Surf’s Up

An update is definitely in order. It’s been a long week of school – lectures, assignments, and studying. I spend lots of hours in the biology library on campus working on species cards, the Heron Island research report, reading questions, and studying for the Australian Culture exam.  Yesterday, October 19, we had our final in Australian Cultures.  I can’t believe it was already time for a final!  I really enjoyed the course, our Professor Murray was a ‘real Australian’ with an explicit knowledge of history and culture.  We learned about the founding of Australia, societal transitions, Aboriginal culture, the gold rush era, sports, and politics.  Our exam was simple – respond to 3 questions in writing.  I breezed through reciting learned facts and explaining scenarios.  Afterwards, I stopped in the Art Museum on the UQ Campus.  We admired how the nice architecture of the building and enjoyed the great exhibit inside.  It was modern Aboriginal paintings – something that I’ve found a nice interest in.  There is a gallary on Queens Street that I’ve stopped in.  This one had a whole exhibit of different artists and sizes of paintings.  Afterwards, we met our class in Red Room to celebrate being done with a final and the weekend.

To prepare for my weekend, I returned home to pack my new hiking bag from Kathmandu for a quick trip down to the Gold Coast for the night.  John, Kyler, Ann and I met at the train stop at Roma Station – well tried to all meet at the same time train.  We ended up missing the first one and catching a later one to Burleigh Heads, the beach we went to after Lamington with John Hall.  We had wanted to make it to Byron Bay this weekend, but the time restraints, expenses, and distance persuaded us to go somewhere closer in Queensland.  Burliegh’s Head is a good place though and easy to get to through translink.  So, we arrived late in Burliegh’s Head and found the campground.  John brought a tent and set it up in the dark with.  This proved to be a little more difficult than expected – we unfortunately cracked one of the steaks, not entirely in half, but enough to cause a big bend, whoops.  Swag tent.  We were able to all fit inside without it collapsing but were certainly close – knifed.

Packing up our 4 bedroom, luxury suite on the beach in the morning after a great sleep

We woke early to the sunrise, packed up the tent, and went across the street to the beach.  It was windy but the warmest weather we’ve had thus far.  High of 30C… 86 F, but it was also humid, you could see the moisture in the air across to Surfer’s Paradise.  We spent most of the morning on the beach napping under the sun’s rays.  We took a break for coffee at a beach hole in the wall expresso shop – the line took forever but the coffee woke us up enough to play on the beach.  The guys brought their boards and hopped on a few waves.  We then went across the street for lunch. There were cute surf shops, heath food stores, and boutiques along the main street.  The culture there is really different than Brisbane.  There are groups surfers everywhere.  Shoes are not required on the streets.  Instead, lots of guys ride around on longboards carrying their surfboard.  I enjoyed getting a sense of this culture as we sat for lunch and explored the shops.

I returned to the beach to toss around a rugby ball, collect shells, and check a major thing off of my to-do list: SURF!  Or attempt to surf.  After a morning of admiring all ages of surfers make it look easy – it’s not.  I borrowed John’s board, attached the leash to my ankle, and he took me out into the waves.  I paddled along out into the surf with the waves crashing over.  When I turned the board to go, I rode one wave on my stomach and tried to hop up, unsuccessfully.  After a few more times, I realized I wasn’t going to get it – the conditions weren’t good, I had no practice, and I was learning on a short board.  Oh well, it was still fun being out in the water and trying!

The extent of my surfing career

We made it back kind of late tonight all bronzed and sunkissed.  I’m just taking it easy tonight, updating this, and questioning why my host dad is gardening at 11pm….


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