Surfer's Paradise

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So there we were, Alli, Kate, Chris, and myself, waving goodbye to the few fellow travelers remaining as Dustin drove the bus off to Sydney, standing at the foot of the world’s tallest residential building, the Q1 building – which looks like something straight out of Dubai. In retrospect, I can’t believe I didn’t go inside at all, but while we waited for Aaron (Alli’s friend) to pick us up, Chris and I looked into rental cars with nothing to show for our efforts. I grabbed a paper to look through the classified for buying a used car and Aaron was there. His place is in a suburb called Nerang which isn’t really close to anything, but the bus ride in is $2.60 and takes maybe 30 minutes, so it’s not bad at all. Obviously, to put the four of us up, he’s a really nice guy (a transplanted kiwi) and it was obvious how he’d made friends with Alli’s sister.

After hanging around at his place for a spell, we went and got groceries and had lunch, then I circled some cars worth calling out of the paper and we watched some rugby with Aaron. He used to play in one of the national Australian teams and was friends with other players, so it was pretty interesting to watch with him. Sonny Bill Williams, who is apparently a fellow kiwi and one of the best players in the league, got injured only a few minutes into the game, which was a bit of a shock to everyone. Anyway, after some rugby, we headed into town and Aaron took us to a place called Infinity. It was supposedly designed by a woman from an insane asylum to represent her mind. It was admittedly a bit trippy at times, I felt like I was in the middle of a game of Psychonauts or something, but for the most part it was a bunch of lights and mirrors. There was a rickety bridge over a light canyon which, though you could tell it was mirrors, was still freaky somehow, and a room full of massive balls that we threw at each other, and other fun things.

We looked around town a bit, went to the beach just after the sun had set, and hung out in the surf, then headed home where we had dinner and chatted and slept remarkably early. The next morning I got some photo stuff done and called up a few people to check out some cars then we took the bus into Surfer’s. Aaron wakes up for work at 4:30 AM, so needless to say, we didn’t see him. We walked around town, got lunch, then I met Julio to have a look at his car. One of the intake hoses needed to be clamped, he’d had a dog in the car, and while I’m not usually a guy for a/c, I think it’s probably a necessity in this country. He also was asking a fair amount more than I thought the car was worth. Then Chris and I got picked up by a used car dealership which was as sketchy as it sounds. The car was decent and not even too badly priced considering it had 120000 km on it and looked to be in mostly good shape, but $2500 was a bit much and I didn’t trust these guys. And sure enough, when we thanked them and asked for a ride back, the boss wanted Luca (the salesman) to drop us at a bus stop and let us find a way back. I got Luca talking about places in South America to see beautiful ladies and he took us as far as Chevron Island before his boss called to yell at him and he dumped us there. It was about a 20 minute walk back which wasn’t too bad but obviously a lesson learned.

Chris and I went to the beach for a while then met Alli and Kate and laid on the beach for another hour or so. We stopped for a beer on the main street which turned into four, then hit up HJ’s (Hungry Jack’s = Burger King) and found our way home after renting Borat and Spinal Tap. Aaron was asleep, so we didn’t see him at all today, but we watched Borat which I find quite hilarious. My friends didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as me, though. I was determined to actually get down and surfing the next morning, but by the time the girls finally got ready to go it was close to lunch. So I made myself nachos and we left for Surfer’s at 12:45. Hatless. It seems I lost my hat somehow last night, most likely on the bus or while waiting for the bus. I held out hope it would be found as this hat has become a part of my down-under personality, but it certainly wasn’t at Aaron’s. Chris and I went to return Borat and wound up looking at some more didgeridoos and I learned how to play one (except I can’t do the breathing properly). We ran into Kate again and the three of us rented surf boards.

We didn’t have much luck with the surf again. I did get up a few times but it seemed we couldn’t get up fast enough before the wave petered out, nor far enough before the waves would push us back in. We spent enough time out there to be sucked way down the beach and into a riptide before heading in, and after a bit of lazing around, Kate and I went out again because Chris’ arm was acting up. Still not much luck, but it went a bit better than before. We returned our surf boards, grabbed some groceries to make tacos (Aaron was craving them), and after dinner, I met with Julio again and wound up buying his car. I hope it lasts me, it’s not exactly new and pristine, but it seems tough and in decent condition, so hopefully. It’s a 1988 Ford Telstar (Ford and Holden are apparently the two brands best known for reliability around here) with a good number of miles on it already (250k – below average for Aus) but I hope to put a good number more. He gave us the car for $1400 from $2250, which, when combined with registration, new tires, and everything, is a pretty fair deal I think.

So anyway, we have wheels and can explore the countryside tomorrow. Aaron’s place is nice and all, but I was ready to hit the road and see some things, and I know Chris was too. I got up extra early the next morning and took the car out to get everything sorted out. I transferred ownership at Queensland Transport, tried to get insurance (registration only gives you personal insurance, not property here) and will have to try again with a Queensland address, returned Spinal Tap (which we watched last night after a couple celebratory beer), picked up a iPod-tape converter and charger for the car, and picked everyone up. Then it was off to Lamington National Park, where we really start our adventures in the Green Mountains.

Surfer's Paradise Photos

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