Surfers Paradise, Australia
As I walk through the esplanade of the shadow of hotels
I take a look at my life and realise there’s four month left
Cause I’ve been blastin and laughin so long that
Even my mama wonders where on earth I’ve gone this time
Apparently the place wasn’t named from a mishearing of Coolio’s hit, but because it is a place of much surfing. It is prosaic in its accuracy, but probably all to the good. I hopped on a train down to the Gold Coast so that I could have a day on the beach and, in honesty, so that I could at least say I’d been there. I wasn’t expecting to be overly impressed by a resort, and it lived up to expectations. Nothing bad, but I was again amongst youth, wandering around listlessly in the morning and early afternoon as if those times of day fail to register with party minds. Many of them were wearing their schoolies photo ids which marks them out as year 12 (whatever that is) pupils (they’re not studying, after all) here for a week’s party. I’m surprised – I’d have been looking to cast off such uniformity and bathe in the holiday of anonymity. You tell me I have to wear this round my neck, I’m immediately going to stick it in a pocket and see if I can gain entry by showing it at the door.
Though in fairness, any that were doing that would by definition be impossible to identify.
Travel was easy, if long. Train to Nerang, just under an hour, then a bus to the beach, taking about half an hour. The bus passed the Metricon stadium, which is very colourful and seemed odd, in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think it really is, it just appeared that way, though at the moment it is a 25 minute walk from Nerang station, with a ferry planned. England have played cricket there – it’s where Gower and Morris went for their ride in Tiger Moth biplanes – and it’ll be used for the 2018 Commonwealth games opening and closing ceremonies. Using a go card, the bus trip counts as a ‘continuation’ of your trip, and cost an extra 34 cents. Finally, a bargain in Australia! Total cost, $8.77 off peak, $10.96 peak. The train passes through Runcorn and Kingston, just for the wry British smiles. I’d had a lovely chat at the bus stop; I’m pretty sure the bloke was driving the limo towards which he’d waved, offering a lift to the beach for $20, but he was happy to admit the bus was cheaper, go card cheaper still, and move on to sport. And he wasn’t even a cricket fan, he only wanted to talk F1.
On the way back I spotted my first baby relay. A young lady got on with baby in buggy and rode the train, occasionally rocking the cute baby and generally playing with him for the hour’s ride. At Cooper’s Plains she got off with the buggy. Next thing I knew, she was back on, alone, hopping through the door at the last minute. I did a double take, then looked through the window, to see another woman pushing the baby away down the platform. I guess she has to take it to the riverbus for her handover.
This week has been one day on visiting, one day off. Monday I took the train out to Cleveland. I think it enjoyed it. There’s a little beach there, if you follow your nose out into Raby bay. I passed the time reading some Sherlock Holmes, regretted not bringing a towel to sit on, particularly when ants gave me a sharp bite, but realised that the abandoned camping chair off to one side worked perfectly.
Tuesday was my non travel day; I saw Hunger Games in the local cinema in the morning, rode the CityCat to town in the afternoon and joined the Intraining gang for a speed session in the evening. The end was a bit messy, as we all walked past a possum that had been hit by a bike, until the last group realised it was still alive and put operation rescue into effect. I had little to add to the six people involved, and left them to it.