After leaving Byron Bay, I headed to place on Australia’s Gold Coast, a strange name for basically a massive stretch of city along Australia’s East Coast. Curiosity got the better of me and I ended up the a place that struck me as simultaneously familiar and alien.
Surfer’s Paradise is notable for several reasons: one is for its beach side skyscrapers and Miami style landscape, two is the distinct lack of surfers considering the name, and three is the nightlife, which can be closely summed up as Australia’s version of Magalluf.
So as anyone can imagine, this wasn’t my idea of paradise. But I was curious, and I wanted to experience a hostel night out on the town Australian style.
And lo and behold, it felt exactly like every other night out I’ve ever been out on – some good music, some bad music, some awful dancing (especially from me) and an excessive amount of drinking. There’s also the usual grinding and bumping of bodies between people and a good time is had by all. Maybe not by the guy vomiting his guts out on a bouncer, but overall its your standard night out.
And I had fun. Maybe some people hostel don’t believe so as I have a face that shows a smile once every solar eclipse, but I enjoyed myself, went back to a shitty hostel (I’ll explain below) and carried on with my evening by sleeping under the influence.
That is, until the bed started rocking quite ferociously and realised that the girl beneath me had brought back a very special friend, and spent a very special evening with them.
Which wouldn’t bother me in the slight, except I happen to be on the bunk above them while they fucked.
Now aside from two people’s blatant lack of understanding of the concept of privacy, the thing that fucked me off the most from this was the blatant lack of respect for every poor fucker in the room.
And it struck me in that moment, that there were several types of traveller on the road, and Surfer’s Paradise is very much a haven for one type I would rather not spend time with.
So far I have met interesting people everywhere I have gone. I have met hostel workers filled with life and compassion, I have met surfers utterly at ease with the world, fellow travellers on the road to see and do interesting things.
But one I saw a lot of so far, and one I cannot fathom, is the working holiday party goer. The kind of person crashing in hostels, knocking back litres of Goon (cask wine that’s dirt cheap and ultra nasty) and playing Beer Pong in every hostel they visit.
Now, before I get called a prudish cunt let me be clear – I enjoy a good drink and fucking about as much as the next guy. I don’t so much enjoy it every day, nor do I want to do it on a daily basis when all my money is being splurged on one place and the next. Its a luxury for me, one I’ll indulge in with the right people and the right place.
But these types of travellers manage to do it every day, every moment, and spend eternity seemingly in a haze of “PARTEH!” and fucking anything that moves. In particular on the bottom bunk at 2 in the morning. While you’re on the top bunk.
And that’s fine. If you’re 18 and in Fresher’s week.
But when you’re 24 and University is a few years behind you, you kind of feel a bit…out of place.
OK maybe this point is just me so I apologise for sounding like an Old bastard. But I suppose I am getting old and tired of familiar experiences – hence why I legged it half way across the planet.
Partying like this, in another land so far removed from ours, seems like a colossal waste.
You’ve spent god knows how much moving to a new world, away from your old one. You’re living in a different way, going to different places, meeting different people. Your mind should be exposed, open to possibility.
Instead, you’re spending it doing exactly what you could at home, only instead its got the novelty factor of more detached strangers and more exotic surroundings.
But at the end of the day, you’re still wading ankle deep through split drinks and most likely vomit, pretending to dance to music you think is OK, but you’re drink/drug addled mind is too busy trying to think of how to best fuck that guy/girl in the corner. And if you don’t act soon, your sense of balance may realise its not on the ceiling and remind you gently by flailing you across the room as if you’re on ice.
And that definitely loses its appeal when you’re in a country where a bottle of Corona can cost over ten fucking dollars.
So what’s the point? Fun right?
Yeah of course!
But how long for?
Days? Weeks? Months? When does the party end? When should it end? If it ends, what do we do next? And why the hell are we doing it on the other side of the planet where’s there’s far more interesting shit.
And my entire experience of this place was that – a mad desperation to stay relevant, to prevent the inevitable come down for when it inevitably has to end.
The city feels like that restless desire to stay relevant. It’s quite small city centre with its tacky attractions (pinnacle of which is an amphibious duck shaped bus that drives out into the sea), endless kebab shops and super clubs. Bars and nightclubs all have a relationship with the hostels, all of whom promise a “life changing night” and offer all sorts of overpriced deals for the same shit you could do anywhere.
You have “7 Dimension” cinemas, water parks and random tours everywhere, on every sign and every available space. The space exists to draw your eye, but beneath the towers there exists….not very much at all.
It’s all so vacuous and shallow, a consumerism front loaded on the edge of paradise. And much like the party goers and the nightclubs, the town wishes to stay still in perpetual adolescence, avoiding the real world as long as they can.
I can understand that desire. I know that desire – just a different mechanism that’s all. And one day, sooner or later, the surfers of this paradise will need to move on from their haze.
So did I – to head to Brisbane and Noosa – two very different places, both far removed from the Gold Coast.
Xander – Signing off again. It’s bloody hard to write, upload and do these in line with the actual times I’ve been here.
So coming soon! Noosa and Brisbane, Rainbow beach and Fraser Island, and soon the Whitsundays.
So stay tuned!