137 – Gold Coast Trip

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The alarm rang at 5:25am. I snoozed. I didn’t sleep well, I always don’t when something exciting was going to happen the next day. The second alarm rang, and I remembered that it was the start of our holiday! I sprang out of bed, attempted to wake T up, and then went straight for a warm morning shower.

T was still sleeping when I was done. “Bby, we’ll be late if you don’t wake up.” He groaned for a bit, blaming me for keeping him up the night before. Eventually, he rolled out of bed and got ready.

6:15am – It was when we were supposed to leave home, but we were just finishing up our coffee. We did a mental check on the things we needed to bring one last time before rushing to Southern Cross station. Fortunately, we caught the 6:50am SkyBus. (Almost didn’t but we did, phew! The plan was an even earlier bus, which we obviously missed.

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The airport was bustling when we arrived about half hour later. A quick check on our flight status, and we noted on 20 minutes of spare time. We had a second round of coffee fix.

It felt weird to fly domestically. The concept that the airport is like a bus interchange is something I am not familiar with. Flying in and out of Singapore always requires the stamping of a passport, so it was a little unsettling to board a flight with the officer just scanning my boarding pass without checking it against my name or my face.

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Two hours and five minutes later, we reached our destination! T grumbled to me, saying that I cheated his feelings – I mistakenly thought that the flight was an hour for I didn’t take into account the hour difference in time. I protested for a bit, before apologizing and giving him pecks on the cheek. His frown went away, and we alighted from the aircraft.

They didn’t call Queensland ‘The Sunshine State’ for nothing: Glorious warmth greeted us immediately once we stepped outdoor! Oh, I never felt so happy to get kissed by sunshine, with the promise that temperature will not drop to below 15 degrees within an hour…

T called the car company, Jucy, to send us a shuttle to transport us from the airport to the car rental office. Shuttle came, and the lady driver was very cold. She got even weirder subsequently, when she keyed in T’s car license details and requested for a translated version of his card. Singapore’s first language is English and the details are in English, so we didn’t understand what she wanted. Fortunately, after telling her thrice that we don’t have what she wanted, another officer told her Singapore’s card doesn’t have a translation.  “Are people from Gold Coast unfriendly, or is this lady racist?” I asked T, once we were in our rented car. He shrugged.

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“Hi, how are you?” welcomed the guy behind the counter. Okay, maybe the lady before was racist. I returned his salutation before ordering. He smiled handsomely and said the food will be served to our table. Reviewers have given Grocer & Grind high scores, and once we tasted the burger and coffee, we understood why.

At 11:30am, we reached our hotel, Mantra Circle on Cavill. Our room wasn’t ready so we roamed around the shopping area behind the hotel. First thing we bought was a pair of slippers each! It’s been 10 months since we wore slippers – all thanks to Melbourne’s weather – so it took us at least an hour to get comfortable. Our toes seem to forget what it feels like to clip themselves around the straps. Anyway, $15 for Kustom’s slippers made out of organic and recycled materials was worth it.

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We squeezed in a massage session before returning to the hotel to check-in. I didn’t remember what room we booked a month before, so I was caught off-guard on how stunning our room suite was! It was spacious with minimal décor and comfortable furniture, and the view from the balcony was simply captivating…

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After absorbing the good vibes of the suite, we went to Surfers Paradise beach. The sand was so fine, it made squeaky noises as we walked on it. The clouds shaded us too much for my liking. But the soothing sound of the ocean made up for them. I expected more people to be at the beach, but there weren’t. T told me it’s because we came after the schoolies’ week. “Good timing then!” “Yeah, Lisa was telling me that Gold Coast would be really crowded and rowdy if they were around.”

Later at night, we checked out Black Coffee Lyrics, “an award winning café with a funky vintage-chic vibe”. It has an odd selection of art pieces hung on the walls which somehow complemented one another. Hipster music was in the air, from Florence and The Machine to The Lumineers, and I decided that this was a cool place. T and I ordered fried chicken, chicken pasta, and coffee. The chef himself served the food to us, and to our delight, everything tasted delectable! (Okay, some parts of the chicken were too salty, but let’s just overlook that.)

It was about 10pm when we left the café to walk around. The nightlife didn’t seem as vibrant as Melbourne’s or Singapore’s. Only a few joints were opened, and they weren’t crowded. Perhaps it’s because it was a Sunday? Women invited us to go to their strip clubs but it didn’t feel like a strip club kinda night. And hah, T was suffering a little ‘cause Gold Coast has strict smoking policy and he wasn’t allowed to smoke while enjoying drinks and desserts. So we headed back to our room, to enjoy various views from the balcony instead.

***

“Wow, such a nice view to wake up to,” were T’s first words in the morning. “What? I can’t see shit. I couldn’t see shit last night either.” “Sucks to be you,” he responded, knowing very well how bad my eyesight is without my glasses.

“Ugh, there’s no toothbrush and toothpaste!” I called the hotel reception, and the guy informed that we had to bring or buy on our own. “Ugh!” I exclaimed again, before giving T some puppy eyes. He changed into nicer looking clothes and went to get buy the necessary from Woolies. “Have breakfast ready when I’m back.” “Okieee…”

We had disgusting breakfast. Clearly, we did not think thoroughly when we bought the roasted chicken last evening. We had the impression that it would taste like Giant’s spicy and succulent roasted chicken. We were wrong. But we were hungry, so we ate what we had to eat.

About 2 hours later, we found ourselves driving to Movie World. Just as we entered the carpark, there was a couple with a baby pram right in the middle of the road. I think the man was adjusting the baby. “Oh my god, that’s my ex!” I gave the woman a second look. “Which ex?” T reminded which. “Oh haha, okay. If we bump into them, we should say hi or something.” “Wonder what Nisa would say if I told her we bumped into this ex.”

We never bumped back into her and her family again that day. What we did was take a lot of kiddy rides and one scary adult ride. If you’re on T’s instagram, you’d probably have seen a video of me screeching on the adult ride, heh.

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I’ve never been a fan of thrilling rides. Often I ask T, “Why pay to get scared?” He said it’s fun. I believed him when we went to Universal Studios Singapore in 2011 – I ended up puking after riding the roller coasters. (Yes, coasterS. He made me try all the horrifying rides.) Somehow, this time round, he has developed a fear. “Are you sad we didn’t take more rides?” “A little disappointed ‘cause you are the one who’s supposed to encourage me to do this kinda crazy things. But it’s okay. I was bloody scared when we did the Wild Wild West ride – Halfway through, I was cursing to myself and regretting the ride!” “Haha, yeah, you were screaming super loud! We’ll take more rides at Wet’N’Wild tomorrow, k?” “Hehe, okay…”

7:45pm and our stomach was growling. We were in our dressy clothes, waiting for the waiter to bring us to our table at Citrique. We didn’t think we had it in us to go for a buffet restaurant ever again, after some bad experiences. But we did, and we had a great time! The spread served was splendid, especially the seafood, and I would only give a thumbs down to the dense cakes.

We were driving back when I saw a sign to Macintosh Park. The child in me giggled out loud, associating the iPhones and MacBook to the park. Afterwards, the adult in me giggled differently, associating Mac to a whole new meaning.

“You know, sometimes I can’t believe I’m married to you,” I stated, as T parked the car. “What do you mean sometimes? You say it all the time!” “Tsk. Hah. Yeah, okay, I say it all the time. It still feels surreal.”

***

We planned to catch the sunrise at 4:30am, but I couldn’t wake up. I barely opened my eyes when T informed that it was too cloudy and then complained that it was very warm. I went to the air conditioning switch in the living room, and saw that he had the heater instead of cooler on the night before. I made the changes. I went back to bed. I woke up proper 3 hours later.

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We had a hearty breakfast at Paradox Coffee Roasters. Coffee could have been made better (I think Melbourne’s coffee has spoilt me, and I’m gonna be a snob about it.) but my ricotta hotcakes were spot on! Fresh fruits plus fluffy cakes equals to a fantastic combination. And the cost is about $5 cheaper than the pancakes in Melbourne. Again, online reviews have been justified!

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It took us about half hour to reach Wet’N’Wild. Excitement bubbled within us when we saw the rides. Okay, I didn’t really look at them, just gave them a glimpse before joining the queues, just so that I wouldn’t chicken out. You can say it’s either stupid or brave, but it’s what helped me get on almost every round! That, and my endless screams, hah. The rides weren’t as scary as the ones we had at Bali’s Waterbom early this year (OMG, those slides were frightening!!! I almost puke halfway down ‘Green Vipers’.) but they were still fun. And we were proud of ourselves for conquering the fear.

That said, Waterbom Bali is still our favourite water theme park ‘cause not only were the rides exhilarating, the management had put thought in ensuring our feet didn’t get burnt while we walked barefoot. Yeah, a lot of us were practically running around at Wet’N’Wild as the sun scorched the ground. (p.s. Waterbom Bali is #1 waterpark in Asia, and #2 waterpark in the world, you oughta check it out!)

We had pho for lunch before heading to Sea World. Initially, we were against going there since we’ve read on the animal cruelty, but we had spare time and sort of free entrance. So we went. And only stayed for half hour. Because it was boring. The only highlight was seeing dolphins right before our eyes. Even that didn’t give us much joy ‘cause of the abuse stories. It didn’t help that the penguin enclosure we saw seems to be badly maintained. We shouldn’t have gone there. Ugh.

It was about 5pm when we reached our hotel. I took a nap while T did his work. His work is pretty much a 24 hours job, and there is a degree of charm to have him being all responsible even when he’s away from his work station. We then soaked ourselves for the third time before he left for another round of massage and I blogged about the week before. And when he came back, we had pizza while watching ‘Please Like Me’. It felt like an ordinary evening.

We were supposed to meet some boys at midnight. T felt like he needed to rest his eyes for a bit, and motioned me to bed. “Y’know, if I accompany you, I may fall asleep too.” “Don’t. We have plans, you need to stay awake.” Of course, I accidentally slept, and woke up shockingly at 1am. I nudged him, “We’re late. And I feel too groggy.” “You sure you don’t want to go?” “Yeah, them boys don’t matter. I got my man here.” “Okay.” “But if we sleep back, we need to watch the sunrise tomorrow.” “Okay, we will.” “Promise?” “Promise.”

***

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“Is this the first sunrise we are watching together?” I asked. “Cambodia’s was a fail, so yeah, this is it.” We chuckled. It was beautiful, a 4:44am kinda beautiful moment. And later, we had a 9:03am moment too.

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We checked out of our room at 10am. We only had to catch our return flight at 4pm, so we did a little bit of shopping, or rather, T chose some clothes for me to try on and I bought all of them! We also lunched – we had real sweet and sour fish (real ‘cause the one I attempted to cook months before was a failure), and peppered calamari. They filled our tummies well.

Fast forward, and I was reading my book at the airport while T went window shopping. Beside me was a woman and her child. I didn’t pay them much attention, apart from noting that they are Malay and that the child is cute. They changed seats when the husband-dad came. And after a while, T returned to sit next to me.

Not long after, the queue for our flight started. We jumped in when the aircraft doors opened. “Oh my god, that’s my ex again,” T pointed out. “Seriously? Hahaha, she was sitting beside me!” I made a mental note to remember what T’s exes look like. “You should text her. If she’s coming to Melbourne, maybe we can have dinner together.” They exchanged a few texts, and eventually, she said that if there is time, it would happen. But from the looks of it, we were doubtful.

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We reached Melbourne at about 8pm. My goodness, it was bloody cold! It’s amazing how two cities, just 2 hours apart, can have drastic temperature difference. Amazing, yet  annoying af. We put on thicker clothes, exchanged our slippers for shoes, and went home. It was a really good trip, and I couldn’t ask for a better holiday to end the year with.

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