Friday, March 2, 2012

City Escape

After only 9 days in the bright lights of Brisvegas (seriously, people call it that), Martin was ready to get out and see some countryside. The real reason for his wanting to be a country bumpkin for a day - and he would never, ever admit this - is because he wanted to get behind the wheel of an awesome [rented] car. His dreams of immediately purchasing a sweet ride were recently crushed, as our permanent apartment doesn't offer a parking space, coupled with realizing the instability that our 1-income-ness brings.

A quick trip to Avis and Martin got to fulfill his motorhead fantasies and I got a trip to IKEA. Win win win win win.

Martin pretty much demanded I post a picture of the car, since my readers would be about as interested in the specifics of the car as I am (read: hovering a hair above zero):

Make: Holden
Model: Caprice
Year: 2011
Random letter I don't understand: V-series

[The] one [and only] thing I did find interesting about Holden cars is that in the US they were sold as GM's, including Pontiacs. I love Pontiacs and think it's a damn shame that they don't make them anymore.

Raise your hand if you didn't know they didn't make Pontiacs anymore. Sad times for the American people.

Our one and only destination for the day (besides the Swedish embassy) was Mount Tamborine, which I pronounce like the musical instrument "tambourine", which probably makes me sound like a jackhole.

We have no pictures of the mountain. None. And that is so not our fault! It's the mountains fault because there is absolutely zero places to stop and take pictures. I thought this was Catering to Tourists 101. Had we pulled over to get a view we would 1) be unsafely parked on narrow, windy roads and 2) not get to see much of anything, anyway because the forest is thick so there aren't good views off the mountain. Damn environmental integrity over my flippant touristic desires.

The scenery was really pretty, though. Martin commented that it looked like Deliverance - not what I was expecting Australia to look like. It looked like California or England, you know, normal not-that-foreign places. I was expecting all Outback, all the time. I did not expect to see greenery! But there was oodles of it.

We went up to the top of the mountain and drove around a development of swanky houses. From there we actually did have an unobstructed view off the mountain and you could see this (photo courtesy of stolen-off-the-interwebz):

What is that settlement there in the distance? we wondered. Surfer's Paradise was my guess. But there was no time to debate. It was closing in on 10 a.m. and I had been up since 6:30 without a bite to eat. Things were getting critical. We had to get off that mountain, and fast. I was starvin' Marvin.

Martin had planned ahead of time where we would lunch, and we had to get there stat. This meant we had to go down the side of the mountain we came up, which I think did us a disservice when it came to getting the whole Mount Tamborine experience. It turns out there's stuff down that other side, like a winery, a forest canopy walk and other things taught in Catering to Tourists 102 and above. I'm not too sad about what we missed since I know we'll back, particularly when Martin's car ownership fantasy is realized.

The place we ate was a kitschy little restaurant/souvenir shop that was so little and so kitschy that it doesn't even have a website. It did sell baby onesies that said "I heart boobies", though. So you know it's legit.

While eating our gigantic delish burgers we did some research in to what we had seen from the top of the mountain and it was, in fact, the city of Surfer's Paradise, and it was only a half hour away. It was 10 a.m. and we'd pretty much done what we'd set out to do for the day so, really, we had no choice but to make the journey.

And I'm glad we did! Because I got to do this:

The water was gorgeous, green and clear. Here's another gratuitous beach shot in honor of the recent blizzards in the Upper Midwest, just so I can rub it in real nice and good:

Some people, such as the 10 people who commented on Facebook "OMG I can't believe Heidi went out in the sun", might accuse me of disliking the sun. And those people are by and large correct. I am not a sun worshiper at all but something about the sun, sand and water was infectious. We hung out for a long time watching the various happenings of the beach, which included several very old, very fat people wearing Speedos and bikinis.

I actually enjoyed myself. No doubt will get melanoma and die from it one day, but it was fun while it lasted.

I couldn't help but bring up Renwick Dam, which is the first and virtually only beach experience I had growing up. I absolutely loved that place, still do, and given the choice between Renwick Dam in Pembina County, North Dakota or Surfer's Paradise in Queelsland, Australia I'd probably have to pick Renwick. As Martin says all too frequently, "You can take the girl out of North Dakota..."

After giving our SPF 30+ sufficient mileage at the ocean (it is the Pacific in case you're wondering, I, too, had to ask) it was time to head back in the general vicinity of the city and stop at Ikea along the way. Usually I am 100% game for this shopping trip because Ikea means one thing to me = MEATBALLS!

Well it means 2 things to me, the other being brat-ass children with parents who wouldn't dream of keeping them in line, and unfortunately on this trip I got way more of #2 than #1. Boo. I was too full from our early lunch to indulge in the meatballs and lingon berry (not cranberry) jam, which is nothing short of a tragedy. Plus we had actual shopping to do, which always blows hard.

Our furnished apartment (more on that later, with pics!) is conveniently not furnished with any kitchen equipment. That blows even harder. We have to start from scratch and equip everything. "Oh, but Ikea's cheap" you might say. Yeah, well, we dropped over $400 and I wouldn't consider what we got a huge assortment. So now I'm poor and don't get meatballs. And that fricken kid is screaming at the top of his lungs while his mother just leisurely strolls along. Awesome. Life is grand.

**slips rope over head**

Time to GTFO of Ikea and get back to the city. We had 2 hours before the rental agency closed and what is quite possibly the most craptacular GPS in the history of satellite navigation. In this time we had 50 pounds worth of bulky kitchen equipment to drop off at our temporary apartment, find a gas station (really surprisingly difficult to do), fuel up the car (no pay-at-the-pump, hello 1992 nice to see you again) and navigate back to the car rental agency, all with a GPS that is a fraction above inoperable.

All that still sucked less than listening to that damn kid scream.

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