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Smile, because you can

The first two days down under have been fun.  Not crazy fun but truly relaxed and enjoyable.  I think that’s the Aussie way of life, at least here in Queensland.


After landing in Brisbane (BNE) I took the Airtrain down to Gold Coast, a city of 750,000 that feels more like 1.5 million.  The train was simple to use, just one transfer and the people helpful and happy to help a foreigner find their way.


The Hilton Surfers Paradise is right in the thick of the heart of Surfers Paradise, a neighborhood of the larger Gold Coast city.  The morning lattes are strong, staff very friendly and the highlight of the room is the balcony overlooking the beach.  The most notable thing about the hotel is that I am staying in level 13.  That just doesn’t happen in the States…the Aussies must have different superstitions 🤷🏻‍♂️


Day one was meant for exploring and shopping.  The largest Billabong store I’ve ever seen, a men’s clothing store where I scored some very deeply discounted Hugo Boss shirts, add in the favorable exchange rate it was almost like stealing them.  (The exchange rate is about .66 on the dollar)


I went to Chameleon, a local gay bar that was hosting comedy night.  In typical tourist town gay bar fashion, there was more bachelorette party crowd than LGBTQ patrons, and the comedy was…acceptable, so it was a quick trip.  An evening stroll along the beach and I turned in around 10:30p, exhausted from the ~25 hours of travel to get here.


Awake at 5a, I signed onto the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association Board meeting for a few hours, attended to work emails and then set out to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.


Doing the required “get your photo taken with a koala” was the first order of business, followed by wandering the grounds and photographing the animals.  After a few hours, I made my way to the nearby Currumbin beach and the Vikings Surf Life Saving Club for an Aperol Spritz (Happy Birthday Allie) and a lunch of a Crispy Friend Chicken Burger, described on the menu as “southern style chicken breast with pineapple, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato & chipotle mayo served on a milk bun with chips”.


On the Uber ride back, my driver told me, to make anything Australian, you add a slice of pineapple to it.  A local specialty even adds pineapple to Chicken Parmesan.  I am unsure if I’ll try that delicacy, but I may…why not?


Afternoon of day 2 was spent on a beach towel, at the beach, without a care in the world. Leading to todays title, simile because you can.


The holiday has been lovely.  Relaxing+ Carefree.  I’ve been so impressed with how nice the Australian people are.  The modern architecture of the city is a beautiful contrast against the natural beauty of the area.


I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but the hardest part of life here is knowing which direction to look when crossing traffic.  They drive on the opposite side of the road in the opposite direction, so they make left-hand turns on red lights and it just messes with me.


Other than that, life and the cost of living in comparison seems pretty darn similar.


What’s not similar, to anywhere else I have ever visited is how soft the sand is.  It’s like walking in golden-colored powdered sugar.


So as the sun starts to set on day 2, day 2 is really just beginning.  I am about to climb the iconic Q1 building, the tallest tower in all of Australia. The climb starts at level 77 and then climbing up to the eagles nest located at the highest point of the climb, about 270 meters above the earth (a tad over 885 feet in the sky).


I am unsure what the evening will hold, other than the strong likelihood of Asian cuisine.


No plans for Saturday.  It’s supposed to be very rainy here so I’ll like go to an art museum or find some other indoor activity…maybe a massage too.


Here are some of my favorite photos thus far, including several from my “People in Places” series.


PS - the climb went well. It was fun, in a beautiful sort of way. Not scary, but beautiful. Smile if you can, right.


-Cole from Colorado



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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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