The day has dawned beautifully, full of sun and light. So we step out onto the streets to start exploring. Meandering through the streets, the first thing we come across is a statue. It’s of an incredibly small looking man, ironically named Bruce Small. Born in New South Wales, he was responsible for making Malvern Star bicycles into a household name in Australia. He bought a share in the business at the age of 24 and along with his brothers, built cycles at a rate of five per week. WWII affected the supply of parts for the bicycles, so they started manufacturing many of their own parts. After the war, the bikes became popular among die-hard cyclists and at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Ian Browne and Tony Marchant won the gold medal in the Tandem on one.
Later on, Bruce became somewhat of a property developer after he bought 40 hectares of flood-prone mangrove land on the Nerang River on the Gold Coast. From 1958 to the mid 1960’s, he pioneered canal developments which were based on the methods used on those is Florida in the United States.
He was elected the Mayor of Gold Coast in 1967 with the motto “Think Big, Vote Small” and remained in office until 1973. He was then re-elected from 1976 to 1978. After a series of storms which battered the Gold Cast in 1967, he was instrumental in promoting the GC as a family holiday destination through promotion of the Surfers Paradise Meter Maids, which were established in 1965 to attract tourists back to the area. You can see these meter maids a mile away with their glittery barely there costumes.
We make it down to the beach with its holiday masses spread along the sand and bundled in the waves. It’s blowing a bit of a cool breeze so you won’t catch me in there for dear life, but it certainly hasn’t stopped others. There’s a massive surf life saving presence here, flagged areas clearly defined and guards on the look out at all times, but amazingly it still doesn’t seem to deter some people from swimming in the wrong areas (outside the boundaries of the flagged areas). Just so you know, the red and yellow flags mark the safest area to swim and is the area patrolled by the lifeguards and lifesavers – so if they can’t see you, they can’t save you if you get into trouble.
After a few bevvies at the surf lifesaving club across the road (you gotta support them right!), we head of again and this time end up at Helm situated on a canal waterfront. The surf life saving club is here too and straight onto us as we walk in the door offering us wads of raffle tickets all for a good cause. A good amount of the prizes is given out when I decide to channel my positive energies into winning. C’mon, you can do this. Unfortunately I must have picked up some of my sister’s vibes because I do win a prize, but it’s the chocolate bag! Oh no!!!!! I was kind of hoping for the meat tray or the vegie tray, but hey, you can’t knock back a winner! And I’m sure I’ll be popular later back at the apartment! Haha.
Bulging bag of chocolate in hand, it’s back out on the streets, but it’s not long before we spy our next activity – glow bowling!
For $3 we get a pair of funky little socks.
And they have amazing little milk crates filled with four bottles of Midori mix for $25. They go down a treat and take me back to the old days when this was the drink of choice on a night out.
It must be said that I am hopeless at bowling. I just can’t get it together. But I really enjoyed this session, even if I did suffer a minor casualty.
So how do you top glow bowling? Well, with a bit of a bet on the pokies and a game of Keno over at Vegas. I’m not really into gambling, but we got three drinks (two beers and a wine) for $14! What a bargain. You can also grab a cheap meal here for about $10.
I’m no stranger to the pokie machines, but I’ve never played Keno before. You fill out a little sheet with how many numbers you would like to bet with, the actual numbers, how many games you want to play and how much you want to bet on each game, then the numbers come up on the screen just as if you were watching lotto at home and bingo (or should that be keno?), you either are or aren’t a winner. I’ve clearly had my winning streak for the day cause there’s no money here for me at Vegas.
We head home for pizza and even more Midori, but the poor offerings on tv, soon see us head back outdoors to the Beachfront Markets. The markets open from 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and hosts a number of stalls selling all sorts of things from jewellery, clothes, metal sculpture, food and the amazing wax hands.
First you dip your arm into a bucket of cold water for 20 seconds, then your arm is submerged in wax quickly before being plunged into water and back and forth about three times until the layers are built up into a solid form. The wax is then pulled off your relaxed hand, the base smoothed out and attached to a platform (if you wish) and then dipped in a coloured wax (also if you wish). I wasn’t quite sure how the wax was going to come off my hand, but it slipped off effortlessly.
I now have some very cool rock hands for my new rockin apartment!