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World Travels by Casey

The Gold Coast

I arrived to the Gold Coast (from Sydney) on Melbourne cup day. Tuesday. Let's just say that was a pretty interesting day to be fine, a great day for people watching! The majority of the women I passed in the airports and on the train to get to the Sydney airport had fascinators attached to their heads.  I truly wish I had a picture to show you but it seemed wrong of me to take a picture of these people. Just picture the hats that the queen of England wears upon her head or Kate, The famous wife of William. They ranged from tiny little hats that looked like they should've been on a hamster as well as bows, flowers and lace or a bigger fancier hat, more appropriate to fitting a human head. The ladies are also dressed up in festive and fancy attire. I didn't see very many men who looked like they had gone out of their way for the occasion during my travels. Renee had mentioned to me that I should wear a dress so that when she picked me up we could go watch the horse races. I had two problems with that, one, I'm a backpacker so I really don't pack fancy dresses and two, my dresses had been rolled up in a bag so they were no doubt wrinkled and they would definitely be wrinkled from sitting on an airplane. I only packed 2 light weight summer dresses with SE Asia in mind. No one wants clothing touching them when they are in the hottest area of the world!

Rene and I. The second of many more selfies! 

So I arrived to the Gold Coast, actually flying into Brisbane instead of the airport which was closer for Renée… The Gold Coast airport. That was a begginers mistake! When I had first met Renée,  she got off at the Brisbane airport which made me think that that was the airport I needed to fly into. I didn't realize there was another airport closer to her so without asking I just booked for Brisbane. I won't do that again! There were tollroads and a half hour of extra driving involved for her to get me. Not to mention it would have been cheaper for me to fly to the gold coast airport! Ugh! Lesson learned!

We skipped out on watching the races because, well it was just to beautiful out to be inside a pub and to expensive to go to the race tracks. The beach was a better idea but that actually ended up being a short walk on the beach just outside her flat (yes! She has a great location for a flat!) and then an early dinner.

Just to the right of the van.

The view from her driveway. It's the bay! 

We went to her friend Ryan's house and picked him up before heading to a delicious vegan restaurant called Giri Kana. I'm not vegan and I'm sure if you don't really know me but have been following my posts you know that I'm not vegan by now.

Ryan was a really cool guy. Like many people who live on the Gold Coast, he was very fit and active. The same goes for Rene which is why we hit it off so well when we met on the plane.

Ryan and his co pilot.

Me and Mavrick, Ryan's other dog. I have a special place in my heart for springer spaniels! 

Renée and Ryan actually both work in the fitness industry, working for themselves and improving the lives of others. It worked out well for me because she wasn't required to go to work everyday. Instead her phone was her office. So we had beach days, hikes and drives around the area to see the sights and if she needed to work she'd get on her phone. I'd continue enjoying whatever it was we were doing and she would follow along.

She had a few buisness meetings at cafes and restaurants that I attended and with that I made a few new friends. Rod, a past client of Rene's (she was his personal trainer) is an example of one of my new friends! He took us both out to an AMAZING Vietnamese place for dinner. He was a really interesting guy with an incredible background story of life issues and health. The super cool part was that he's training for the Molokai to Oahu paddle race which is a race I had considered a few years back.

The next day Rene took me to Burleigh beach with her friend Emma, it's one of their favorite beaches. We hiked Burleigh hill, which was pretty awesome! It was a proper maintained trail with beach views, wooded areas, wild turkeys and medium sized lizards.

Heading up Burleigh Hill. 

This is a vine that's slowly taking over the tree. Eventually you will no longer see the tree and the vine will choke the tree and takeover the form of what was one there. 

The view from the top. 

A turkey, of course! 

I call this a medium sized lizard.

Heading down from the summit.

The 3 of us on our walk back to the beach.

Swinging in the trees. 

I'm not sure what it is I was caught doing when this photo was taken! 

We laid on the beach, played in the ocean and did a beach drive on the way back to the flat (home), to end our day out.

Playing in the ocean, a bit warmer up here then it was in Sydney.

I got a lot of workouts in with Rene and Ryan as they were in the process of creating an online workout video. We often met at the beach outside Rene's flat early in the morning and did workouts in the sand and sometimes on the grass. Ryan also got me a week pass to the "World Gym" that he goes to. I went there twice and enjoyed the people watching more than the workouts. Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his body building days at Venice beach and you'll have the perfect idea of the clientele of this gym. Guys and a few girls, walking around in short shorts and tank tops flexing in the mirrors. Bludging muscles and lifting mad amounts of weight!

World's Gym

Working on my floor press.

I think the best day I had in all my time in Australia was the weekend we decided to go to Byron Bay. The Gold Coast was my overall favorite week but Byron Bay left me with wonderful memories in 2013 and it did the same this time around.

"Watch Out Koalas About"

Rene, Nakita (Rene's flat mate) and I drove the hour and a half drive to the magical town. This place seriously makes everyone's moods better! Even if you were already happy when you arrived, you better believe you'll be glowing within the first hour you arrive! It's known for having magical healing powers... I shouldn't have said magical because that kind of makes it sound fake, right? Or drug related? It's neither. I promise!

Rene, Nskita, and I. 

So we had our fun at the beach, laid out and people watched and put in some ocean time and beach walks. On our way back into the town we stopped to watch some performers practicing with their poi and sticks that would normally be on fire as they twirled them. Nikita has a set of her own poi but was really into what one of the girls was doing so she asked a few questions and got a small lesson in return.

Performers in Byron park 

Nakita getting some lessons. 

The Byron bus rolling thru town. Apparently Nakita rented this for her 21st birthday! 

We grabbed some lunch and then walked towards a pub/ hotel on the beach in search of a power point to charge Rene's phone. On our way there I noticed a guy rolling an REI bag along side him, in front of us. I shouted out "REI!" But there was nonacknowdgment on his part. So I quickly ran up to him and said, "hey, where are you from!?" He kind of gave me the cold shoulder as he didn't look at me but just responded, "The USA" and I said back to him, "yeah I know because you have an REI bag!" That's when he slowly started warming up to me. We continued to walk at a brisk pace as I asked where in the states he was from and it turns out he did live in Oregon for a bit and he knows a girl that my little sister is friends with. Small world! What's even more interesting is that the exact street we were on is where I met Shasta in 2013 and she was from Oregon as well and we had mutual friends.

Selfie! Rene and I. 

So so we eventually made it to the pub and found Rene a power point. We enjoyed some more people watching but this time it was a bunch of dudes betting on horse races and just going CRAZY!!!! Cheering for their horses! I tried to record them but they were unknowingly quick to stop every time I was ready to catch them in action. Nakita excused herself to go outside on the patio and smoke but eventually Rene and I went in search for her because it had been awhile. Clearly she had found people to socialize with and that's exactly what happened. An entire table of guys in their late 20's, 8 or 9 of them joined buy the 3 of us girls. They bought us a few rounds of ciders (the ciders are so much better here then they are in the states!) and eventually they bought 2 baskets of waffle fries for the girls to try. They had never seen or heard of these before so I encouraged that order. I'm not big on fries but those are always good and crispy ones!

This is most of the group. 

The guys decided I looked like Ronda Rousey the American UFC fighter and I think I was able to convince a few who had a bit to much to drink that I actually was her. So they continued to call me Ronda for the next few hours until we parted ways. They also thought Rene and I were 27 so we went with that too. I don't know what they thought of Nikita. Probably the same age as us. I'll admit, I enjoyed messing with them and taking on that name for a bit. 

The guys insisted I put him in a headlock. It was a playful headlock as he was pretty drunk and basically let it happen. 

The party at our outdoor table was called to an end after one of the guys grabbed the shoe of another guy at our table and tossed it out on the street. Security came over asked the guys to go get the shoe and not come back in. So the the rest of the guys left and they begged us to come with them but we had other plans that didn't include their young drunken party. 

I had Laksa for dinner, a Thai dish that's really good and apparently non existent in any Portland Thai restaurant. 

The 3 of us girls went for dinner and then grabbed Nikita's poi from the car and took them to the beach to play with and so I could try them out. It was dark by this time. 

Let me just say that they are way easier and its much more relaxing when they aren't lit in flames! OMG! I thought it'd be really easy and then she lit them up and I thought, " shoot! The synthetic workout shorts I'm wearing are going to go up in flames!" Nikita then decided to take one away from me and just let me practice with one. I did alright but I've got some more time to put in on them. Dang! I was really hoping to be a natural at those too! Ha! 

Nakita. 

Me with only one poi. If you look carefully you might be able to see my arm in there too!

As we walked back to the car, from the beach we passed thru the same park as earlier and there was a new group of hippie performers. They saw Nakita's poi and fuel and asked if they could have a try at it. Typically this type of crowd is very grateful and chill about sharing stuff like that. It was pretty much the opposite here! They started coming up and just grabbing the fuel like it was their own, using way to much of it and then we watched the poi as it was passed from one person to another. When Nakita asked is she could try the sticks (I'm sure there's an actual name for them) they said no and continued on with their flame throwing tools. Eventually she got ahold of one but it took some convincing. We got pretty tired of the overall vide of this crowd, collected our stuff and headed out. It was kind of a buzz kill to such a wonderful day in Byron. 

This post was supposed to include NZ in it as well but apparently I just have to much to say about the Gold Coast. Imagine that, me having to much to say!? Never at a loss of words, here! 

Some fat Pelicans sitting on the light pole. 

So I'll just wrap up the Gold Coast with the highlights of what else I did. Rene drove me to this fancy housing area that was pretty cool to see. It's a huge neighborhood on an island that you get to by crossing a bridge. Almost all the homes have the bay as their backyard and a huge yacht docked next to their home. That's how the other half lives, I like to say. 

The yacht behind me was the biggest one we found outside of a home. 

We had a Bbq at Ryan's house with his parents and his Canadian girlfriend Teresa. He met her in Maylasia where she is a teacher at a Canadian school. She had come to see Ryan and visit Australia for the first time. I really liked her and I think his parents enjoyed meeting both Teresa AND I. Ryan's dad had lots of questions to ask me and really enjoyed giving me a hard time about... Anything! It was quite funny, actually! His mom is in the funeral buisness, cremation to be exact so she had some interesting stories to share. 

When I had about 3 days left in Australia, Nakita handed me a prepaid sim card she had, for my iPhone. She works for Vodaphone and had this unused card, apparently waiting for me! It has like 15G of data, unlimited calls in Australia and the USA and $100 worth of credit to call to other countries. When I'm out of Australia it'll cost me $5 (aus which is like $3 usd) a day to use it and if I don't want to use it and pay the $5 then I just keep it on airplane mode or I take the SIM card out and put my USA SIM card back in. I just keep it on airplane mode. That's easy enough. Also... It's good for a year. Thank you Nakita! That was super cool of her and something that will be very useful to me. It's at least nice to know I have the option to call anywhere if I need to in a pinch. 

Rene and I spent the last night I was there stomping along the shore line activating the phosphouresents in the sand. We turned it into a long walking, stomping and a bit of skipping adventure to a kola public art piece and then turned around. We did this instead of driving an hour and 20 min each way to glow worm caves that Rene told me about. We were going to go but I decided against it because I could tell we both would have been fighting sleep trying to get back home. I got a good enough description of the caves and I think I made the right choice. The beach is always better! 

Lighting up the night with our beach walk!

The next morning we got up and went for a long bike ride down the Gold Coast. That bike ride should have happened every morning, it was so beautiful and fun. It litteraly was a pathway down the entire coast line and there was tons to see along the way, besides just the ocean. We went as far as Main beach/ Surfer's paradise and then turned around due to time, we hadn't had breakfast yet and the sun was really starting to pound down on us. 

Sunrise outside Rene's flat. We ran out outside one morning in a massive hurry because we could see a dolphin from her kitchen. Once we were at the beach we walked along the shore as it continued to bob to the surface. 

I look like I'm having way to much fun! 

The ocean's bay and pedestrian/bike path

A stop to enjoy the surfers

Heading back through surfers paradise.

Selfie with the koala I discovered the night before. 

A bounce park in the water! So cool. For kids and adults. 

Before going to the airport to Rene and I made one last beach trip. This was a new beach to me and supposedly the best beach, Coolengetta. I left Australia with my skin being the brown-est it's been in a very LONG time! 

One last selfie at coolengetta. 

I said my goodbyes to Rene and I was off to NZ, arriving into Wellington at 12am Tuesday night/ wends day morning, however you want to look at it. Rene was a wonderful host and I really can't wait tell she comes to visit me in Oregon. I'll definitely show her an adventurous time! We definitely met for a reason on the flight to Australia in August. 

Travel day! 

Good bye Australia! It's been real! 





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