I think I have some sort of jinx on me --in the best way possible-- since the last two times I posted about not making friends, I very shortly after did in fact make friends! This is a very good jinx, and I may have to start posting every time I get to a new place to complain about not meeting people since it seems to be working wonders for me. This all came about when yesterday’s rainy weather forced everyone to seek shelter in the dry comfort of our room, so I got to meet a bunch of new girls. Two from different parts of the UK, one from Minnesota, and one from Germany (go figure). Of course, the German girl ended up being the one I hung out with that night (no surprise there; I am a Germ magnet), and we went down to the hostel bar for some $3.50 jungle juice and a few rounds of Bingo. Sadly, we came up empty handed, and there were some really good prizes on the line, including a free scuba dive and a big load of cash, but it was still fun to be social for once and experience the hostel's nightlife scene.
When the crowd moved out to go clubbing after, I decided I would rather go to sleep so I could wake up early and do the walk to the lighthouse, and I’m so glad I did. I was up at 6:30, and even though the once-blue skies were completely covered with dark clouds and the weather forecast called for a 90% chance of rain, I knew this was my last day to do it and wasn’t going to let anything stop me.
On the way up, I started worrying that I was going the wrong way when the distinct path turned into a gravel road and there were no more signs pointing to the lighthouse. With the help of a kind local, I made it to the top where I was once again blown away by the views. It was so very beautiful, as everything here is, and I took about a million pictures every five steps.
After admiring the view from lighthouse, I continued on the path leading to the the most easterly point of mainland Australia. I walked through what felt like a rainforest, and the combination of extreme humidity and never-ending stairs nearly killed me. I kid you not, my hair was half-straight going into it and was even curlier than usual when I came out, just to give you an idea of how sticky and hot it really was.
The coolest part of the whole endeavour was that I saw not one but TWO wild kangaroos… or so I thought. I was so dang excited about my kangaroo sightings that I told my hostel-mates as soon as I got back. My heart was crushed when they bursted my bubble and told me it was most likely wallabies I saw and not roos. After they described the ever so slight difference to me, I had to agree that they were, in fact, wallabies. I really thought I was having an authentic Australian experience when I saw them, but I guess wallabies are pretty Aussie too, so I’ll take it. Still on the lookout for some kangaroos and koalas!
After my eventful rainy morning, I hopped on a bus to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. I’ll admit, my first impression of the city wasn’t great, and when I got off the bus I felt like I was in a sketchy area of Miami. This city is actually described as the Miami of Australia, and the whole ride in I thought it reminded me of Florida. Now I’ve never actually been to the sunshine state but from what I’ve seen, it looks a lot like this.
My hostel is very nice, clean, and modern. The beds are quite separated which is great for privacy but not so great for meeting your dorm-mates. The girls in my room don’t seem too friendly and couldn’t even force a smile back at me, so we will see if that changes over my two nights here. I'm not all too concerned because the best part about my hostel is the fact that there is a… wait for it... all-you-can-eat VEGAN Indian buffet right beside it. Literally right beside it. Yup. Anyone who knows me knows I loooove a good buffet, especially the unlimited kind with an abundance of vegan foods that I can enjoy without having to worry about the ingredients. I'm sure you can already guess that I went there for dinner tonight and let me tell you, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. I had pasta, lentil daal on rice, veggie curry, quinoa salad, creamy cheesy potato bake that is somehow vegan… and you know I went back not just for seconds but for thirds. When you pay for all you can eat, you have to go back as many times as your stomach can possibly handle. I am already dreaming about going again tomorrow night. I ate way too much and I am now way too full, but when opportunity knocks in the form of all-you-can-eat vegan goodness, you definitely don’t complain about the noise. And to my father who is concerned with my protein intake, rest assured that I got more than enough with all the lentils and tofu and the quinoa salad that was labeled “super protein", so don’t you worry.
I walked around a bit before my dinner, kind of out of a desire to explore but mostly just to burn off a few more calories in order to get extra hungry so I could take full advantage of the buffet. I found myself at yet another incredible beach while the pink sunset peeked out from the clouds. It was lovely. So while my first impression of the place was “meh”, tonight’s walk about and dinner definitely changed my mind. I am looking forward to spending a full day here tomorrow and seeing what it’s all about.
Catch ya later!
Byron Bay lighthouse walk: