still got mountains to climb on my own

Back in Coolangatta after a non-eventful weekend in Brisbane and an interesting adventure to North Stradbroke island.

The best thing about Brisbane was meeting up again with Maria, my first buddy when this whole adventure started almost 3 weeks ago. I only spent two nights in Brisbane, couchsurfing, which was quite educational (I learned oodles about Australian football, rugby league, and rugby union — not all the same thing). Aussie rules football has been my favorite so far, which means my place is in Victoria…maybe? I think in Queensland and NSW they prefer Rugby, but I could be wrong. This was only my second lesson in Australian sports; I hope I can squeeze one more out of Jim before I leave for New Zealand next Tuesday.

In Brisbane, I spent my full day traipsing around South Bank, which may be the nicest area to meander about in. I walked through the markets and varying gardens, and finally to the state library. I then went back across the river to hang out in Elizabeth Square (I think?) and listen to various street performers (NOT country!).

North Stradbroke (“Straddie”) was interesting. I arrived at the hostel feeling a little dejected, as it seemed more like a steamy deserted island lacking any elements of homey-ness or paradise. And as soon as I stepped out to explore the beach a massive downpour swept in, so the first day wasn’t shaping up to be too exciting.

Then I met my roommate, Miriam-from-Germany-with-a-British-accent, and she was exactly the kind of girl you’d hope to share a hostel room with. She’s very warm and genuinely happy to see you, even though she doesn’t know a thing about you.

Next I stumbled across Josh from South Africa and Yune (Spelling? He was Dutch). We bonded while trying to watch a VHS of The Hunt for Red October on a HD plasma screen, where the quality was so terrible it looked like someone filmed it with their own video camera back in the 1980s. After that, our curiousity was piqued by the hostel’s copy of Spice World, and much to my surprise, the guys actually wanted to watch it to poke fun at it. My kind of people! It was SO entertaining to listen to a guy with a heavy Dutch accent seriously try to list all of the various Spice Girls by their “Spice” nickname, hahaha. My gosh, I laughed the hardest I’ve ever laughed on this trip with those two.

The next night was a bit weirder, as everyone checked out of the hostel except for myself, Miriam, our nice Japanese roommate, and Josh. A random 40-something Australian guy came in to the common room and attempted to befriend us, offering us free beer and inviting us to go hunt with him in the dark for “bush-tucker”. We were all a little freaked out by him, not knowing if he was a serial killer or otherwise. And he kept trying to talk to us, engage us in coversation, but none of us were interested…

And then, there turned out to be another American at the hostel, a nice girl from New York City who’s working at the hostel in her break before starting law school at Berkley. She joined us in the common area, and then one of the local hostel workers (a 40-something year old islander) walked through the room, stopped when he came to her, and gently squeezed her shoulder as he walked past. That’s weird, I thought to myself. I’m glad I don’t work here, I wouldn’t want to be subjected to any kind of creepy, unwarranted physical attention.

But then the NYC girl wanted to watch a movie — the Brothers’ Grimm. And she proceeded to whine in the playful flirty way to the 40-year-old-hostel-worker to get it for her. That’s really weird, I thought…

and then he got the movie for her, and the proceeded to snuggle on the couch. The rest of us were a bit appalled. A city girl hooks up with an older Australian (and for lack of a better term) islander-redneck?

So yes. All the islanders kind of had a similar look to them, as if they had a common grandfather or something. And they’d all lived on the island their whole lives and had no plans to move to the mainland.

I might’ve stayed another night on ole Straddie if all of my roommates hadn’t checked out, but I really wasn’t eager to be the only hostel guest left in what seemed to be shaping up to be the next teen horror flick.

I did go on an impressive walk while I was on the island, called the North Gorge walk. Obviously my pictures aren’t posted yet, but here is one I swiped off of Google….
It was really beautiful, and there’s one part of the island called “Main Beach” with an awesome lookout that stretches for miles and miles. (or kilometers and kilometers as they say here.)

Ugh! This is my last day on the Gold Coast and it’s absolutely pouring down rain. But on to Sydney tomorrow to hang out with Jim, Melissa, and Raquel once again. Should be an interesting reunion…

Author: Laryssa

Laryssa has spent 6+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. She writes about her experiences to help (and amuse) others. If she's not working, she's either traveling, reading or writing about travel, or planning travel. Follow , Twitter, or Facebook.

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