5.13pm - Burn Baby Burn

Trip Start Feb 09, 2009
Trip End Mar 25, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday 22 February, 5.13pm, Bay Beach Motel
So long time readers of this blog might be surprised that I've not mentioned a certain recurring problem I have yet. That's because it's been raining most of the time since I arrived in Australia. But no worries, because yesterday the sun finally came out, and naturally, I leapt with gay abandon at the opportunity to sunburn.
Yes, it's my old trouble, and I now have not just a stylish necklace mark la NZ, but also a groovy strap mark across my chest from my bag. A few years ago, I was in Cannes, and went to the local market early Sunday morning with my friend Hollie. We walked two or three miles back to our hotel down the beach in the midday sunshine, and when we got inside, I realised that because I'd been wearing a bag with the strap across my chest and a scoop neck top, I had essentially ended up with a warning sign burned into my chest. It took about three years for it to fade completely, because every time I got the slightest burn afterwards, the stupid stripe came back just as strong. And now I've just done the exact same thing, only as a bonus, I've got a V from my necklace too. I'm now taking bets on just how long it's going to take for this one to fade.
Coffs Harbour was nice enough, but quite quiet. I spent a bit of time on the beach, which was nice enough (when I wasn't getting third degree burns, that is), and went to see the Pet Porpoise Pool, which was... weird, actually. I thought I'd like it, because yay, dolphins, and yay, seals, but in the end, it made me a bit uncomfortable to see them penned up in pools, which in the case of the seals, seemed very small for such big animals. And maybe it's just because the last dolphins I saw were in the wild, but it seemed a bit hideous to watch people queuing up to get a picture of themselves being kissed by the dolphins and seals. It seemed wrong, somehow, to tame them in that way. And yes, I know that animals born in captivity are very different creatures to animals born in the wild, but watching them perform for treats made me feel kinda sad.
Other than struggling with conflicting emotions about animal welfare, I spent my time in Coffs Harbour eating Turkish Delight ice cream from this gorgeous little ice cream parlour on the jetty and hanging out with my various roommates, all of whom were lovely to a man. Or woman. Katerina, the multilingual German, was good fun, and incredibly kind when I got sunburn, pressing homeopathic remedies and aloe vera on me, and rubbing aqueous cream on my back. I went with Hazel, the 31 year old from Brighton, and her friend/ex/travelling partner Steve to the nearby pub to have a few beers and watch a local band, who were pretty good. And I had some great chat with Leanne, the Welsh ex-Air Force girl, on the subject of weird jobs and dream jobs. There were half a dozen others that came through our room over my time there, but they were the ones I'll remember best.
So today I woke up bright and early and headed for Byron Bay, the backpacker's destination spot (the other one being Surfers Paradise). Had no idea where I was going, because every bloody hostel, including the funky-sounding Arts Factory, where I really wanted to stay, is filled to capacity. So I drove around looking for motels again, only this time, I was much more successful, and managed to find a vacancy almost straight away. Go me. On the way, I was planning on going to the Big Banana (it's powerful big), which I did, but I didn't go into the actual theme park thing that has sprung up around said banana because of my sunburn. Tobogganing, as much as it sounds awesome, and as much as I was ready to believe Martyn's confirmation of the awesome, would not have been quite so awesome on a sore back. Considering even wearing anything with straps right now is painful, tobogganing would pretty much blow.
Tomorrow, I will man up, apply more aqueous cream (mmm, aqueousy), and have a wander up to Cape Byron and the lighthouse, I think. As much as I ouch, I also want to make the most of my time here. Byron Bay has some truly excellent views and a lovely beach, so should be good stuff.
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Where I stayed
Bay Beach Motel
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suzloua on

Re: Monday bloody Monday
In my life, I've had some weird compliments. My ex-stepsis Dominique once told me she loved the way I smoked. My friend Joanne told me she loved the way I ate popcorn. Noj once said I was 'original' because I happened to mention how much I liked cats eyes (the things in the road, not eyes on cats). But your last comment is up there with the greats, Rhys. Thanks?

suzloua on

Re: Cats' eyes / Cat's eyes?
Oh, now that's just weird, because I always think they're going to ping up and hit me in the face then get wedged in my brain too. But in this instance, I mean eyes on cats. They always look shifty, you know?

adatherton on

The odd thing you don't mention is the distance. Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, and now you are talking about Surfer's Paradise (which you will love, it's super-glitzy). From my recollection, you have done about 500mi/900km so far, and you never even comment on those long hours with only Cameron for company. I assume you'll be going to Sea World when you get up there? Dad x

suzloua on

Re: Distance
I haven't driven anything like as much as in NZ, I have not done more than 3 hours in one day yet. In NZ I was doing 6 or 7 hours. To be honest, it doesn't much bother me - I listen to the local radio stations, I dig the tunes, I pick up on the Aussie sense of humour from the DJs, and I am fascinated by the news, learning what people care about down here. It's very different from UK news, so it's pretty interesting.

Am not actually sure I'm going to go to Surfer's Paradise yet, I don't think I'll have time. I'm definitely going to go somewhere on the Gold Coast though.

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