Saturday, September 19, 2009

Up and Down the Gold Coast

Yesterday: a poetic day by any measure. The sweetest poetry on the Gold Coast is the riot of bird song that greets in the morning. I am sleeping in a little alcove in Leslie and Shane's rambling and idiosyncratic wood frame home at the pinnacle of Elanora, and beside my head is a screen door that allows the sounds and the sweet early spring air to caress me as I sleep. And because sleeping on vacation is one of its best arguments, this arrangement is, well, poetic.

So yesterday was a focused trip up and down the Gold Coast. Elanora, where I am staying with family, is slightly inland and at the southern end of the Gold Coast, Queensland's sun, sand, water tourism mecca. We set out northbound, a snug five in the family Hyundai, heading to Surfer's Paradise and ultimately the Spit. I was vaguely expecting a slowly modernizing beach resort with a bunch of strip malls and old haunts. Was I in for a surprise.

photo of the skyline of the Gold Coast from a beach across a body of waterThe Gold Coast is an explosion of high rise haunts for the rich and proud and those who like to hang around them. You can readily see by the age of the buildings how rapidly the development has occurred. Bright and white-washed and modern as if there never was anything old. Not entirely unpleasant ... there is a breeziness and unaggressive self-assurance to Australian that makes is forward character so much more palatable than, say, the forward character of the aggressive American self-absorption. Not, of course, that any world traveler has not at some point or another had to move spritely to avoid a gaggle of Australian drunks. But the underlying warmth of Australia makes a place like Surfers' Paradise easier to handle than its Miami analogue.

Oh, yeah, and then there are all the bods ... man ... living the life of surf, sun, and water makes the dudes damnably pretty ... head-turners all about. I didn't have time for the candid people shot thing ... that takes patience, stealth, and solitude. So I only managed this one shot of the beach crowd. You get the idea.

photo of a skiff anchoreded off the SpitWe ended up on a still natural sand peninsula called the Spit. Hot. Seemed like the sort of place I would want to bring the dog at dawn for a long walk before mad Mr. Sun would start to burn a hole in my good mood. Two young guys pulled up in a rant-a-skiff and we watch as one of them anchored it to the sand. He walked up the rise and kept looking at us ... evidently he wanted a greeting and Shane gave him one. Again, a national sort of consciousness ... I have always felt that Aussies act as if they are all involved in a big happy conspiracy that they know about and everyone suspects ... but everyone else just doesn't get the punch line. Good natured, open to a good time.

Later, wandering around Surfers' Paradise was a lot more like the world-o-glam-tourism that leaves all of our clan cold. We were on a collective anthropological expedition, and we had a nice time doing it.

Gotta fly ... off to the Ipswitch classical steam engine train. Will try to catch up later this afternoon.

Photos by Arod ... plenty more when I get time to process them. I'll upload a big batch to Flickr and let you know.

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