Christ, I was so relieved to leave Surfers Paradise you'd have thought I'd just spent the last four days backpacking the Gaza Strip. The two days I had left there were spent lazing by the beach and going clubbing, the only two things you can do really. My last night was coincidentally the best time I'd had since being there. I'm not sure if it was the prospect of leaving or the fact we played UNO. Yes, I know what you're thinking,
"Gosh Charlie, that's a bit crazy playing UNO on your last night. Slow down brother".
I'll have you know UNO can be a very intense game, ok? To be honest, I would have thought all those times I terrorised my Dad to play UNO with me on those family holidays to Center Parcs would have paid off. Nope. I was completely and utterly outclassed by my European competitors (with Janine from Switzerland being an absolutely ruthless player).
Having just about gotten over my UNO ass-whooping, it was time to hop on the Greyhound bus to Brisbane; a journey that only took about 1 hour 30 minutes. That's one thing I'll notice when I'm home; journey times. Not having to take a 12 hour bus ride to make up the most minuscule spec on the map will take a lot of getting used to.
I arrived at my hostel, my home for the next three days, and within seconds I'd met two really nice guys called Kyle and Alex. The hostel was called Bunk, and it reminded me a lot of the hostel I stayed in in Melbourne, with more of a hotel feel to it. It had 6 floors, a bar/nightclub built inside, and was teaming full of people. I like these hostels as you can get chatting to people easily. Having dumped my bags in my room, me, Alex, and Kyle headed to the bar. Alex's roommate, Laura, joined us too, and we stayed out till late. It was a great night. I did struggle to mount my bunk bed however. It didn't help that I was rather drunk (I blame the $25 beer towers), but falling down from the ladder at 3am to a room full of sleeping faces is something I'd rather forget.
The next day, me and Alex had planned to hire bikes and cycle around the city. When I woke up however, I noticed something wasn't right. I was coughing a hell of a lot, and when I tried to speak I sounded more like Dot Cotton. I headed to the doctors and it turned out I had a chest infection. Determined not to let this ruin my day, we headed into the city to meet Laura. We checked out the Southbank (where there's a really cool artificial beach overlooking the city skyline), and chilled out in the Botanical Gardens. Alex is Austrian, and Laura is from Germany, so I decided I'd try and learn some German. As per usual the useful phrases changed to swear words and toilet humour very quickly. Who'd have thought a guy from the Wirral saying "Ich muss kacken!" in a strained, constipated voice could be so funny?
The next morning, me and Alex decided to book our trip to Fraser Island together. We are both travelling in the same direction, and we get on really well, so it'll be great having a travel buddie to join me along the way. Before Fraser Island we are visiting a town called Maloolaba (where we will go to the world famous Steve Irwin Zoo), before heading up to Noosa, a pleasant beach resort that I've heard great things about. Once we get to Fraser Island we'll be put in a group of about 10 other people, where we'll be camping and each taking turns of driving the jeep on the island. I really can't wait. Being on antibiotics means no drinking for 10 days, which means my time at Fraser Island will be a sober one. At least there's no chance of me drunkenly stumbling into a pack of sleeping dingoes though I suppose. After booking everything, we went into the city again for a coffee, eventually settling on a place called Bean. I'm compelled to write about this place as I've never had customer service like it. The guy behind the counter was such a dude, an almost hippy caricature.
"Heeeeey maaaaaaan. What coffeeeee would you guys liiiiiike? Cappucciiinooooo coming right up maaaaan, sweeeeeet".
The coffee was amazing too. Anyone in Brisbane in need of a cappuccino, go straight to Bean. The guy working there will brighten up your day, and with a tag line of "Our coffee tastes like God's diarrhoea...but in a good way", Bean is somewhere everyone should check out.
When travelling, you spend hours and hours staring out of bus/plane/train windows, so keeping yourself occupied is important. Having a Spotify app on my iPhone is great, as it means I have an endless supply of music at my fingertips. My Kindle has been a god send too, with one book in particular helping me a lot. The book is actually written by my Dad (Chris Whitfield) and it's called The Drummers Tale. This isn't meant as a shameless plug, honest (it's free on Smash Words!). It really is great though. With it being set in my hometown of Wallasey, and it being written by my Dad, I have found it has helped a lot with homesickness. I guess he's not just a dull accountant after all. Bravo Big C!
Right now I'm in Maloolaba. First impressions are that it's a nice, small beach town. The hostel seems full of people doing farm work in order to get their second Australian visa, so there's less of a party vibe. To give you an indication, I'm currently in the common room where Spice World the movie is on the tele. In my rather ill state this is a refreshing antidote to a night on the goon. I'm 24 years of age and I still fancy the pants off Baby Spice by the way. Phwoar. Some things just never change.