Phillip Hong
2 June, 2009
Before I left for Australia, a close friend of mine had asked for a very simple souvenir to bring home: a vial of sand that had come from an exotic place. Fearing unspoken hostility from an otherwise sweet person, I had ventured on a Qantas plane to collect such an interesting item.
The Gold Coast of Queensland, a somewhat long drive from Brisbane, was the ideal candidate to collect this specimen. With around seventy kilometres of beach along the Pacific Ocean, it was also paradise for the many hordes of horny teenagers who had arrived for "Schoolies Week" (a similar event to Spring Break in the United States and Canada). I was hoping not to encounter one of those interesting crowds.
A surprisingly quiet experience.
The seventy-or-so kilometres of beach proved to be a wonderful thing. I stayed in humble accommodations at Mermaid Beach and the Pacific Ocean was a stone's throw away. The enchanted sand from the enchanted beach that my female friend had desired to have was within clear reach.
The vial was more like a glass jar with a partially fixed-on lid, but that's more sand for my dear mentioned friend. For avid shoppers, I had bought this jar at a store in suburban Brisbane.
The sun was blazing. My legs were frying in the harsh Australian sun. They usually don't see the light of day as I wear pants at home all the time - which explains why they looked so pale! The heat was bearable, surprisingly, and I took a leisurely stroll in my socks and sandals to the clear Pacific blue.
If sand was a commodity, then Australians would be oil barons. One could imagine a Ford truck loading up sand just because of its vast amounts. All I needed was to fill that glass jar.
I bent over the ground and filled said container, and along the way I had filled my sandals with sand as well. The colour was amazingly bright and there was nothing but sand and sea... along with a few buildings. The Gold Coast even has its own skyscraper, Q1, which can be seen in the horizon like the CN Tower from Downsview Park back in Toronto.
I had fulfilled my promise to my dear female friend. I live to see another day. To quote Dido: "I've still got sand in my shoes".
This section of the Travel Guide presents an interesting view of the "land down under" by a traveller from north of Toronto. Thanks to some great weather and experiences, we can present you this special section and associated photo gallery.
Photo Gallery
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