First Day in Paradise

Skyscrapers towering over us and soft, white sand stretching along the coast; this is what greeted us on our first day in Surfers Paradise. I have to admit that it was a little bit daunting, as most cities seem to be, but so far it hasn’t come across as being really “wild and trashy” as I’d heard it would be. Having said that we’ve just had two guys bang on the door shouting to the two girls in our room so we’ll just have to see how the rest of the day goes…

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Waking up with the sun shining through the curtain-less window, I rolled over, still aching from yesterday’s cycling expedition. Since we hadn’t been able to have much of a lie in yesterday with checking out I had hoped to recoup some of my energy with a little one today but a combination of the sun, a really rather flat pillow and hoovering just outside the door, meant it just wasn’t possible. Grrrrrr. Rather than getting up straight away, I decided to re-immerse myself in the world of Bilbo Baggins instead and wriggled about for a bit to find a comfy position to read The Hobbit on my iPad. With us going to New Zealand in a few weeks and hopefully visited Hobbiton in Matamata, I thought it was a good idea that I familiarise myself with it all again and build up the excitement. So far it’s working and whilst I haven’t really had a burning desire to watch the films before, now I do quite want to. I find it’s the same with most film adaptations; if I read the books first, I love the films more than I think I would if I haven’t.

IMG_5707After getting dressed and making sure that everything was padlocked and secured, apparently things are stolen from this hostel quite often, we left the hot room and set of in search of Woolworths. I really didn’t feel too comfortable leaving valuables in there but short of carrying it all with us all the time, we didn’t have much of a choice as there are no lockers. Strange really. If your hostel has bad reviews for guests’ belongings being rifled through and taken then surely you’d invest in somewhere for people to know that their things are safe? Why they haven’t is a completely mystery to me. I’m pretty sure that if they did then less things would go missing therefore they receive less bad reviews and get more bookings. Hmmmm. Still, it’s not like we could suddenly demand one and so off we went, hoping that nobody would try and nab our things. The walk to the shops was quite pleasant and I enjoyed being able to see everything we’d missed when we’d done it in the dark last night.  Whilst it didn’t look much different to Sydney or Melbourne or even Brisbane, the atmosphere was felt very touristy like Benidorm or Blackpool. I’m not normally a fan of places like that and I always feel a bit out of place but here I appreciated the familiarity of tacky shops in a weird way. It doesn’t feel very ‘Australian’ and I do miss the wildlife that accompanies staying in small towns but for a few days, there are worst places to stay.

2.1423247569.ari-on-the-beachEntering a small shopping centre and then finding Woolworths, I found myself getting quite excited about buying some more “decent” food for the next couple of days. We’d spent quite a bit on vegetables in Coffs Harbour purely to try and build up our strength and satisfy our cravings for vitamins but here we were in the best shop for cheap food and so we could spend less and still get some good stuff. Unfortunately the meat was all a little bit too expensive for our budget needs but when I turned the corner, I saw it. There it was. Sitting there in a box behind the best sticker in the world; a 1/2 price one. It’s been so long since I’d had really decent cheese that when I came across it, I couldn’t help but pick it up. Yum. Cheese is so expensive over here that it’s almost a delicacy now so this find was a real treat. We’ll be eating well tonight! We ended up with loads of tasty and quite cheap things for the next couple of days and it’s lovely to know that we won’t be living on noodles all the time again. A couple of people we spoke to in Coffs Harbour said that they managed 2 and a half weeks on just noodles and nutella sandwiches. I have no idea how they survived that as if that had been us, we’d have had no energy whatsoever whereas they looked completely fine. Even the thought of noodles makes me shiver now….

Meandering our way through the streets and the people chattering to each other, we dragged ourselves back to the hostel and managed to avoid the thin plastic bags breaking. For a country as pro-conservation as Australia, I’m finding it really difficult to understand why they haven’t introduced “5 cent per bag” systems yet to try and limit how many cheap and terrible bags are being used. Whilst we have a couple of them, we do use them for other things like storing clothes and washing and always try to use the tough, re-usable ones instead. I hate to think how many of them end up in the sea. When we got back to the room, Codie somehow managed to cram everything into the cool bag and I set about making lunch, beans on toast with a slice of yummy cheese on top. Of course I couldn’t resist a slice beforehand, that goes without saying; I think I’m going to struggle to not eat all 36 slices before the end of the day!

IMG_5711One cheese/beans on toast snack later and a couple of hours sat relaxing in the living room type of area, we decided we should probably head out to see a bit more of Surfers Paradise whilst we’d got the energy back. This definitely wasn’t because Codie had demolished what was left of our tasty rich tea biscuits, nope definitely not, but I’m not going to lie, we did come back with some more. Before the trip to Wooltworths to get some more, we had a walk to the famous beach to see how it compared to some of the others we’d seen. Just like the other beaches, the sand was a cross between golden and white and seemed to stretch on and on forever whilst huge, blue and white waves crashed against the shore. However, it just didn’t feel as fun as some of the others like Bondi or Whitehaven and i’m not sure whether that’s just because conditions were really rough or because of the wind. Perhaps I was expecting it to be amazing with it’s city backdrop and it just didn’t live up to my imagination or maybe I just need to give it another chance when the sand isn’t being blown around quite as much. I think I’ll opt for the latter!

Two pairs of sandy feet and a quick wash in the shower later and we left the beach to head to McDonalds to see if Codie could get any of the special Big Mac sauce they’re now apparently selling. I’m not sure what makes it so great, I’m not a huge fan really and hate it when the burger is so smothered in it it’s all you can taste. Grim. Codie likes it though and so he was very pleased when he was able to buy a little tub of it for $0.50. Whilst he was sorting it out, I perched at a table and watched an ibis wandering around picking up lettuce scraps off the floor along with his pigeon friends. It amazes me how many people just seem to accept that there are birds flying around and landing on tables in places like this as at home in the UK, I’m pretty sure it’d make the news and they’d be done for 2.1423247569.1-ibis-in-mcdonaldsbreaking health and safety rules. It doesn’t really bother me as I don’t tend to trust the cleanliness of tables anyway but I’m sure it’s not that great having feathers flying around. Still, it’s something interesting to look at and far, far more interesting than staring at a screen like so many people seem to spend most of their time doing now. There was a child about 12 years old who bought an ice cream and then proceeded to stare and his phone and not look down once whilst he was eating. I couldn’t believe it at all. At one point he dropped some onto the table, scooped it up off the table and then licked his hand never taking his eyes off whatever he was doing. I’m not sure whether it was a combination of sheer amazement of his hand eye co-ordination or disgust of eating off the dirty table but I just wanted to leave and so quickly finished my frozen coke and off we went.

Back at the hostel and we were so sleepy that sitting on the top bunk and relaxing for a bit seemed a great idea. Unfortunately due to the heat rising it meant that we were quite hot but the fan worked a little bit and cooled us down slightly. I chose to attempt to write some more of my blog however just as I was getting into it, two girls came into the room and took the other two beds. Hmmmm. Perhaps I wouldn’t be getting it done at all. They seemed nice enough, both from Sydney on a road trip up and down the east coast, and were really easy to talk to. We’ve been quite lucky the last few days with roommates who actually want to talk; in some places we’ve been to everybody has kept themselves to themselves which has made it quite awkward at times. Of course I completely understand when somebody wants a bit of quiet time, I really, really do as I often do too but to other not respond or reply with one word, stunted answers is a bit rude. Like I said though, we’re lucky at the moment as we’ve shared rooms with a lot of nice people. Here the girls even gave us their Bristol transport cards to use when we go there so we don’t have to fork out $10 each for one to travel about. It’s nice to know that people actually want to help you and we’ve been making sure that we help people as much as we can in terms of where to visit and stay because we know how appreciative we area.

2.1423247569.ibis-in-mcdonaldsIt was pie for tea, well two pies to be precise, which were eaten on the floor whilst watching Two Broke Girls. There was a BBQ downstairs for $5 each but we’d already bought food and I don’t think I could face another sausage sizzle. I don’t think I’ll be able to face one ever again! They weren’t the most amazing pies I’d ever eaten for for about £1.50 for 6, I don’t think we could expect anything more and to be fair, they weren’t the worst either. Tomorrow night’s tea should be tons better as we’re having corned beef hash with veg and it’s always quite tasty so I’m quite looking forward to that. As seems to be the case nowadays, I’m now showered and sitting in the bed trying to get my blog sorted whilst Codie is watching various car videos. Somehow he’s managed to pick up some sort of illness, probably from two girls in the Aussitel hostel who seemed to think it was ok to cough on people. Grrrrrrr. I honestly don’t understand how nobody seems to feel guilty about spreading their germs about and don’t even notice people’s reactions. Hmmm. I think we need to invest in some more antibacterial gel and not more biscuits….I’m not entirely sure how much sleep we’ll get tonight as the two girls in our room have gone out for the night. I’m hoping they won’t be too loud as they don’t seem the type of people who would be but we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime I’m going to snuggle under the blanket, watch Top Gear and read The Hobbit; a lovely relaxing night.

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