Day Trip to Brisbane
Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
244Trip End Dec 23, 2008
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The bus station in Surfers Paradise is literally next door to my hostel, so within a few steps I was there. What happened next wasn’t actually planned, but I kind of expected it to happen anyway. Viivi my roommate from Sydney had travelled up on the bus from Sydney, and was due to arrive at 12. I glanced down at my watch and saw the time, 12:03! I cringed at myself and hoped she wouldn’t appear anywhere, if she spotted me I was sure she’d think I was some kind of stalker!
Of course you’ve already figured out what happens next! Yep, I walked round the corner and who appears, the roommate from Sydney! I dived behind a pillar and thought about whether I really wanted to pop out. I genuinely hadn’t planned to meet her off the bus. I’d woken up at 11, then got ready and come out.
I decided rather quickly that she wouldn’t think I was a weirdo, and popped out from behind the pillar. She noticed me and came running over. The whole scene looked like it was out of some kind of Hollywood movie. I may yet sell the script! Cringing at myself somewhat I said hi and asked if she fancied going to the beach sometime. She said yes and I left her to call her new hostel.
I disappeared out into the morning sun (cloud), and escaped into a Subway joint. Yes of course I still haven’t figured out which bus goes to Brisbane, but I certainly wasn’t going to risk meeting anyone else in the bus station!
Fortunately the bus stop I found myself at had a number for a travel line. I called it up and it told me told me I needed the 745 bus to Nerang Station, then the Gold Coast line train up to Brisbane
I caught the 745 bus which took about 30 minutes to travel no more than 10 miles. It seemed to be picking up from every hotel complex available. Eventually I arrived at Nerang Station, Nerang is obviously a smallish town inland a few miles, but still part of the whole Gold Coast City area. The train to Brisbane arrived after about twenty minutes and I was on my way up the coast.
The ride wasn’t really scenic, and the weather was mediocre, the sky was grey and the sun nowhere to be seen. It took about 70 minutes to reach Brisbane, which would have been more like 30 if the train had been capable of doing more than 50mph! At no point did it actually feel like it was moving fast at all. I guess the tracks must be old or something, or maybe the people are just a bit slow here and don’t want to be rushing around.
Brisbane’s transit centre was no different to any other I’ve ever been to. It was a pretty bland eighties style building, which encompassed trains, buses and taxi’s. I had no idea where the ticket office was so I set off in search of a city map
Eventually I found Elizabeth Street, at which point I discovered the ticket store was hidden further inside a shopping mall. More investigations revealed it was in fact very well hidden inside the centre. Half an hour later I was still doing laps of the place! Feeling rather sweaty and worn out I asked a guy at a newsagents and he told me the Ticketek place was just outside the mall. Moments later I found it and wondered why an earth this fact wasn’t mentioned in the address somehow!
After a wander round the streets of Brisbane I was ready to head back to G.C. I retraced my steps back to the station and waited for the next train. Unfortunately it was the peak hour journey, and I had to stand most of the way. This was made more difficult as I’d bought a couple of books at a discount store near the station. The amount of commuters about reminded me of a typical London -> Peterborough journey back home
Eventually some of the robots left the train and I managed to grab a seat. I say grab as it was a case of musical chairs without the music, with the added complication of not stealing a seat that should really be given to an old age pensioner or disabled person!
It was at that moment we stopped at a station and a man in a wheelchair rolled himself up towards the door. The doors slid apart and I wondered how an earth he was going to make it across ‘the gap’ to the platform. I half glanced to the other passengers to see whether we should help him off. But then he asked a man if someone was on their way. After a few more seconds a station worker assisted the guy off the train, but not before almost cocking it right up, sadly the doors opened right next to a bench and the wheelchair could barely travel down the hastily created ramp.
As the train pulled away I realised how silly I’d been for being depressed over my less than ideal roommate. I had legs, and I could do whatever I wanted, I was also in an amazing country having the time of my life. This guy was screwed, reliant on people to do most things for him. I realised just how good my life was, and vowed not to get down about insignificant things like a floor that wasn’t vacuumed!
After arriving back in Surfers I remembered my laundry situation, I’d got to the point of having zero clean items remaining, so a trip to the nearest laundrette was essential. I saw one just over the road and headed over with a bag full of clothes.
I’m becoming fairly astute with commercial laundry machines, and even profess to know the various manufacturers. What sat before me was a pretty standard machine so I threw everything in and worked out when it would finish. What I didn’t read was that the laundry closed at 8pm, and it was now nearly quarter-to! As 8pm approached I wondered how strict laundries were, would they turn off the machines and leave me without clothing for a night? I thought this was unlikely, but still a possibility!
A security guard arrived at about five past eight. Remarkably though he just told me to turn the lights off and shut the door when I left. I thought about whether I should attempt to dry my clothes in the dryer, but didn’t want to push my luck! When the job was done I moved the wet clothes over the road and up to the laundry on the fourth floor of the hostel.
Whilst waiting for them to dry I stood outside and admired the view over Surfers. It was a dry night with a slow northerly wind. I felt pretty satisfied with myself, as I always do when I get round to completing the laundry! Whilst I was ironing Viivi the Finnish girl from Wakeup in Sydney called, pleased to hear a familiar voice I agreed to meet her at one of the million bars in Surfers Paradise.