A Golden Week in Australia

Golden Week in the Gold Coast started out rainy, as you might remember from the bonus story in my post about flying to Australia via Singapore. But before I get into my rundown of my vacation, a brief note about what Golden Week is.

In Japan, the end of April sees “Showa no Hi”, or Showa Day, the celebration of the Emperor Showa’s birthday. The start of May has three holidays in a row. This period is known as Golden week. Great luck to you if it falls right up against a weekend, because you’ll get five days off instead of two then three, with awkward work time in between. I ended up having to take multiple days off of work for this trip, I believe. Luckily, since I taught at so many schools, it worked out that I only took one day off from a few of them rather than many days off from one. But I digress. I ended up visiting my friend in Australia from April 29th through about May 8th, so it was a little longer than an actual week that I was there.

As you read in the bonus story, my friend’s family was kind enough to let me stay with them. They were all busy with work and school, as it was a regular week in May for them, but when they were free, they took me around town. I also borrowed my friend’s bike and checked out the local library and stores some on my own.

For the most part, my trip was fairly uneventful and, because of that, was quite relaxing. On the rainy days, I spent my time familiarizing myself with my friend’s home, trying to work the TV, sitting somewhere that her dog couldn’t climb up on me (I’m not a fan of dogs, though hers was sweet), and chilling on the computer.

I made a lot of tea, too, which I don’t often do. They had one kind, however, that I ended up liking that none of them enjoyed, so I had it all to myself. For the life of me, I can’t remember what kind it was. Something with rose? And vanilla? Not normally my flavors, so I’m not sure. Regardless, that tea was a significant part of my days there.

I went on a few excursions with my friend and her family. On one, we went to eat out lunch at an English pub, which was apparently brought over brick by brick from England. Afterward, we took a drive up a mountain and stopped for the view, where I had this lovely picture of me looking tired taken. (I often look tired, in my opinion, even when I’m not remotely tired.)

Mountain (Edited)

My friend showed me around with just the two of us, too. We got gelato at her favorite gelato place, walked along the beach, browsed shops, and went to a store she loved, where I bought my coffee mug for my collection. Australia: check. We also bought small goodie bags from the store. Inside were toys suited for children, but I kept them anyway.

2015.5.7 - Gold Coast, Australia

On another day, we took a walk along a path outside of what I believe was a nature reserve. We didn’t go into the reserve because we hadn’t brought enough money with us that day, but the walk was more than enough for me. It was beautiful, and we didn’t encounter many other people, which is always nice for me. Later, we stopped at a park and played on the swings and the play structures. Yes, we’re children.

After work and school one day, she, her mom, her sister, and I all went to another wildlife reserve. Unfortunately, at the late hour, it wasn’t open for much longer. We went to see the workers feed lorikeets, which normally fly down and cause a wonderful fuss among the patrons. Sadly, that day they chose to remain in the trees, so I walked around a little, saw a few animals through nearby fences, and bought myself another little souvenir–a magnet shaped like a boomerang. Why not?

Magnet from wildlife reserve gift shop

I also attended an exercise class at a trampoline park, something I had never heard of before. As I’m prone to motion sickness, the jumping made me feel ill here and there. Between that and my level of general unfitness, I barely managed to survive, but survive I did.

And that was my Australian adventure (or lack thereof). Now I have to get my friend over to visit me one day–when I’m actually in-country, though, of course, she’ll have to come visit me elsewhere, too.

Bonus Story!

Funny. So far only the tales about Australia have had bonus stories attached to them. Really, this one isn’t much of a story, though, only a note.

Australian. Internet. Is. Atrocious.

Or it was when I was there, at least. My friend lived in a not so small area, and the public library I visited had WiFi that worked for 20 minutes, cut for 10-20 minutes, worked for 15 more, cut for 15 more. It was horrible. Because my job in Japan was wrapping up in July, I was trying to make other plans; and as I was only days away from the final day to apply for a certain job, having the internet continually cut out on me added more stress to my already weighty load. You’d think that at a public location, especially at a library, the internet would be reliable.

Compared to the internet at my friend’s house, though, it was. My friend told me that all their devices would connect to the internet except one. Usually it was one of her mom’s electronics–an iPad, I think–but while I was there, it was my laptop. Without a shred of exaggeration, I kid you not, if my computer loaded five pages a day, I was lucky. I sat beside my friend on her bed, and we were messaging each other for our mutual roleplaying hobby. Her computer worked perfectly fine. Mine was lucky to send the messages at all let alone load other pages. I thought my internet in Japan was bad–and it was, considering I had to keep switching between mine and my friend’s in the next apartment over to get it to work (she didn’t have the same problem)–but compared to what I experienced in Australia, my Japanese internet was reliable.

Just thought that was worth noting. Do with that information what you will.

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