Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Aussie Diary, Day 9

(The only Hard Rock in Australia. The Grand Chancellor, or hotel in Surfer's Paradise, is the building right behind it. The people on the streets are Schoolies.)

Today is another travel day. It doesn't occur to me on this day, but they had told us previously that flying the day after you go diving isn't particularly wise. But we rolled the dice and went diving anyway. On this morning we have a 10am flight, so we have enough time to enjoy one last free breakfast at a Shangri-La. This is a sad time, these breakfasts were amazing and they rank high upon my list of favorite things about this trip. We catch a cab back to the hotel which somehow cost us $1 less than it did on the way TO the hotel. Go figure. After checking in to the flight we then head off to collect my lost sunglasses. Of course there isn't anyone at the lost & found desk, so I have to walk all the way to the other side of the airport (where I started, mind you) to try to get someone to help me. I had the foresight to leave Steph at the desk as I went for help. And someone eventually came and gave her the shades.

Now, off to Brisbane. The flight goes without a problem and we arrive to begin the next great adventure: driving. I've been nervous about this challenge the whole time we've been here. I had no experience driving a Right-hand drive vehicle, nor did I have experience driving in a Left-hand drive country. I tend to be very confident in my abilities behind the wheel, but this is a different animal altogether. I liken the feeling I had to the feeling you get showing up to take an exam for which you haven't studied. The only difference is that instead of getting an F, you could crash the car or kill yourself if you're not on your game. So after getting our car (a Suzuki Swift that barely fit our bags), I set off very gingerly out of the airport. The main difficulty is that I've trained myself to stay centered in the driving lane by lining up my right leg with the middle of the lane. Well, that doesn't work here. I try to compensate, but after a while your natural tendencies creep back in and you drift left. So, that was the constant battle. Overall, though, I did well. I only turned into the right lane once while making a right turn. Fortunately we were on a traffic-lass residential street at the time, so, no harm no foul. I also didn't notice until I got here that the hotel I booked us in is 1 hour SOUTH of Brisbane when I thought it was an hour North. This isn't a huge deal, but the main reason we wanted to spend time here was to go to the Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin's zoo, which is about an hour north of Brisbane. Now instead of being a few minutes away from it, I'm a couple of hours away. Sigh.

So armed with our GPS unit we set off for Surfer's Paradise (yes, thats the name of the town. I know. Sounds awful). It would seem as though the interchange around the airport is relatively new because the GPS unit (whom we named Claire after the Aussie chick from LOST) had no idea where we were going. She seemed to be getting frustrated that we weren't following her well intentioned directions. So, almost immediately, we're on our own driving in a foreign land on the wrong side of the car and road. Great. Fortunately for us, there were well-defined signs for Surfer's, so I just followed those until the GPS got a clue where we were.

OK, so remember a couple of days ago when I mentioned Schoolies going on in Oz right now? Well, little did I know at that time that they were happening in Surfer's Paradise! So, thousands of recently liberated high school graduates had descended on this town for a few weeks of fun and debauchery. You can't walk 3 feet without running into a hormonally charged teenager. Its amusing to see how the shop owners and vendors are bracing themselves for this. Some post security at the door some set age limits for patronage. Out hotel was the Grand Chancellor, and they set really restrictive rules for the under 25 crowd.

So, after we get ourselves situated in our twin-bedded room (they told us we could have a King tomorrow), we set out in search for something to eat. We end up at the Hard Rock, which in addition to being 30 feel from our hotel, is the only Hard Rock in the whole country. And for the 1st time since we've been married, Steph and I ordered the same meal. The waitress thought this was cute, but we didn't plan it.

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