I’ve gone a little bit too long without writing, but it has been a busy couple of weeks! It is coming close to the end of the year, so all of us have had assignments out the wazoo. I took a vacation this weekend and went to the Gold Coast with my cousin Kelsey and my flat mate Mara. We had an absolute blast! I have loved everywhere in Australia that I have gone.
We left Friday early in the morning, so we didn’t get much, if any, sleep. We landed and took several buses to get to the university and leave our bags with my friend, Brittany. We had some lunch, went to the pool for an hour, and then hopped back on a bus to go to the races. We happened to pick a crazy weekend to go, as the Gold Coast 600 was going on. We went to the car races on Friday afternoon and the 600 sounds concert afterward.
After each day of races was a concert down the road. The races were fun and were a neat experience, but the concert was the highlight of the day. We heard five or six big Australian bands/DJs and danced all night. They were mostly techno, but it was so much fun watching them get so into their own music, dancing and laughing on stage. We got back that night and passed out!
Saturday was an early rise. Mara and I went grocery shopping for our lunch and were sent the complete opposite direction by someone we stopped to ask for help. Our ten minute walk turned into an hour, so we were late leaving for Dream World, one of the popular amusement parks in the Gold Coast. We bought a day pass to both Dream World and White Water World, which are connected. It opened at 10 and closed at 5, and we were there all day! They had so many fun rides in Dream World, where we were most of the day. We started with the biggest roller coaster so nothing else would be as bad. I was proud of myself; I didn’t chicken out of anything! I did skip one ride I figured would make me feel sick, but I think it was a wise decision. We also saw the tiger show. They are magnificent creatures; so beautiful and strong. We watched one leap from the ground to about 10-15 feet up a tree! Two of the coolest rides were the Buzzsaw and the Motocoaster. On the Motocoaster, you sat on a motorcycle and the harness held you onto it from your back. You took off and it felt like you were riding a motorcycle on the rollercoaster tracks! It was fast and super fun. The Buzzsaw is their newest ride and I almost chickened out, but made myself go. The roller coaster went straight up in the air, hung there for a while, rolled sideways and backward, and came straight down the other side. Then it went straight up and back down again. It was so much fun; I would have done it over and over!!! Yesterday when I turned on the news, however, they were showing a clip of the Buzzsaw. The coaster had gotten stuck half upside down with people in it and emergency workers were called to get them out!!! I was on it two days before that happened!!! Scary, but I lucked out.
White Water World was the most fun water park I have ever been to! All of us were in agreement on that. The rides were unique and so much fun, but we only had about an hour in that park because we spent so long in Dream World. We made it count, though! Our first ride was a slide into a toilet bowl looking thing. We sat on a four person raft and the slide was pitch black. We suddenly had a ten foot drop that we weren’t expecting, so we all thought we were going to fall off! We spun around and around in the bowl and got dumped out the middle. We also went in the Green Room, which was another four person raft and a drop where you slid up one wall and back across to go up another until you lost momentum. It seemed impossible that none of us flew off on that one. The water coaster was so much fun too! I have never seen a ride like it. We went on two-person rafts and down a slide and part-way up another, where a belt would pull us the rest of the way. Water was spraying on us the whole time and the drops were fast. It was a blast. The one ride Brittany and I skipped was the Wedgie. You stood in a capsule where the floor dropped from under you and you fell straight down and then slid the rest of the way. I feel fine about skipping it.
Right after the parks, we went to a place called Infinity. It was one of my absolute favorite parts of the trip, and we definitely got our money’s worth. It cost $20 to get in and it was the trippiest, coolest, most fun place ever! It was a building full of rooms with lights and mirrors and bouncy floors and lasers and everything you can think of. The first room was all mirrors, even the ceilings and floors. We wore gloves and slippers over our shoes to protect the mirrors and guide us when it went dark. There were a couple mirror rooms and then one that was pitch black except for “stars” everywhere. There was a room where the floors were squishy and the walls were inflated, so you had to push through them. There was a room where the floors and walls were bouncy and you just knocked off all of them. There was a room with a bridge that looked like it hung over nothing. We tried crossing it bouncing without touching the rails. It felt like you were going to shoot into the abyss! Our favorite room had giant bouncy balls. There were mirrors everywhere and exercise balls anywhere from three feet in diameter to five. We stayed in there the longest, throwing them at each other, jumping from one to the other, rolling around the room, bouncing. It was the coolest thing ever! There were also rooms with laser lights and smoke and streamers and strobe lights. We spent about 45 minutes in there and could have spent so much longer. I definitely want to go back!
We went home after that and passed out again. Sunday was another early rise. We took the bus to town and walked to a car rental place, where I drove out nervously with a car under my name! I drove all day, giving Mara and Kelsey both a turn, and did incredible! We didn’t get lost once, didn’t get in any close calls, didn’t drive on the wrong side of the road, and got the car safely back. I was so proud of myself! Our first stop was Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
It was half-price this weekend, so we got in for $20 and skipped the animals, going straight to the ropes course. We spent almost three hours on the course, and did all three of the different courses, choosing the most challenging side each time. It definitely challenged us and was a work-out. It was a lot of fun and much harder than I expected it to be.
We were proud of ourselves when we finished. We hopped in the car and started the hour drive to Byron Bay. We lost an hour since we crossed back into New South Wales, which we hadn’t taken into account, so we didn’t get much time to see the town. It was a hippy town for sure, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. There were so many really cool shops (a bunch of which were closed). I got some cool rings and feathers in my hair. We walked to the beach and ran into a jam sesh. There were about twenty very different people playing different types of drums and dancing on the beach. We watched for about half an hour, then found a pub to watch the World Cup game. New Zealand won! (Yay), but France made it a close game. It wasn’t a very exciting game to watch, but I’m glad it was at least close. We drove back that night, got ready at Brittany’s, and went to town to meet my friends Melissa and Cristy at the pub.
We danced all night with them and then Mara and I went swimming in the ocean at 3:30 in the morning! Some cops came to talk to us to make sure we were safe and sober because a lot of people get carried out in rips. They talked to us for a long time; apparently their job is boring but for people like us! We made friends that night with some guys that had too much to drink, so we drove them home so they wouldn’t drive and hung out until I had to take the girls to the airport at 5 in the morning. I dropped them and then napped for part of the day until I went to meet Melissa at the beach. We went to Hard Rock Café with her flat mate and watched a movie. Tuesday, I met two friends at the beach for a few hours. We built a sand castle and buried one of my friends. It was fun pretending to be 8 years old again! I showered at Melissa’s and did homework for a couple hours, and at night we went out. We went to a Brazilian party after Ladies’ Night at another club.
Wednesday I met up with my great uncle and his wife for lunch. We had a great time talking and learning about each other. I would love to go back and stay with them for a few days if I get the chance! I get home late tonight and go straight back to school tomorrow! Crazy weekend, fun filled and expensive, but so worth it.