Sunday, July 25, 2010

I have no baby, Dingo not interested.

2010 July 16-18th


I get up early, not knowing exactly how long the walk would take for me to get to the school and across campus with all my bags. I waited on a curb where we were all supposed to meet. Familiar faces began to appear around me. the courtyard was full and it was time to leave. We walk the two blocks from campus to where the buses are parked. We climb on and take seats.

Now would be a good time to tell you that I was with one hundred international students traveling to Stradbroke Island off the Sunshine coast. Stradbroke, or “Straddie” is a sand island separated from the main land. A 40 minute ferry carried our buses with about 40 minutes of driving on the front end and 20 minutes of driving on the back. The foliage along the road reminded me of Jurassic Park and I completely expected a T-Rex to knock our bus off the cliff. Preferably the first bus. Because I was on the second.

p.s. the T-Rex attack did not happen.

We pull up to the resort: Anchorage on Straddie. It looked… meh. Not impressed. We were assigned our rooms. I was with four complete strangers in a suite on the top floor facing the ocean. We open the door and I’m blown away. Full kitchen, bar, laundry room, two huge bedrooms, bathroom with Jacuzzi and two leather couches in the living room surrounding a 30+” TV.

Then we step onto the balcony. The most beautiful blue mass stretches out in front of me. The courtyard below has a pool and cooking area. The breeze takes the edge off the heat from the sun and this is bliss. The trip was worth the money, just for the view.


Lunch followed: all you can eat burgers. Something about it reminded me of my mom’s meatloaf.

Then our group was taken up the coast of this small island town and we were dropped off at some cliffs. We saw dolphins, eagles, a whale and… I’m having a hard time finding words worthy of what I saw. But that’s the point of this, isn’t it? To make you see what I see. The giant waves breaking against the 30’ and 40’ cliffs showering us in saltwater mist. The wildlife danced and played not even concerned with the intruders parading through their paradise.

When the walk was over, we had three options. Take the bus back, walk back on the beach, or walk along the road and stop at the liquor store. There was a very high level of expectation from the people in charge that a large portion of the trip would be spent drunk. We walked along the beach.

The sun sets early right now because it’s winter. The dying light played across breaking waves as the tide rolled closer to us. The water was incredibly warm. 20 degrees Celsius, or about 70 degrees Farenhiet. I laugh when the Australians say it’s cold. The sand is so pure and white. So untouched by the destructive hands of man. Strict rules for preserving this land are in place to make sure it stays just how it is. I like this. And when it’s so beautiful, it’s hard to think that anyone would disrupt or hurt this place. I get back to the resort and we all head to the liquor store. Please keep in mind that I’m in a culture where drinking is socially acceptable in a way not recognized by Americans. It is possible to drink socially and responsibly without the need to be trashed. This wasn’t the case for a lot of people this weekend.

It was probably 1.5 km (about 1 mile) to the liquor store which was underneath the pub (more like an upscale club in Portland than what we would consider a “Pub”). Along the way, about fifty Flying Foxes or Fruit Bats flew over our heads, blotting out what was left of the light. I knew I didn’t have light to really take pictures so I left my camera at the room. I regret this now. We picked up some alcohol. Beer mostly.

We returned to the dining hall for dinner, ate and repeated the same answers to the same questions. Now remember: most of the non-English native speaking students have spoken English for a very long time. However conversations seemed to like this with very little deviation.
Hello, my name is … what are you studying?
I’m studying…
I’m from … and you? Oh the states!
And similar questions like you learn in the first quarter of any foreign language course. But as soon as the formalities and scripted parts were finished we’d have very full and rich conversations. A few times people mentioned being nervous talking to an American. Fear of being judged or making mistakes seemed the biggest reasons why. Which is a shame because the reason most of them are here is to improve their English skills.

The party started in our room, room 32. A few people came in. we had a few drinks and then went to the beach. It was dark and hard to see so we had to a lot of reintroducing of ourselves. We watched someone do some fire stick twirling. But after a while it was really cold and I had to pee, so we headed back to the room. The party moved back in there as well. The night finished.


I apologize for this being more factual and a simple regurgitation of events. It’s taken me a while to get to this and a lot of what I wanted to focus on has been forgotten. I’ll add some of my favorite pics from the trip hopefully to make up for it.

The following day started out with sea-kayaking. Which was awesome. I love it and asked Kyle (my roommate from CWU) to start doing it with me. We followed this with surfing. We had some good waves to get up on. But more or less I spent the time getting knocked down by the wave I’m on, or by another person. My teacher’s name was Clasha. How awesome is that?


The day thoroughly wiped me out. Twenty minutes at the party in room 31 (not 32!) and I was done. I went in to my room, climbed into bed next to the giant doors that we left open. I fell asleep to the sound of waves and cool ocean breezes washing over me. I apparently was so out of it, I missed all the fun and commotion that happened all night in our room. And I hadn’t been drinking. Haha thanks.

Our last day was a relaxation day. I laid out in the sun, met some more of the other students and took zero pictures. Instead I was just lazy and a little more tan than before. So we leave. Head to the ferry and that ended the weekend at Straddie.
Again I apologize for the tardiness (“Don’t use such language in front of Abed!”) of this post and will try to do better from now on.



1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures James, I'm really glad that you're keeping us up to date so regularly, but I hope it never takes away from your experiences there. They seem incredible and it's making me hope that I can get out and do something similar.