Being blinded by the light being switched on at 2 in the morning wasn’t quite how I wanted last to go but I suppose that’s what happens when you’re staying in a hostel which states “party animals welcome” on it’s website. It was a bit annoying as they had said they’d be quiet and instead one of them had burst in, left the light on, the door open and had shouted to herself but there wasn’t much we could do at that time of the morning other than wait for them to shut up and go to sleep. When we woke up this morning I was half tempted to get up and make as much noise as possible to show her how annoying it was when you’re shattered but it felt a bit mean. They might not have necessarily meant to be that loud whereas if we’d have made noise, it would have been deliberate and a bit cruel. Instead we waited until they’d gone out for food then got up and dressed and went to investigate what we had for breakfast. Unfortunately it wasn’t too much as the bread had gone mouldy and we’d eaten the two tins of beans yesterday so we ended up with two slices of tasty cheese each instead. It wasn’t perhaps the best or nutritious breakfast ever but I loved every bite. Yum.
The next hour or so was taken up with trying desperately to decide on how to spend the day whilst simultaneously trying to connect to the wifi. We had two options, the Skytower or the Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and with each one costing the same as the other, it really was a difficult decision. It didn’t help that the internet kept dropping at a crucial reading moment. Grrrrr. While the weather was so nice, part of me wanted to have a look at the Gold Coast from above as a couple of my friends have done it and the views look amazing and it was really cool when we did it in Melbourne. However, we had done it before and neither of us had ever been to a Ripley’s museum before so the other half of me wanted to try something new and go there instead. Thoughts were flickering back and forth in my head; do we go, do we not go, will it be a waste of money, will it be boring, will it be really interesting? It was harder to choose which thing than it has been to choose where in Australia we visit for the last few months! In the end we decided to just go out with the aim of Ripley’s and if we were refused the YHA/IYTC card discounts, head off towards the Sky Tower instead. It seemed like a good idea as the museum seemed a lot more fun and new to us.
So off we went down the road, back into the centre of Surfers Paradise in search of the weird and the strange. Unlike yesterday, when we’d been completely shattered from all the activities in Coffs Harbour, it was a lot more pleasant today and I enjoyed looking at everything again. Considering the weather forecast had been overcast and a chance of rain all day, the sky was incredibly clear and the sun was scorching the top of my head. I don’t know when the last time the forecast was correct actually was. I used to think the ones at home were bad enough but here they’re off even more of the time! I suppose that’s what comes with such a diverse and complicated climate though; with the tropical storms, wet/dry seasons etc, it’s bound to get quite difficult to predict such unpredictable weather systems. Still, I wasn’t complaining as it’s lovely to get back to hot and sunny weather again. Eventually we made it to Ripley’s and asked whether we’d be allowed the concession price with our cards, half expecting to be rejected and having to walk to the tower instead. It seems to happen quite a bit, being rejected, so we’ve come to just expect it now but lucky for us they accepted them so we paid $19 each and went inside.
The outside of the building pretty much sums up everything inside; it’s bright, circus like and is full of models of “freaks”, moving and swaying to the sound of ————-. Whilst the models absolutely terrified me with their googly eyes and gurning mouths, I couldn’t help but feel a jolt of excitement when all my A Level media studies theoretical work suddenly popped back into my head. The id and the ego, vaudeville and the freak show were some of my favourite parts of the course and I enjoyed being able to use the concepts in various contemporary tv programmes and films. Up until now, whilst I’ve thought about it now and then, sadly I haven’t really had much use for it my uni work so it was nice to think about it all over again. Basically, the carnival/freak show allows people to satisfy and express the part of them deemed unacceptable in ‘normal’ society and set it free for a while. By doing so, it ensures that people keep it suppressed in every day life resulting in a more civil society and reduces the chance of any “wild” behaviour. So, by visiting the museum, myself and Codie are able to stare at things we wouldn’t normally be able to stare out without coming across as rude and causing an incident. I’m not very good at explaining it at the moment, I think the sun has zapped my energy again, but I think that’s the basic idea. I’m definitely going to read up on it again though; psychoanalysis was such an interesting topic and I’d hate to forget it all completely!
As we wandered down the stairs, we looked at the various pictures and read the accompanying captions on the way down. One really made me laugh as it showed a dog smoking a pipe which could also count, apparently. It didn’t look too convinced more a bit confused and I realised that it just wasn’t as surprising or shocking as I think it would have been in the past. Nowadays, it’s so easy to access things like it online on sites like YouTube that it’s no longer become a trip out and is instead very often an everyday occurrence and the norm. From a psychoanalytical perspective, perhaps this means that the line between the id and the ego is merging and therefore there are more chances of the id coming out in public and causing chaos (the id is the “naughty” part of the mind!). If the wild side of the personality is coming out that often then it could be that it’s harder to control resulting in behaviour not conforming to typical societal expectations; it only takes a glance at the news to see various examples. Of course, people have been misbehaving like this for years so it’s nothing new but theoretically speaking, it’s interesting to think about. Again, I’m not doing a good job of explaining but it’s great the think about!
Setting aside the psychoanalysis for now, when we made it to the first room we were faced with a number of scary looking figures, each accompanied by a little plaque detailing why there were there. It was really quite creepy being in a room with them all and I didn’t like making eye contact with any of them, they were just too weird. I took a photo of Codie standing next to a man who had a hole in his head so he could stick a candle in his head which was very strange before coming face to face with a a huge man who ate about $300,000 worth of food a day. How he managed to eat that much amazes me, if the model is anything to go by he wasn’t even that big! After we’d had a little look around there and stared into the eyes of a man with two irises, we ventured into a room containing a replica of the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow. We both had our photos taken next to the ruler to show how we compared to him before watching a short film about his life. At 15 years old he was already 6 foot 5 and at his tallest stood at 8 foot 11. At 5 foot 5, I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be able to reach things so easily and see over the top of peoples heads though all the attention he received must have taken it’s toll.
The next couple of things were saw were mainly tribal pieces and although they were really interesting to see, I wasn’t entirely sure that they had a place in a ‘Believe It or Not!” exhibition. It could just be that I’ve read quite a few things about them though so really do believe it or that I’ve seen lots of artefacts like them before, I’m not entirely sure. I still really liked seeing it all though, I just wanted to see more of the really bizarre things that Karl Pilkington goes on about. I have to admit, the shrunken heads were pretty cool to see and the video that explained how they were made just emphasised how strange it was though the child one was truly terrifying! They freaked me out enough in Harry Potter so seeing a real one close up was quite captivating in a weird way. I was quite pleased to move on to the next section though; the torture instruments. Now they were really cool. Obviously not for the people they were used on, I can’t imagine it would have been much fun at all, but it was fascinating to see them. From the mask shaped like a wolf to humiliate the wearer and the wheel of death to a device which ripped off the breasts of women who’d had children out of wedlock , I enjoyed learning about all the different methods (not in a weird way) and it took me back to high school history. It’s always quite captivating learning about things like that as usually and hopefully you’re never faced with it in everyday life and it gives you an insight into what life would have been like back then. I love history and so things like this were always going to intrigue me!
Stepping across a strange platform with a moving wall which made you feel as though you were tipping, we discovered another interesting section. This one had no particular theme but contained lots of different things like a tissue wedding dress, a matchstick church, painting on a tortilla and even a wall made up of casts of Angelina Jolie’s face which seemed to become 3D and follow you around. I enjoyed this bit as to me it showed how diverse people are with so many different ideas but as we left and turned a corner I found one of my favourite bits; the laser challenge. After selecting from 4 levels, easy, medium, hard, expert, and chosen one or two player, you had to step through the doors and make it across a room, avoiding lasers in your path and swiping collection points on the way. It was all very spy-like and after Codie had had a go on the medium level I selected easy, well I wanted to make it across, and set off. I think I was more Johnny English as I stumbled across the carpet, slowly ducking underneath and hopping over the lines. It was great fun and even though I thought I’d done terribly, I’d only managed to break one and made it into the top 10. Of course I was a bit embarrassed when a child came through on easy and managed to beat my score but as I watched him a second time, he was small enough to just crawl underneath which I obviously couldn’t do. Grrrrrrr. A little while later and after a look some really freaky things like the famous two headed baby skeleton and decorated fish heads, we had a quick go on a laser shooting game. I don’t know what it is about games like that but I seem to love them and couldn’t wait to have a go. I’m terrible at normal shooting games like the zombie arcade games and things but attach a laser and I’m suddenly alright. Neither of us had read that you only get 25 shots each so the game was over fairly quickly but it was great fun!
Eventually it was time to leave and after exiting though the door and clambering up the stairs back into the sunlight, we headed off for another look at the beach. To be honest it looked a lot like yesterday and the waves were just as bad so rather than wandering about aimlessly, we walked in McDonalds for some lunch. Annoyingly there was a mix up so rather than the value chicken wrap I wanted, I ended up with a huge honey one instead which was twice the cost. I didn’t really want to spend that much on food but I ate it and it was nice if not a bit tinged by the price. Codie enjoyed his McOz burger though so that was good; I don’t think the 2 slices of cheese we’d had for breakfast had filled him up and I suppose you can’t really wander about in 28C heat with no energy. Well, I don’t think I was doing too bad but he was wilting a little bit! Once we’d eaten, we nipped back to Woolworths for water, cold medication and boiled sweets before making our way back to the room where we’ve been sat ever since.
Considering we only left the hostel quite late, it’s been a really good day and I think it was definitely worth going to the museum. A lot of people had said on Trip Advisor that it wasn’t worth the money but I think it’s up to you to decided how much you can take from it as I definitely learnt a lot. For example, I didn’t realise that the reason why certain tribes wear lip plates is to make them unattractive to pillagers and thieves so that was good to learn. My point is, if you go in prepared to read all the little facts and take the time to look at everything carefully, it’ll be worth it. It’s almost time for tea now; corned beef hash -yum! It’s nice being able to have decent food again for now and I really appreciate the taste of anything other than pasta. I think there’s still people wandering around the kitchen so I’m not sure how well it’ll go though as they’re all getting ready to go out and are quite loud. Hopefully they won’t suddenly decide that they want to make something else as there’s not really that much space for more than a few people. Hmmm. Right so, I’m off to make our tea. Not sure what we’ll be up to later other than perhaps watching a film or something but I know at some point I’ll end up reading The Hobbit!