Sunday 20th Junio.
It's hard to imagine Surfer's being a paradise for anyone other than someone with endless money to spend, nothing to do all day and a great love of partying all night. Even the surf is not that great, so there are few surfers here, surf schools do well, but that's about it!
It's not all bad, I'll put the good bits first. On Thursday, I paid $13.50 to ascend Q1, the world's tallest residential building, at 322.5m, with an observation deck on the 77th level, reached by an ear-popping, 43-second lift ride into the clouds. The view was spectacular!! It was a little hazy, but could still see the gold coast stretching as far as the eye could see to the north and south; apparently on a clear day it's possible to see as far as Byron bay (S) and Brisbane (N). It was very peaceful, being so high up in the clouds and very good for orientating myself in the area, seeing where everything was. I managed to pick out my hostel Backpackers in Paradise (HA! But I'll return to that later...). I loved it so much up there I stayed for three hours! They have comfy armchairs all around where you could sit and gaze outwards and a nice little cafe etc. AFter dark fell, was awesome to see the area all lit up brightly, much more inkeeping with the 'trashy' image I have of Surfer's.
This place is like Benidorm, or Ibiza or somewhere, the shopping and eating consists of wide roads jammed with fast-food outlets and overpriced souvenir shops, alongside designer ones that may once have done well but now just seem out of place amongst the scum.
My first day, I had a nice long walk along the beach, south for an hour, nice to be able to walk on a wide sandy beach for that long and to still have only wide, golden beach in front of and behind me. It was windy, though, making lying on the beach impossible, as the whipped-up sand stung my face and lodged in my hair. I'll bet it's much better here in the summer.
My hostel is the dirtiest I have been in yet! The layout is quite cool and it must once have been quite funky but is now very neglected, with holes in the walls, leaking taps and filthy carpets, and cockroaches EVERYWHERE, including on the bed-frames and in the kitchen. It's just pretty hideous and gross. I can't WAIT to get to a nice, clean place in brisbane, where I can sleep through the night without being on edge, suspecting every little tickle and itch to be an invading cockroach or other bug. Oh well, I suppose that may be just what you get for choosing the cheapest hostel in an area.. it's liveable with but not for more than the four nights I have there!!
This morning I met my step-gran Joan, at her sky-high and beautiful apartment in Main Beach, north of Surfer's. Was very nice to see the more up-market side of this area, Tedder Ave, just behind her block is lined with lovely little cafes and delis and is very nice indeed. Was awsome to meet her!! A long-lost gran although I won't explain the story here, it is far too long and internet is too expensive for that! But we had a nice tea and chat at her flat then lunch in a little cafe and a wander round the area.
Whale-Watching!! I decided to do it for $89 (although I still feel incredibly guilty for spending that money).. the sea was so rough, the crew handed out sea-sickness tablets to every passenger as they boarded.. not a good sign! We had to hold on so tight, and not move around and many people were sick.. it was actually quite frightening being in such sea in a relatively small boat. We finally saw whales! And got up close, to see them surfacing and blowing.. close enough to see the barnacles growing on their fins. It was great, although a little disappointing at their lack of above-water action, but such is the nature of wild-animal safaris I suppose.. got some great glimpses of dolphins, surfing beside the bow of the boat.
Tomorrow is my last day here, I go to Brisbane in the evening, and I'm struggling to think of something to do for the day, particularly if the weather lives up to the forecasts of being s***ty again... may have to do the internet-cafe rounds and drink a lot of coffee. But for now, back to my last night in the roach-ridden room *shudder*.