Tuesday 20th March Journal entry brought to you by (a soaking wet) Tami Today was an awesome day! Rich drove me, Sophie, Chris and Emma to Palm Beach in his hippified VW van (yes mum, there were seatbelts before you pass out, I know you’re scared of those vans). Palm Beach is where Home and Away is filmed, which meant nothing to me as I don’t watch it, but Emma nearly passed out from the excitement of seeing Summer Bay, and I think Chris has an unhealthy level of interest in Alf Stewart, and he got very excited seeing his Surf Shop. Haha. Anyway we looked around the beach a bit and it was so pretty, really deserted, and we decided to make a trek up to the lighthouse on the top of a hill to get some good views of the bay. We had been previously informed by Rich that we would be okay in flip flops for today, that the hike was really easy and short. Well that was a LIE. I was okay in the end, but poor old Sophie was blistered out to the point that she had to climb the mountain WITHOUT shoes! What seemed like forever, but was actually about 90 minutes later, we reached the lighthouse, and the views were fairly spectacular. Rich then suggested we take a different trail out onto the cliffs, so we walked for another 30 minutes or so, through bushes and branches, getting scratched to absolute pieces, but the views were just so stunning it was absolutely worth it. After having some food up there (never let me loose on a box of BBQ wafers, I think I’m addicted) we could see that there was a storm coming in. Although Rich was keen to watch it from up there, I pointed out that we woulr be the highest point in these stormy conditions, and I would actually prefer to live, so we began our descent. When we eventually got back to the beach, it was getting really cold, and there was a wind picking up, and the whole beach was really dark. The waves were massive and the sand was swirling round like something out of a horror film with twisters and torpedos. Then Rich said, “Look, the rain’s coming” and I turned round to see a grey cloud moving towards us, churning up the sand and water and moving across the beach. He then yelled RUN and we ran as fast as we could back to the van, but as some of you are probably aware, running on sand is not easy, and it wasn’t long before it had caught up with us. The rain was so big and hard it actually hurt as it pounded down on us, and as it hit the ground and threw up sand the sand stang our legs because it was moving so fast. We eventually made it back to the van as forked lightning was hitting the sand and mountains on all sides, and the thunder was right above us. It was really scary, couldn’t see anything. We stayed put in the van for a bit, knowing full well it was the safest place to be in a storm, and after about 20 minutes we began crawling up the road, having to go super slowly, because the rain was coming down so fast that the wipers just could not keep the window clear. The inside of the van was misting up as well so my top got used to keep the window clean enough to see out! After about 20 minutes we got to a petrol station and Rich pulled in to put his tarp across the top of the van as we were getting serious leakage and were running out of tops, pots and frisbees to bail out water. We stayed at the station for a bit, praying that the rain would subside, but after about 30 minutes, I said to Rich, we’re going to have to start out because we were about two hours outside Sydney, and at this rate we were going to be driving back in these conditions but in the dark which would be even worse. In the end we found the rain was no where near as bad as it had been and we managed to get back safely – it wasn’t even raining in Sydney! When we got back, we all had some dinner, and then decided to head out to World Bar as it was a Tuesday which meant free champagne for girls (or boys dressed as girls). Pretty much everyone from the hostel was going, so Sophie, Chris and I headed down at about 10. Chris took advantage of my teetotability and consumed my free “champagne” (fizzy white wine) and we headed on upstairs to the pool room. We spent most of the night there, had a really great time, met some awesome people staying at the hostel, and some awesome people who weren’t, including JARROD who gets a mega special shout out for being such a laugh, engaging me in a really deep conversation, and most importantly, dressing head to toe as a female for the free drinks, complete with fake breasts and a wig. Pictures are coming, know you can’t wait, ha ha. We also met a fantastic Scottish chappy called Lee who was staying at our hostel, and a couple of other people who were lots of fun. I stayed upstairs with Jarrod and Lee when Sophie went to get more drinks and then I heard a rumour that she was doing karaoke, so I ran downstairs to see if it was true…..it wasn’t unfortunately, so that was short lived. As I was downstairs though, I danced for about an hour or so with Chris and a very drunk Goonypig (Emma). Lots of fun, although the music was mega cheesy and kept being interspersed with Banghra which was a little bit random. It got to the early hours, and Sophie and I randomly got a craving for cheesey chips (which are apparently not done over here – So Barrowman and Leeroy I’m putting you two in charge of a petition to instate a Dino’s in Australia!). After wandering from chippy to chippy and being told that cheesey chips were just not a possibility, we eventually hit upon a nice fella who kindly rustled us up some cheesey chips in a cup. They were not of Dino’s standard but after a night out, it just has to be done. We walked back to the hostel and went to bed. A good day overall. Ooh forgot to mention earlier. While we were at Palm Beach, Rich casually slipped into conversation that there was a Neighbours Party in Sydney a week on Sunday. Sophie’s reaction was as predicted, completely insane, with much jumping and squealing. Later when we got back to the hostel and we checked which actors would be appearing, when she heard that Boyd would be there, she cried. I’ve got it all on film, it’s hilarious. Will upload as soon as I get a chance. Bless her.