Monday, December 15, 2008

Sitting on the dock of the (Byron) Bay- Part 1

I'm finally getting around to writing about Byron Bay, which is funny considering it's not like I've had anything important keeping me from it. It's just a loooong story to write and I'd rather watch DVDs of 'Miss Marple Mysteries' while eating oatmeal. Because I'm 70.

Now before I start, I have been repeatedly told by one of my travel companions, "Omigawd, don't tell people about what we did on that trip!" Which makes it sound like we were on Girls Gone Wild or killed a dolphin with a speargun then sold it to a tuna company. There was nothing of that sort, the trip was PG-13 at worst, this particular friend is just very paranoid and Republican. Actually, both the girls (who I will refer to as T and C since they're so freaked out about even their first names being used) I went with are Republican. Not that it matters or I care, it's just hilarious going to one of the hippie capitals of the world with a bunch of conservatives.

Anyway, the trip started from Surfers Paradise, where T and I met up with C. They forced me to go to a super seedy club called 'Bedroom' where there are actual beds for people to lie down and make out/grope/whatever on. Classy! They played all the songs I hate, and I literally spent the entire time standing with my arms crossed looking grumpy while T and C danced around me. Of course there were the guys (and in one case, a really drunk girl) who pulled the whole, "Come ooon, smile! Dance! " I gave them the death glare and they backed the hell off. The only time I danced that night was when they played a Calvin Harris song and 'What is Love?' You know a club is playing terrible music when you think "Thank God for Haddaway!" If for some reason I ever become a spy and end up captured in enemy territory, all they'd have to do to torture me is recreate that place.

Later on, I was straightening the coasters on a nearby table and one of the waitresses (whose uniform is basically a corset, panties, and garters) got mad at me because making the coasters presentable is part of her job. So I messed them up again and she yelled at me even more. Not only am I the worst friend to go to a typical dance club with, but I may also be the only person whose slight OCD tendencies end up getting a Pussycat Doll wannabe angry. Fed up, I told T and C I'd meet them in an hour or so and went outside to take a walk on the beach. On my way there, I saw a snake trying to break into a poor cockatoo's cage. Don't believe me?

I had no idea what to do, I mean, throwing something at the snake is cruel and could also make it leap at my face. But I didn't want the bird's owner to come out the next morning to find feathers and a fat snake in the cage. So I took several pictures hoping the flash would confuse the snake, then ran away terrified. Might I add, I had no alcohol this entire evening, I'm just naturally indecisive and a bit stupid in certain situations.

After a wonderful beginning such as that, who knew what the next few days could have in store? (Hint: Many more awkward occurrences! This blog has the name for a reason.) T and C forgot to tell the Greyhound bus driver to wait for me while I got my ticket and it almost left without me. Thanks guys! They also sat together, leaving me next to a girl who spent most of the ride obsessing over my bag (which I made myself a few years ago). She even took a picture of it. It was simultaneously flattering and creepy. After dropping our things off at the awesome share house, we went to the beach in search of a lighthouse C insisted we visit. Have you ever gone to Washington DC and seen the monuments at the other side of the mall, then decided to walk because it doesn't seem too far away? But it's really 20 times the distance than you estimated. This lighthouse was like that.The following pictures are beautiful, yes, but they were taken over the course of a journey which took two and a half more hiking hours than estimated.

There was no way around these rocks, so we had to wade through a pool of knee deep water. It reminded me of when you have to ford the river in 'Oregon Trail.'

The lighthouse was nothing compared to the many Cape May and Jersey shore lighthouses I've been forced to see as the child of an architect. But it overlooked a nice view and I spotted some manta rays in the water below. (Insert horrible Steve Irwin death joke here)

It ended up being a good thing that we spent most of that first day outdoors, because the rest of the weekend consisted of torrential downpours leading to floods in parts of Queensland. That night, T wanted to go to a bar/restaurant called the 'Cheeky Monkey' because someone told her she'd love it. I prayed it wasn't another 'Bedroom.' To enter, you must choose between "Door #1: For sex kittens, groove masters, rebels, and bombshells" and "Door #2: For porn stars, secret service, show ponies, and comedians." I chose #1 purely for the rebel, but being a groove master would be pretty awesome too. If that wasn't fun enough already, a cheerful hostess gave each of us four raffle tickets, saying we're bound to win something between the three of us and asked if we'd like to order a slice of raspberry cheesecake for only $3. I was sold. Originally we were going to stay for an hour or so, but we ended up spending a good five hours there. Everything about 'Cheeky Monkey' was bizarrely mesmerizing. There was a raffle or stupid contest every half hour and in between, they projected music videos (of actual good songs with enough variety to make T, C, and I all happy, a rare event considering we each have vastly different tastes in music) on the wall. One of the better contests was seeing how many clothes pins this guy could put on his face while they played 'Take on Me' by A-Ha for no real reason.

I think it was 33 pins and he won surfing lessons, a mighty fine prize. One of my raffle tickets was called and I thankfully didn't have to do anything embarrassing. I got a $20 bar tab, woo. We decided to use it the next night since it was good for the rest of the week, but then C had a raffle ticket called and she won a $50 tab that had to be used up that night. Hahaha, OH NO! C and I don't drink much and the drinks we like are a bit more expensive anyway, so we each only had two. But ooooh T... She was a bit special that night.

C and I thought maybe we should head back, but then they announced the 'Male Strip contest' coming up. T told me she would bite me if we didn't stay for that. That was interesting, to say the least. Nothing full monty, but still blush-worthy, especially since the majority of the participants were 17 and 18 year old guys on Schoolies (the Australian equivalent of Senior Week). The best parts were T's reaction and that they made one poor kid strip to 'Barbie Girl.' We managed to get T back to the share house and I gave my $20 card to a German woman in the room next to ours.

I'm stopping here for now and I'll post the second half tomorrow. Go rest your eyes.

P.S. The guy on the computer next to me is practically screaming, "WAKEY WAKEY! SHAKEY SHAKEY! WHY DO YOU TAKE THIRTY YEARS TO LOAD?" at his computer. I'm trying very hard not to laugh.

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