surfers paradise

Surfer's Paradise-Day 5

Day five started out a lot like Day four. I woke up to an empty room and did a bunch of nothing until Matthew came back from his coffee run around 7am. I really wanted to go back to sleep but my body wouldn't let me and Matthew's coffee chatter didn't help much either so I mustered up a lot of effort and went and sat on the balcony. We had surf lessons at 10 and I was pumped so I spent the next few hours reserving my energy.


Meanwhile Matthew ran in and out of the room doing all sorts of things. He had apparently walked the London girls downstairs at 6am, then got coffee down the street, filled his water bottle on the second floor, found the laundry room on the fourth floor, gotten change for the laundry machines on the first floor and then came back up to the room where he made me get off my bum to collect my dirty laundry. It was obviously a hectic morning for me.


By 8 o'clock Matthew already had our laundry washed thanks to the bottle of detergent Maria left behind and was back in the room with heaps of wet clothes. Again I got off my bum and helped him spread our wet clothes all around the room and on to the balcony. We decided it was a good thing we didn't have any roommates because our clothes took up the whole room while they dried. Undies, shirts, pants and swim suits laid out on display for all to see. I told Matthew I thought his bright blue underwear was the prettiest and he told me not to look at his panties any more.


At 9:30 I donned my clean and mostly dry bikini and also put on my wild printed cover-up which was a loose flowy shirt thing I had bought at KC's in Frederick. I through my hair in another humid, sloppy ponytail and completed my look with one of my signature headwraps. Matthew reminded me to grab my free surfing lesson voucher that I had got from the company the day before. I scored the pass because back in November when it was time to put down the deposit, I put down the payment in full and told the guy from the company that I really wanted to learn to surf. I think my voucher was his way of saying thanks for the commission. For the past five months I have been rubbing it in Matthew's face that I got a free surf lesson and he didn't, but as it turned out Nicole gave us both a free pass when we saw her at headquarters the day before. As soon as she walked away Matthew and I high-fived each other and giggled because we knew we totally beat the system on that one. Being the honest people we are, we decided not to correct the mistake.


When Matthew told me to grab my pass I might have panicked just a little. I couldn't find it. I looked in my planner, my backpack, my purse and my laptop case. The voucher as nowhere to be found. Matthew said this kind of thing happened to me because I over-organized stuff. We were supposed to be downstairs at 9:45 and it was already 9:42 so I gave up and told Matthew I'd just talk my way out of it. He told me it didn't work like that so I told him about my special winking powers. At 9:44 we walked ourselves down to the bench in front of The Bottle Shop where we were told a van would pick us up. When we arrived the van was already there and we were the last pick-up to arrive.


There was one other student in the van with us. I recognized her immediately.


“Hey were you in the hot tub last night?” She looked confused so I went into more detail. “I think we saw you swimming last night with your friends in the hot tub. It was you and three other girls.”


She looked uncomfortable for some reason but finally agreed that she had in fact been in the hot tub the night before. I went on to explain that Matthew and I stayed on the third floor and we had been watching her and her friends swim the night before. What I didn't say was that we were laughing really hard and treating them as entertainment because her friends had been super wasted and were yelling at the boys on the balcony below ours. The whole thing went on for about an hour and Matthew and I had a good laugh while we and other watched the commotion. It was kind of hard to miss.


After I finished explaining how Matthew and I had been watching her and her friends from the balcony above the pool I looked at Matthew and realized he was giving me “the look.” I hated getting that look. I always got that look, from everyone, all the time, throughout my entire life. “The look” means that Haley said something stupid, inappropriate or weird and needed to either shut up, back track or exit the situation. Most of the time I don't know why I am getting “the look” until it is explained to me what I did that was so awful.


This time I figured it out pretty quickly because our skinny long-haired surfer-dude driver turned around and jokingly said, “Well, that's one way to start up a conversation with a stalked them from your balcony and knew what they did the night before.” Thankfully everyone laughed and I realized that maybe I did sound a bit creepy. I thought it was funny but Matthew later told me that yet again I had pulled him in to an awkward and uncomfortable situation that he had no way of getting out of. I guess he was a stalker by association.


We picked up a few other girls at a different hostel and then drove about ten minutes up the coast to some beach. When we got there we all piled out of the van and joined some other students around a camper van full of wet-suit shirts and surfboards. A dude with a face covered in white sunscreen came up to where I was standing and looked at me while he gave us instructions.


“You can strip down to your suits and leave everything else here in the van. You won't need your backpacks, purses, headwraps or hippie clothes past this point.”


I did as I was told and put on a wetsuit shirt that a girl gave me. We then picked up two surfboards, one under each arm, with one person in between the front of the boards and another person in between the back of the boards. We carried the boards down a long path that led to a beautiful beach with waves so consistent you'd swear they were machine generated. It was here where we received our 15-minute lesson on surfing and surfing safety. Apparently it only take four steps to surf. You lay on the board flat, get up on one knee, put up your other foot and then stand up with your knees bent. We practiced the four steps on the sand for about five minutes before heading out into the ocean.


I was so excited to give this thing a try. I held my board close to my side just as they had instructed us and I slowly waded out into the water. The instructors were only about 50 meters out but the waves were still brutal. Every few steps I was hit with a rush of water blowing over my board and splashing in my face. When I got to the front of the line I watched two students try to stand up but they both fell into the water. I waded up to the instructor that had driven our bus earlier and he told me to put my belly on the board. I did as I was told and held on tight as I waited for him to push me out onto a wave.


“Here you go, stand up!” He pushed me towards the shore and I made it to one knee before loosing control of the board and falling into the ocean. Underwater I felt something like a karate chop hit my throat pretty hard. I stood up out of the water and gasped for air. I could breathe, but I was in pain. I choked up some water and spit a few times, double checking my body to make sure nothing was seriously injured. I then waded over to the back of the line and found Matthew standing there watching me.


“It chopped my...” I tried to yell out but nothing came out. My voice was weak. I waded a little closer and tried again but Matthew couldn't hear me.


“It chopped my throat.” I said just above a whisper and Matthew asked if I was okay and when I said I was we both laughed and waded back out towards the instructors.


On my second try I pushed myself to my knees and made it to a squatted position before falling off the board. I spit some more and tried to clear my throat so I could talk again but it was no use. I decided to not worry about it and to concentrate on my surfing. My voice would return before too long anyways.


My third try was close but I still fell off before standing up. On the fourth try I very slowly worked my way through all four steps and by the fourth step I was standing up in amazement. I laughed and kind of jumped with excitement which caused me to fall of the board. I was so excited though, I had done it!! Matthew had stood up too on his try. We high-fived each other and waded back out to the back of the line again.


After that first time standing I only got better and better. I found myself riding the waves all the way to the shore before stepping off my board into the sand. I felt so cool! Matthew and I laughed and said we were rippin' some waves bruh! We were both doing quite well at this. After about the tenth time I noticed the only reason I was falling was because there were other students in front of me who were in my path. I stepped off the board a couple times to avoid collision. Then I told myself it was just like snowboarding; once you get half-way decent at what you're doing, some slow poke skier runs in front of you and makes you fall down.


We rode the waves over and over again until the instructor with the white face told us we each had one more wave and then we had to return to shore. I didn't stand up on my last wave. I was dissapointed but I went to the shore as I was told. When I made it to shore I sat my board down and turned to see who else was still out at sea. Sure enough, Matthew was out by himself riding a wave with no instructor help whatsoever. I gave him a thumb and pinky surf's up sign and sat back down on my board.


When everyone had made it back to the beach we took a group picture and then walked back up to the van. In the van we watched a slideshow of all the pictures they had taken of us and were told we could buy the whole flash drive for $20. The instructor that had driven our van explained that there was a folder on the flash drive called “Suf” and that was supposed to be “surf” but he spelt it wrong. He laughed and said he didn't' want us to think it was an Aussie slang term we hadn't learned yet.


When we got back to the room Matthew and I each made ourselves a sandwich and enjoyed the fact that we had ate a meal that didn't cost $20.


I showered off and changed into some jean shorts and a tank top. We had a meeting at the bank at 3pm to open our Australian bank accounts. Robyn was the name of the lady we had an appointment with. She was super friendly and chatted with us the whole time. We talked about Matthew's dog and she learned the difference between a German Shephard and an Australian Shephard. Matthew told us that they were a similar breed and that they both came from Germany. When the Australian Shephards first came off the ship they were on a ship full of Aussies so someone mistakenly called them Australian Shephards and that was how they got their name.


Robyn was a Kiwi and she had two small dogs of her own. She asked us all about our travel plans for Australia and found our job opportunity on Kangaroo Island fascinating.


By four o'clock we both had an Aussie checking and savings account. She said they would mail us our cards in a few weeks to the Global Work and Travel Company and from there they would mail them to wherever we happened to be staying. We thanked her for being so friendly to us and then made our way back out onto the street.


We had two things to do, we decided. First of all, we needed to buy a pepper for our meal that night. Edward had left us with a pound of hamburger meat, an onion, a potato and chips and salsa so all we needed was a pepper to throw into that mix and we'd have another cheap and delicious meal. After finding WoolWorths we managed to buy one pepper. Matthew stuffed the bag into his backpack and made a comment about walking around with a pepper in his bag.


Our second mission was to go back to the store with the five dollar pants so I could get my money's worth of good style. We found the store no problem, but when I went to search the rack I had found them on, I discovered the sale was no longer on and the pants were now $30 each. I didn't want the pants that bad so I walked away empty handed.


After admitting defeat we decided to head back to the hostel for dinner.  I had signed up for a night tour at 7 so it was time to get back to the hostel and get supper cooking. 

When we got back to the room I  rushed around rapidly to change clothes and apply some make up. I found a black off the shoulder shirt I hadn't yet worn and paired it with some jean shorts and my silver sequined flip flops. I was putting on an extra layer of eyeliner when Matthew hollered from the balcony.


“Haley, come here you gotta meet our neighbors.”

I swiped another line of liner on my left eye and then quickly rushed over to the balcony.

“These guys are going on the night tour tonight too.” Matthew pointed to his right and there stood a guy my age with a red face and bleach blonde hair sprinkled on the top of his head.


“Hey! I'm Tannon. How are you?”


I introduced myself and asked about the night tour they were going on. It was the same one I was going on. Just then a beautiful blonde girl came rushing around the corner with the same half-faced makeup job that I had going on. We screamed a little and touched hands when we saw each other.


“Yes! This is going to be so much fun! You're coming with us!” She had an Aussie accent and an inviting personality to match. I told her I was so excited to have another chick to hang with and we squealed again before running our opposite ways to finish up our faces.


I finished slapping some gel in my hair. It was six fifteen. I hollered at Matthew and told him we needed to get supper going. He calmly stepped off the balcony and told me he was ready whenever I was.


I rolled on some perfume around my wrists, sprayed my hair one last time and threw my purse over my shoulder.  We walked down the hall and took the elevator down to the first level where the kitchen was. I loved the hostel kitchen. There was something surreal about being in a large kitchen full of other young people cooking homemade meals. Every time I felt as though it was a sign of hope for humanity—like maybe we wouldn't die of over-processed food and acid rain. 


I looked around and found a cutting board and a knife and began to chop the potato, the onion and the pepper. After each vegetable was chopped Matthew would gather up the pieces and throw it in with the meat. I would dump the rubbish into the bin and proceed with the next vegetable. Within 20 minutes we had a sizzling pot that smelled amazing. I had added in the remaining salsa and coconut milk and Matthew salted and seasoned.


I toasted two pieces of bread and then we made our way out to the patio where we had sat the night before. Once again I was filled with inspiration as I looked around and saw city lights beaming on dozens of backpackers eating their fresh made meals. When I finished eating it was almost seven o'clock, the time of which I was supposed to be at a certain business to start the tour.  I looked at my phone and saw that Tannon had sent me a message instructing me to meet them downstairs. Matthew and I cleaned our dishes quickly and then headed towards the elevator.

I walked towards the elevator and out walked Tannon and Grace. They made loud, happy noises and Grace gave me a hug and welcomed me on to the elevator. Matthew and Tannon chatted on the elevator ride down to the ground.  Tannon and Grace begged Matthew to change his mind and come out with us but Matthew declined. He said he was going to the store and then relaxing in the room. We all gave him a hard time before picking up pace and walking towards the business we were told to start at.


By this time it was nearing eight o'clock and when we got to the first stop a representative told us we had missed this stop and that if we went straight to stop number two we could catch the rest of the group. Luckily, Tannon knew exactly where to go so the three of us walked arm and arm towards it. 


I learned that Tannon and Grace were just friends traveling together and had experienced similar issued that Matthew and I had, meaning it was annoying that people always assumed we were dating our travel partners. Grace and Tannon were Aussies, the first I had met and I loved them. They were just like the stereotype I had heard about; loud, fun and very friendly. They were only in Surfer's for a week's vacation, after which they would return home to a suburb outside of Sydney. They were both teachers even though I found that hard to believe. Grace actually taught Kindergarten. I wondered what her students would think of her clubbing outfit.


When we got to stop number two a representative gave us a wristband and a voucher. We walked up some steps and entered into a place with lots of flashing lights. Grace said something to Tannon and then led me by the hand into the most amazing bathroom I had ever seen. I heard someone say it was a $1.4 million dollar bathroom and I believed them. The walls were a gold color and the sinks were covered in marble countertops. There was a crystal chandelier above each stall and the toilets had a rose pattern all over them. I sat down and studied my surroundings more. Everything was fancy and cool, just how toilet stalls should be! I snapped a picture for my friends back home before finishing up my business and reuniting with Grace at the fancy sinks.


When we got back to the main part of the business Tannon was super excited to tell us about his bathroom experience too. Grace then pulled us out on the dance floor and we swang our hips and tried not to spill our drinks. Once again, I was delighted to hear American music that I knew the words to. We dipped and bopped until someone announced that the night tour was heading out. We followed the crowd. Together a big mob of young people headed towards the next stop.  After a while we grew tired and decided to call it a night.  I went to bed thinking that day five was a huge success.