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Andy’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Location: Surfer's Paradise, Australia


Surfers ParadiseÖ.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. Thatís 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), itís the land of ďmayhem, glitz, gold bikini wearing meter-maids, and high-rises that shade the beach by 2pmĒ (p.s. her blog is very funny, check it out at Ö.Jenn if you donít also cross advertise my blog on yours iím removing this link, iím not a charity you know!)

Iíve 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.
Most of my time there was spent on the beach. Very cultural! Iíve decided i want to take up surfing. It didnt look that hard so i grabbed Mirtheís surf board one day. Five minutes later i was back on the beach. Itís hard work. But i did manage to stand up, though iím 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 thereÖfrantic 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 didnít 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 (itís a long story, basically it involved a drinking game) who i met in Melbourne. Such a friendly person. Itís a real 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. Itís a constant cycle of meeting and leaving friends, but one that is very rewarding.

I almost forgot, i visited the tallest residential tower in the world. Q1. Surfers is a mass of high rises and mid range skyscapers, but Q1 is in a league of its own and sticks out far above the rest. The escalator is meant to be one of the fastest in the world and i almost brought up my lunch. The views from the top were fantastic though.

So that was Surfers. Iím presently in Brisbane. Been here for a week. Will update on that soon, but i have to rush as iím 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 updateÖ..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!