids….got your attention?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Surfers Paradise….think Byron Bay, then turn it inside out, chuck it into a dirty gutter, stamp on it repeatedly with a steel capped boot, spit on the remnants and then finally smooth it out, build concrete monstrosities on it and chuck in copious amounts of tacky bars and restaurants. That’s surfers paradise. Am i being overly harsh? Did Byron seduce me with its charm? Was i blinded to delights that i subsequently missed because Byron was juxtaposed with Surfers in the space of a day? I think not.

SP is trashy, vulgar and superficial. In the words of one the friends i met there (Jenn – Canada), it’s the land of “mayhem, glitz, gold bikini wearing meter-maids, and high-rises that shade the beach by 2pm” (p.s. her blog is very funny, check it out at ….Jenn if you don’t also cross advertise my blog on yours i’m removing this link, i’m not a charity you know!)

I’ve never been to Blackpool, but i imagine Surfers is a built up version of it.

However, for all its faults (and it has many) i had a blast there. The journey was a short one with Jenn (Canada), Simon (Canada) and Mirthe (German); i only knew the latter but she invited me along and it was much cheaper than getting the bus, plus this is the nature of backpacking, you take any lift you can. We took a slight detour to Wollumin, also known as Cloud Catcher (the settler name for it is Mount Warning, but like Jenn said….i know i know, Jenn Jenn, Jenn, why don’t i just marry the girl?!….the aboriginal name should come first, despite the tourist sign which had it the other way round; a common convention in Oz that bigs the hell out of me). We only climbed half way because we arrived too late to make the summit before nightfall and none of us felt comfortbale enough in our abilities as a new Ray Mears (though my skills are developing at a frightening pace, the other day i recognised a Wollemi Pine from five metres away…remember the pine i spoke about in my Adelaide post? Of course you do.) Anyway the climb was still spectacular. I think this was the first time i have ever been in a subtropical rainforest.

The sounds, smells and sights were overwhelming. It is such an assault on the senses. We stopped for a while and listened to all the sounds, the bugs, the birds (one which sounded like a laser from Star Trek…Jenn it’s Star Trek, not Star Wars…and then had a mini explosion at the end) and a whole host of other animals, large and small. The place was absolutely humming with activity. The fauna was amazing. Very tropical (naturally). The lower sections of the mount consisted of lots of ferns, palms and these huge trees with winding roots that spread down into the creeks and streams that trickled through huge boulders and down mini waterfalls. Amazing place.

but back to Surfers. Most of my time there was spent on the beach. Very cultural! I’ve decided i want to take up surfing. It didnt look that hard so i grabbed Mirthe’s surf board one day. Five minutes later i was back on the beach. It’s hard work. But i did manage to stand up, though i’m sure my technique was not standard practice. Instead i hired out a body board to tackle the waves. So much fun. The next day i decided to practice my skills at body surfing (no board, no nothing, just your body, a wave and an impeccable sense of timing) which i learned from Kirstie (Canada) in Perth. Waves were bigger on sandbanks just past a trench in the ocean. Rather hairy swim to get there…frantic paddling and a constant babble about sharks, but it was totally worth it. Most of the time i felt i was in a giant washing machine. One particularly large wave crept up on me when i was seeing that Jenn got back to shore safely and without any chunks missing from her leg (sharks!). Was facing the wrong way when the sky darkened ala Independence Day. Turned round ominously to face a wall of water. Screams were quickly drowned out when i promptly swallowed a gallon of seawater (note: not advisable to open mouth when water is rushing towards your head). 

At first we stayed at a hostel called the Sleeping Inn (what bright spark came up with that name?) but we didn’t like it and had heard there was a really fun hostel called Surf n Sun. Really cool hostel. Not the best facilities ever but nice enough, and its real selling point is the fun factor. I had such an awesome time there. Lots of drinking, pub crawls (i know, how very cultured!) and good nights out.

Met up with Lauren, also known as Dave 3 (it’s a long story, basically it involved a drinking game) who i met in Melbourne. Such a friendly girl. It’s such a shame when you meet someone you really get on with and then a few days later you have to split. The best, and worst thing about travelling is meeting new people. It’s a constant cycle of meeting and leaving friends, but one that is very rewarding.

So that was Surfers. I’m presently in Brisbane. Been here for a week. Will update on that soon, but i have to rush as i’m on the next bus to Harvey Bay and the wonder that is Fraser Island. 3 night self drive trip in a 4WD with 11 other people. Should be fun!

Cockroach update…..Wimblemeister, a valued colleague and friend from Kent County Council (note: not her real name) asked how the cockroach wars were doing, well i have to announce that my latest offensive was a stunning success, i recently intergrated the conflict into the global war on terror (think Phillipines, Palestine and Chechnya), as a result i have gained alot of money from the American goverment to hunt down and eliminate them. Result!

Bridge Climb

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Just to clarify for those at home…the bridge i climbed is the one at the top of this blog. I was right up the top where the flags are. Cool eh? If anyone ever goes to Sydney, you have to do the climb, it’s awesome!

Relax, it’s Byron.

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

I've fallen in love with Byron.

It's a small town just under half of the way up the East coast. It's an essential part of anyones trip to Oz. It's chilled and quirky to the extreme. It's a haven for ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’ve had the climb of my life!

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006
Sydney, city of brides! As the saying goes - "When in rome...", so I've been walking the streets of this fair haven in a white embroidered dress and a veil. Well, not quite. Similar though. Back to reality. Arrived in Sydney after ... [Continue reading this entry]