Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 1: Brisbane to Gold Coast

1 DEC 2008, MONDAY

Our flight's departure time was delayed by 2+hrs so we reached Brisbane airport only at 9ish (QLD time) the next morning. Believe it or not, I've always hated taking the plane. There was a period of time (after a trip to Colorado) when just the thought of going on a plane will make my head spin and my stomach churn. Anyway, as what happens on most of my air trips, I threw up my entire dinner. At least this time, I made it to the loo in time. I forced myself to sleep so as to distract myself from a queasy stomach.

Only managed to catch parts of The Dark Knight and The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Thank god there were no restless crying babies this time (we specifically asked to be seated as far away as possible from the bassinet seats). I couldn't eat after that though...no matter how good breakfast had looked. I must say the service, comfort level, quality of F&B and entertainment of Qantas flight was really commendable. I have been so used to the curtness of american airline attendants that I have almost forgotten what good service is all about!

When we arrived at Brisbane international airport, we went to the RedSpot counter to pick up our rental car. We also managed to obtain some maps of Gold Coast and Brisbane from the Tourist Info Counter. The rental car was a white Nissan Tiida. We noted quite some dents at the front and back bumpers and highlighted them to the staff just in case they pin those on us when we were to return the car later. It was a decent car (definitely much better than a Getz or something) but the boot was kinda small and we had to stack up our 2 luggages + 1 handcarry. We didn't rent a GPS as we have always preferred to rely on good old traditional road maps.

It wasn't difficult getting out of the airport to go towards Gold Coast. We were both kinda tired due to the lack of sleep....I was hungry too since my dinner had ended up in the loo on the plane and I hadn't eaten anything for breakfast. We decided to make a stop at Harbourtown which was along the way to Surfers Paradise.

Harbourtown is an outlet mall and a shopping paradise for the shopaholic http://www.harbourtownshopping.com.au/. Some of the stuffs were really cheap...especially the past season wear. It's a good stopover if you want to satisfy your shopping cravings and also to stock up on t-shirts, swimwear, thongs (yeah, the ones on your feet as well as on your ass!), caftans, caps, surfer shorts etc before you head down to gold coast. Not a hardcore shopper, I of course once again ended up with empty hands....but I did manage to fill my growling stomach with a piping hot chicken kebab with chips! Then we continued our way to Gold Coast which is just another 10-15min drive away.

So, we booked our accommodation at Holiday Inn @ Surfers Paradise. We got a special rate with the Holiday Inn membership and had to pay only ~SGD290 for 2N stay with covered parking. The main reason we booked this hotel was 'cos of the location at the heart of Surfers Paradise and also of the view of the beach. The room wasn't anything to shout about but it was tastefully furnished and of a decent size with a king size bed....however, what we truly loved about the room was the view from the balcony! It was a wonderful and liberating feeling just sitting out at the balcony with a mug of hot cocoa and feeling the seabreeze on my face.

The color theme of the room was pretty bold but they managed to throw everything together quite nicely for a contemporary chic look. The mirror was great as it not only made the room appeared bigger...it also brought in light and the beautiful view from the outside. There was actually a glass panel to allow you to look out from the bathroom...and there was also a roman blind in place if you want some privacy =P

Here's the lovely view that I was talking about. We were lucky 'cos our room was the closest to the coast (most corner unit of the hotel) so we had a very good view of the Surfers Paradise beach. The views from the other units were likely to be blocked by the many tall condos. It was really windy at the balcony....but kinda cold towards the late evening.

This was the other view from the balcony. It was a huge amusement park with reverse and conventional bungee and there was this ride that could make frightening 360deg turns. Every night, we could hear screams....really fun to watch people pay to get freaked out! It also reminded me of my younger days when I used to take the thrill rides at ECP.

So, we took a stroll down Surfers Paradise beach in the late afternoon. I was here when I was a kid 20+years ago...but it was RG's first time in Gold Coast. Before we came, I kept telling RG that Gold Coast has like the BEST beaches in the whole world...where the sand is so fine and it would glistened in the sun like specks of gold dust. I didn't think he believed me then...but having seen it, I think he does now.

I couldn't help but noticed many Japanese tourists in Surfers Paradise. We even saw a Japanese couple taking their wedding photo (yah, in full wedding gown, suit+tie!) there. Above in the photograph were 3 japanese gals enjoying a dip together. The water was very cool to the touch and the waves were pretty strong.

Just look at that. Can you imagine that there are miles and miles of such beautiful beaches down the entire stretch of Gold Coast up till Coolangatta! I was totally in awe.

We also checked out Cavill Mall which is like the main shopping district at Surfers Paradise. There were quite some shops selling surf wear and also small eateries and cafes (and Hard Rock Surfers Paradise too!). It was kinda touristy but what the heck...we were tourists so we allowed ourselves to indulge a little in this paradise. All the beautiful and sexy sunshine men and women in their tight surfers shorts and skimpy bikinis....really a feast to our eyes! =P~

Hahhhhhhh....for awhile, we just wished we could live there forever. We were told that due to the economic crisis and subprime issues, it ain't going to be hard to find some nice seafront 1-2 bedroom condo units going for A$200,000+ come 2009. Tempting....but eventually I began to wonder if a lifetime of sun, sand, sea and beautiful people is really my idea of paradise....

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