The Gold Coast

Trip Start Nov 06, 2003
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Trip End Jan 24, 2004


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Monday, November 17, 2003

Bronwyn, her dog, Ozzie, and I walk the ten minutes from her place to a bakery in Broadbeach before Julie and Emma get up. We snack on croissants and various unfamiliar but tasty bakery items and laze about the pool for the morning.

Just before lunch, Bronwyn drives us up the coast past Main Beach to The Spit to eat crab sandwiches and chips. Australians have a less viscous ketchup they call tomato sauce, or just "sauce." All cafes and take-outs in urban centres seem to charge by the packet for it, up to 50 cents a shot. My niece Ellen, who eats ketchup with everything, would put her family in the poor house living here.

One advantage of having to purchase sauce: you get rid of some of the change in your pocket. Although Aussies have eliminated the penny, the rest of their coins could pull your pants off with their weight. The fairly discrete $2 coin is one of the smaller, with the 50 cent piece likely to be banned at airport security as a weapon.

The mellow white sand of the Gold Coast stretches north towards Brisbane in one seemingly continuous beach from the New South Wales border to this Spit at the mouth of the Narang. Across the channel is South Stradbrooke island, as pristine now as the Gold Coast 50 years ago, before being transformed. Development is constant along the 30 kilometre stretch, but the small overrun seaside communities still demarcate changes in the wealth and hedonism of the various regions. Bronwyn's place at Broadbeach Waters (on the inland waterways of the area), is only a few stone tosses from Kirk and Jodi's flat half a block from Mermaid Beach but the change in property values and wealth is obvious. At the top (or bottom) of this status scale is Surfers Paradise, an uber Waikiki of shining (often interesting) highrises, casinos and celebrities.

Bronwyn and her family live at various spots along the coast right into New South Wales, so several come for a barbecue to meet The Canadians. Our friends from Victoria, Kirk and Jodi, are invited along as well. They all regail us with great Oz stories as the sun sets and fruit bats bigger than seagulls wing inland in their leathery multitudes.

We finish the night by watching England trample favoured France in the second rubgy semi-final.
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