Saturday, September 25, 2010

How in the hell did I get here???

I woke up at 5 am today…all because of the jet lag. Got out of bed, got some coffee (btw..brewed coffee is extremely hard to find in’s all about espresso here)…. and walked across the street………………to Coolangatta beach. How the hell did I get here?????

There is no question is my (our) minds that this is definitely gonna be our home. You would think that the beaches of Coolangatta (otherwise known as Cooly) were natural preserves….protected by the government…and would cost a few bucks to even walk on the sand. Nope…environmental awareness just happens to be a top priority here in Australia and they have A LOT to show for it. It doesn’t cost a penny to park by the beach, nevertheless actually be on the beach…and it’s PARADISE. This whole trip so far has been a dream to me..mostly because I’ve been delirious from all of the traveling. But when we took our southward trip from Brisbane and arrived in Cooly..I was convinced that I was in a dream that I wouldn’t have to wake up from for at least six months. You wouldn’t believe how clean everything is..and no, there aren’t county workers trying hard to keep this place clean…everyone just pitches in and “sweeps their own front porch” to maintain this place. What a concept..

Ok, so about this place they call a “hostel”. I think they made a mistake..because this place is actually a “resort” for only $33 bucks a night. Yes, cheaper than Motel 6..but at the luxury level of a resort. We couldn’t believe it when we walked in. I had never stayed in a hostel before, so I know this experience is going to make me pretty spoiled. This place has surfing written all over the walls.. not literally..but you can just tell they have a lot of pride in the surf lifestyle.

 First and foremost..this place is about 100 ft from the beach.  They have a full patio including a pool, Jacuzzi, bar, bbq’s, outdoor projector screen for movies all day, hammocks, big lounge areas with big pillows, etc etc. Inside they have more lounge areas, restaurant/bar, and free wi-fi  (which is unheard of throughout Australia). There is free b-fast every morning..and we have two rooms, a bathroom, and a washer. Despite all the luxury..I still would describe it as simple, in a hippie sort of way. Everyone is really nice, as I expected...

As far as Brisbane goes (went)...we quickly decided that although the city was was definitely a huge city and far too many people. We DID have some memorable experiences before leaving, though:

We visited the Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane which is pretty damn far from our idea of a "zoo". I've never been able to have such close contact with exotic animals before..somehow Australia is pretty trusting of the public..even Americans :)

Hanging out with "Nivea", the Koala.
  Got to feed tons of Kangaroos....there was no fence in between ourselves and the "roos" and they were the sweetest animals!

We also got to see Dingos, huge lizards that Alyssa almost stepped on, tropical birds, crocodiles, etc.

The rest of the day we roamed around Brisbane, got our first Australian beer, and found an awesome girl named Kate. We were crossing the street to a Thai food place and I asked her about jay walking....and from then on she was our personal tour guide. She proceeded to show us some night life around Brisbane after some of the best Thai food I've ever had. Our first stop was the casino...and I had the best luck I've ever had in a casino! 1 dollar turned into 70 bucks..I've never been so excited in my life!! ( I know you're proud of me, Julie!)

Kate ended up taking us to about 3 different clubs/bars...and showed us our way home. I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide!!! 

So now that we're in Coolangatta..we're gonna start finding a place to live (which seems pretty easy so far) and we're all going to find jobs hopefully asap. Stay tuned....
Word of the day: "MACCA'S".. (MACK-UHZ)..Otherwise known as the infamous Mc Donald's! You should've seen Kate when we looked at her completely confused when she told us, "There is free wi-fi at "Macca's".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ready to take Australia by storm!! cart and all

   That was probably the easiest traveling experience I’ve ever had….and I’m half way across the country! There was a little bit of an issue at LAX (of course) with my passport not being “recognized” for about 5 minutes…but I’ve learned that It’s best to not panic when you’re in’s usually unnecessary stress. Sure enough..within 5 minutes of the lady swiping my passport over and over again, I was finally clear to go..and honestly, the rest of the 16 hour flight was a breeze. I swear the huge plane was Air Force 1 with Air New Zealand written on the side. Case and point: Travel if you can…preparation for a trip like this is actually easier than preparing Thanksgiving Dinner…I don’t know, that’s the first thing I thought of. As you can see jet lag is making a strong appearance in my life!

So i'm going to make sure to have an Australian word of the day in every blog. Word of the day #1: "MATE"

Ok..I know…this one is pretty generic. But seriously though..EVERYONE calls you “mate” here. Whether it be the random customer at the grocery store that you opened the door for… or even the old lady that opened the door FOR YOU at the coffee shop. Could you imagine everyone calling you “friend” in the US???
So as of now…we’re currently staying at a Travel Lodge in Garden City in Brisbane in Queensland in Australia. Picture Queensland as the state, Brisbane as the county, and Garden City as the City. When we first arrived..all we wanted to do was take a shower, take a nap (a 9 hour kind of nap), and get that second wind. Unfortunately..this wasn’t going to happen for another 4 hours because check-in wasn’t until 2 pm. Our bodie’s felt like it was 2 pm..however it was only 8:50 in the morning when we arrived at the front desk. This is the EXACT moment when I thanked myself for packing only one big suitcase and one duffle bag. We proceeded to exit the hotel and go hang out in the next door mall for 4 hours..and we luckily had a very convenient way of transporting our luggage around the teenage-filled mall.

If there’s anything that brought everything into perspective…it was that shopping cart. Essentially, that’s when you know you’re starting over…
We eventually found ourselves laying on the hotel beds at 3pm and trying to tell ourselves to stay awake for at least 6 more hours to get our bodies adjusted to the, potentially awful, jet lag. We’re here in Brisbane for only two nights and then we’re off to try to find a place to live and any sort of odd-job that will fund our upcoming 6 months here!  

As for today we’re planning to explore around the heart of Brisbane, hold some koalas, pet some kangaroos (“Roos”), see some duck billed platypus’s, etc etc. just to get us in the Australian spirit. Because as of now..all we see is a K-mart, traffic lights, and mostly American looking cars driving around. It’ll be our goal to really break that comfort zone in the next few days. Ultimately, we’re all extremely happy to be here..we’re all anticipating some rough patches when we run into that inevitable culture shock..and we’re all pretty thankful to be here with each other. It would just be too lonely if it was just one person pushing that shopping cart around ;)…

Saturday, September 18, 2010

3 days and counting!

In a little over 3 days..I will be on the longest flight of my life (by far) to Australia. For some reason I've ALWAYS wanted to go down under..and it's always been my number one choice in terms of traveling. Did I think it would happen anytime soon? NOPE. But here I go.........gone for 6 months (at the very least). 

Thanks to my sister, I now have an awesomeee I will be keeping this blog up to date as often as I can. So check back every now and then to stay updated!!