‘G’day mate!’ said the immigration officer at Sydney airport, after a long, torturing que (perfect, I was so in need to go to the toilet). Luckily, he stamped my passport after checking me in less than 30 seconds. It was such a contrary to the paranoid system in the US, which always takes, well, forever.
Australia was me and my girlfriend’s transit on our way to go diving in Fiji. We decided to spend a week in Aussie, driving from Sydney to Brisbane and ended it with never-ever-gonna-happen-in-Jakarta U2 concert at Suncorp Stadium.
Back in Sydney airport, a Middle East staff welcomed us at Europcar car rental, with no smile (He also made me walk a long way to my car only to realize that the bloody guy had given me a malfunctioned GPS, and walked back to get it replaced, managed to force him to give me an apologetic smile and walked back again to my car).
I will skip my story about Sydney, as it’s a common city that many people have visited, but please enjoy some of the shots :).
Our first day trip from Sydney towards north wasn’t very interesting, but I always like road trip. After driving a half day, we decided to spend the night in Port Macquarie, a pleasant beach town with touristic atmosphere. For some smart reasons, I suggested to have Thai for dinner, as the restaurant looked pretty crowded. After dinner, I realized, ‘What was I thinking? A Thai food in small town in Australia?’
Anyway, let me tell you one thing about my girlfriend. She loves bottled water and always have enough endurance and loyalty to buy and carry the bottles. So we bought two big ones after dinner, and suddenly changed our mind to have a little walk. I hide the bottles in a bush near the traffic light and assured her that they would still be there after we got back. Well, we later found out, that one bottle was still there and another one must have been gone to somebody’s throat while laughing at me, joining my girlfriends’ winning smile. I called it even though (and less to carry, ha!)
The next day we stopped by at Crescent Head. The beach was lovely but we decided not to stay long. We continued to Yamba, also a little town, for a fresh seafood. With a full stomach, we continued to Byron Bay. This town was much more touristic, with nice beach, pubs, and lots of souvenir shops, with most of the items were, of course, made in China.
The next day, we arrived in Gold Coast. Its famous beach, Surfer’s Paradise, is miles-long, tourist-packed, a party-goers destination. Thanks to their loudness, I slept less than 4 hours. Many of the surfers don’t think it’s a paradise anymore, but it was still lovely and affordable.
We also tried the Warner Bros Theme Park and the Sea World near Gold Coast. I enjoyed them, but both didn’t impress me much. My suggestion would be, have more Americans in the management. They know how to thrill and entertain.
At last but not least, we arrived in Brisbane. My girlfriend was so happy to have a washing machine at our rented apartment (another thing she somehow loved beside the bottles) and get prepared for the U2 concert.
The concert venue was only half an hour walk from where we stayed. I found our walk in the afternoon quite pleasant and we just followed the crowds. Most of them wore jeans and trousers though, which surprised me a bit as it was quite a warm summer.
The concert itself? Awesome. You’ve got to be very big to have Jay Z performed as opening act when half of the audience were still queing for hotdogs and souvenirs. The stage, the lighting and the multimedia were absolutely stunning. The band was kicking and rocking, the same spirit as 20 years ago. The sound could have been better though.
We stayed for two nights in Brisbane, eating Morton Bay bugs and get lazy, before taking off to Fiji. Bula, Fiji!