. I said to myself, I'm not really sure why I'm in Australia right now. I just left a perfectly nice island with a perfectly good beach and a perfectly great girl in a perfectly cheap bungalow 10 meters from the ocean to come to this horrific cesspool of urbanity ironically called Surfer's Paradise. What am I nuts? The name is quite alluring and when I got off the plane, I chose Surfer's instead of Coolangatta strictly because I had heard of it before. (I think this is how people end up on Phuket and Koh Samui) I only had a couple days before Bluesfest so it really didn't matter where I went anyway. I knew that Australia was going to be a bit of a shocker after spending 2 years in Asia, but I really wasn't prepared for how much of a shocker it was going to be. I even spent a week on the expat side of Bangkok blowing what I thought was a lot of money, 10,000B, in order to get used to spending more money.
I considered taking out less than $300 from the airport ATM, but it probably wouldn't have been enough to get out of the airport seeing as a small bottle of water was more than $3. I had heard there was a drought going on in Oz, but this is ridiculous. It was like 100B for a small bottle of water instead of the 5B it would have cost in Thailand. The public bus was over $4 and the real killer was finding out a dorm room was $31/night. I quickly did the calculations in my head and figured out that I was paying over 1000 Baht not for a beautiful bungalow on the water in high season, but for a bunk bed in smelly shitty dorm room with 6 other people
. The worst of it all was when I heard that the tickets were already sold out for Bluesfest. The only reason I could come up with for why I was in Oz instead of in Malaysia was for the music so I decided I'd better go get some $410 tickets and at least go to the festival. So after 1 day in Surfer's Hell, I'm heading down to Byron Bay a day early to see if I can sort out accommodation and tickets for the show. Don't get me wrong, Surfer's can be a nice place if you just hang out on the beautiful long stretches of beach and look outward towards the raging sea. Or if you are looking for a crappy version of South Beach Miami with smelly pubs instead of clubs, this would be the place to go.
To add insult to injury, the currency exchange at the airport had a rate of .997 USD to AUD. I'm not sure how long I can stay here in this country at this rate.
I slept most of the 8 hours from KL to the Gold Coast of Australia. I asked one of the ground crew if the plane was full and he told me it was only about half full so I could basically sit anywhere I wanted. So I waited 'til most of the passengers were already on board before getting on and choosing my entire row of center section seats. Unfortunately, when I landed I realized that I hadn't done any prep work for Australia and was virtually landing blind. I didn't even know what part of Australia I was landing in except that it wasn't far from Byron and not too far from Brisbane. As I picked up my all too heavy backpack, day pack, bum bag and bottle of wine from the duty free shop, I had absolutely no idea where I was gonna go or what I wanted to do. The guy at immigration was the first officer to ask me a single question in the whole 2 years I had been traveling and entering countries with nothing but a one way ticket in and nothing out. In fact, it was a full on interview. Where are you going? "I don't know" How long are you planning on staying? "I don't know, you give me 3 months, right?" Where are you going to stay? "I don't know, do you have any suggestions?" What are you going to do here? "I'm not sure, what is there to see around here?"...