Friday Morning: Surfer's Paradise with Skyring

Next morning, the story of our Brazilian Hunk (who had come back in from his night out at about 5 am, just as I was waking up (this again was to become the pattern over the next few days – servalan and I decided it must be some sort of time-share scheme on the room… either that or he was a vampire) quickly spread around the other Bookcrossers in the Palace (and from there, to the Bookcrossing forums), and, helped along greatly by Skyring’s stories about hearing cries of passion in the night, gave birth to a new name for the hostel: “The Passion Palace”. Jokes about Brazillians became staple fodder for the rest of the convention – for someone we’d exchanged about two words with, he was providing a lot of entertainment! 🙂

Anyway, after finding some breakfast, servalan and I decided to go our separate ways for the day: she to seek out cheap books, and me to try and see a bit more of the area around Brisbane. At the Palace, I was checking out a rail map of the area, trying to find an interesting-sounding destination, when Skyring and steelman walked in. Steelman was in search of lytteltonwitch, who he thought had been heading for the Palace to meet us, but there was no sign of her. We discussed our plans for the day while waiting to see if she’d turn up, and steelman said he and lytteltonwitch were intending to take a train to Ipswitch, to see a rail museum. That didn’t sound like a huge amount of fun to me, so I said I’d probably take a train to the coast and see the sea, but didn’t know which coastal town would be most interesting. At that point Skyring chipped in to say that I really needed to see the Gold Coast if I wanted to see the sea. With my usual expertise in geography, I’d imagined that it was a really long way off, but it’s actually really close to Brisbane – only about an hour by car. And Skyring had just the plan to get there – we hire a car, and go to Surfer’s Paradise for lunch. He checked prices on the internet, found a hire place just down the road with a cheap small car available, and farewelling steelman, we set off to pick it up. On the way we stopped at King George Square, where I released Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields on a statue. As I was taking a photo for the release notes, someone grabbed me round the waist – it was lytteltonwitch, who said she’d got sick of steelman and decided to dump him for the day, so was trying to avoid him until he left for Ipswitch on his own. So of course we invited her to Surfer’s with us – not much chance of him tracking her down there!

We picked up the car, which turned out to be a manual… at which point Skyring mentioned that he hadn’t driven one for about 20 years, and might be “a bit rusty”. I don’t have a licence, and lytteltonwitch had never driven in Australia before, so we voted him still the most competent to drive, and off we kangaroo-hopped in the direction of the Gold Coast (actually, it wasn’t the kangaroo-hopping gear changes that were the real problem, it was his casual mention that he normally drives his automatic with two feet – so his automatic reaction when wanting to brake was to stand on the clutch…). Somehow, we made it safely, and went for a lovely walk along the beach (again, all the locals were bundled up in their winter woolies, while lytteltonwitch and I were happily paddling in the sea – it wasn’t quite warm enough to swim, but it wasn’t far off!). I, of course, had to do the yuppie thing and phone MrPloppy just so I could say “Guess where I am?” and gloat a bit about the white sands, blue skies, etc. The beach was pretty spectacular – I can see why everyone wants to go there for their winter holidays. But at the same time, I can’t imagine doing so myself – I think I’d be bored stupid within about a day. A morning walking on the beach was just enough for me. Luckily for the Queensland economy, not everyone thinks like me – the high-rise hotels and apartments stretch along the beach as far as the eye can see (literally – Skyring pointed out some towers way out on the horizon, and told us that was the border with New South Wales), and there were cranes everywhere building even more.
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Once we were sick of the beach, we found a pub overlooking the sea (not difficult – everything in Surfer’s seems to overlook the sea) and had some lunch, watching people walking past on the beach below (guessing who was a local and who a tourist by which season they were dressed for), boats and kayaks passing out at sea (no whales, though), and even spotting a couple of the famous beauty-queen “meter maids”, which I’d always thought was a joke in the same category as drop bears, but no, they do exist!
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I released Ghost of a Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz in the pub.

After lunch, we headed back to Brisbane, stopping off on the way at a few op shops (and two real second hand bookshops) in search of more books for release (like I really needed more books!). We got back to Brisbane at about 4 pm, and dropped off the car. As we got back to the door of the Palace, coming from the other direction we saw servalan and a crowd of other Bookcrossers who’d arrived over the course of the day: thebiblioholic; catsalive; charbono; k-j-h; Jenny-G; fushmush; and TramGirl. We spent a while chatting and using the internet in the Palace’s lounge, and then it was time to get ready for the start of the Second BC-AUS Convention.

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