January 21, 2011
Senne’s Summary: We’re in Australia… beaching, golfing and eating. It’s pretty, but expensive.
We were very excited to be arriving in Australia, because we knew it would be the most like home of all the places we are visiting. Of particular excitement was going to the grocery store, and having it have the kinds of things we are used to buying.
It started off with a bit of a glitch. We had travelled for about 18 hours from Krabi (including our stopover) when we arrived at the Gold Coast airport. Let’s just say that immigration takes their job very, very, VERY seriously in this airport. Pretty much everyone had their bags opened and searched. When they say no food, they mean NO FOOD! Not even a granola bar. (We didn’t have any food). Let’s just say, without being too specific, that something Steve had picked up in Thailand for Roy and Chris was confiscated. This was quite a surprise to us (especially at 7 in the morning after travelling for 18 hours… everything seems strange at this point) as pretty much every other country we’ve entered no one in immigration talked to us, asked us questions or took a second glance at our bags. (Later we saw on TV a commercial for a TV show all about Border Control… kind of like Cops… they have their own TV show!!!) So suffice it to say… nothing is coming in this country that they don’t want!
We caught the tourist shuttle to our apartment and were pleasantly surprised that our apartment was already ready for us. We were very happy to have an apartment with a bedroom and a kitchen! Such a novelty! We also enjoyed the big windows that open (sounds weird, but exciting to leave the windows open and not worry about catching Dengue Fever) and our balcony. We could sit and watch the waves for hours right from our apartment.
After a little nap we headed out to find some food. At this point I was starving so we decided to eat at a restaurant and then get the groceries. Again we were quite surprised… we’ve been living the sweet life in Asia for the last 3 ½ months and promptly forgot how much it costs to eat out in a restaurant in the developed world! The food was good… but expensive.
This theme carried over into the grocery store… we found that most things seemed almost twice as expensive as we remember them being at home. (Very surprising, because up until now Canada has been the most expensive place we’ve been.) We were excited to pick up things like cereal, milk, fresh fruit and veggies, peanut butter, and whole grain bread!
The one thing we’ve noticed that is cheaper is the wine. A bottle that I bought at home for around $20 was only $15 here… so even though everything including Starbucks (Grande Tea Latte $5.00!!!!!!) and a plain old Kit Kat ($2.50 at the convenience store!!!!) is more expensive here… the wine is still cheaper. I should also mention how nice it was to taste a glass of lovely Australian red… best wine since Italy (4 months ago!)
Okay… moving on…
Surfers Paradise is a lovely place that reminds me a lot of Fort Lauderdale. There is a beautiful long stretch of beach (conveniently right across the street from our apartment!), lots of sunshine and plenty of restaurants, shops and bars. We enjoyed walking the beach and the streets.
Side note: Steve’s favourite shop was called “Trashy Shoes”. They had the most outrageous shoes in there. Our personal favourites were the ones with the see through plastic heel and platform. The heel looked to be approximately 8 inches… but the best part was the platform… not only was it transparent plastic but it had a little slot like a piggy bank that you could put money in and it had the words “Tips” etched on it. Steve harassed me for days to buy them (but I didn’t give in) even though he had multiple scenarios where I could wear them and get tips…
For example, let’s say we’re playing poker and I deal someone an awesome hand and they win a big pot… I just put my foot up on the table to remind them to tip the dealer! (Okay, the scenarios get a bit more sketchy after that so I’m not going to spell them out for you… use your imagination.)
Okay, back to the beach. The beach was terrific for lounging on and watching people. They have lifeguards that monitor sections of the beach and they put up flags to show you where you can swim. If you go in the water where you shouldn’t the lifeguard will drive over in his truck and yell at you through his loudspeaker (I never actually saw a lifeguard get out of the truck… but Steve saw one go out on his surf rescue board to pull in some body-boarders who had gotten in trouble in the big waves. )
I only went in a little ways because the waves were huge and I could feel the power of the waves trying to suck me out to sea. Steve though, had quite a bit of fun riding the waves on the body board.
I of course, was content, to sit on the beach and read my books.
Oh! I almost forgot. Those of you who know us well, know how much we like the “flipping” shows on the do-it-yourself networks. Well we were in heaven here! We saw at least 10 episodes of Property Ladder that’s we’d never seen before. Who goes to Australia to watch TV you might ask? Well, the answer would be, Steve and Lisa if there’s a Property Ladder Marathon 🙂
Steve also did some golfing this week. The first time he went out by himself and didn’t get paired up with anyone, so enjoyed a bit of “multiple shot practice”. The golf course was nice and he was happy to have golfed for his first time in 200 days. He also went golfing with Rob (who we met in Bali) and some of Rob’s friends (Bear and John). He really enjoyed this golf day because he got to see kangaroos on the course!!!
(Oh, and of course because of the excellent company… great guys, these Australians are!) He took lots of pictures of the kangaroos just lounging on the course while people played around them.
All in all our days here have been pretty regular, which is welcome. You just can’t go in tourist mode for 14 months 🙂