When one thinks of a surfers paradise, visions of tropical islands, hula girls or guys, umbrella drinks, grass shacks, hammocks and perfect glassy waves peeling off an easily accessible point with nobody out surfing. Coconuts dropping whenever one needs a little more food to complement the lobsters which have just walked up on the shore. The town of Surfer’s Paradise seemed to be lacking most of these things. Umbrella drinks not withstanding. Instead it appeared more of a Capitalists paradise with tall buildings lining the shore. Lots of bars, cafe’s, fast food joints, surf shops, and all the stuff that goes with wealthy ocean side resort living promoting tourism.
Found the hostel easily enough. Not too far from the station. Little pricey. $38 is a lot for a hostel in shared accommodations. Considering that they had free wi-fi and…wait for it…free washers and dryers AND laundry soap. Must say was tempted to do the laundry just the night before but it was over $10 just for the wash & dry without the laundry soap. (Listened to the little voices in my head again and they did not steer me wrong.) Super. They said that no one over 35 is allowed in a 12 share dorm. Said I was 34. Guy laughed a bit. Said there was one other guy in a four share room. Said great and took the deal. The room was OK with 2 bunk beds. The bottom bunk was actually a double bed. Score! With two pillows no less. Settled in.
Noticed my room mate had a similar duffel bag. It was a water proof North Face bag. Had shoulder straps, but no wheels and no compartments. Something like that would be great for motorcycle trips. When my room mate showed up he was a nice French guy, mid-twenties, 6 foot and maybe 170 lbs named Omar. Big smile and a good sense of humor. Saw my rolling duffel and asked about it. Showed him some of the features and explained how it was given to me. He asked jokingly if I wanted to trade. For travel mine was far superior. For white water rafting or canoe trips his was. As it was near the time when the need for travel wheels would come to an end, I thought, why not give it to him. Agreed. He couldn’t believe it! He was so happy. Said he had a few hours to think about it and if he still wanted it it was his. Seems such a small thing, but odds are the organizational features will change his life in some small fashion. Hope so…good karma and all that. The down side was that all of my gear would have to lugged around for the next few stops. Oh well, sure it wouldn’t be too bad, we’ll see.
That night was a pub crawl sponsored by the hostel. We ould go to four bars, cover charges included and a drink at each one for $25. OK, surf was not good so why not? Made a few friends before we left. 5 Irish guys were sure to be amusing. Sprinkle a handful of beautiful young ladies from all over the globe who like to dance and the night held definite promise of a swell time in Surfer’s Paradise. Won’t bore you with the tawdry details of the pub crawl…but it wasn’t over until the wee hours. Good times.
Next morning was up and packed. Fond farewells were heartfelt. My new buddy Omar didn’t want to see me go. Touching. (Oh those Frenchie’s) but hey, would have liked to stay a few more days here but Byron Bay was calling. Put the load on the shoulders and started out for the station for a 3:45 pm bus. Had tried to find a rolling cart for the bag. Only one found was at a luggage store for $40. Wasn’t even a cool one. Passed on it and thought to just tough it out. WELLLLLLLL…yes, …you gotta be tough to be dumb and no good deed goes unpunished.