Posted by: Leap of Faith | September 5, 2007

From Saudi Gold to the Gold Coast


Blog warning: Lengthy blog…Pee break before you read.

After a few days of detailed blogging about our recent vacation, my few days off is still not enought to help me catch my breath and relax my tired fingers. But like any blogaddict (read: bored person from Saudi Arabia)… the show must go on.

So, proceeding from where I left off, we flew to the Gold Coast on the 12th of August – our group down by two as Mama and Papa decided to take an extra day in Sydney to be with the Dela Concepcions. We had some minor problems in the airport as we went to the wrong domestic terminal to catch our noon flight with Jet Star. Upon checking in, our stomachs were growling and since this was just a short flight (i.e. 1 hour and 20 mins), we knew that lunch will not be served. Fortunately, we had a selection of good airport food to choose from… so after seriously and carefully deliberating what to eat, we ended up ordering a few burgers and nuggets from our old friend, Ronald (thank you my friend… always there when we need you).

The Oolongata airport was small and unimpressive… much like the domestic terminal we have back home. Anyway, who cares about an airport, right? What is important is that the plane can land, and land we did!

We decided to stay in another two-bedroom apartment in Surfer’s Paradise called @#xd%^!*@!. After happily staying at the Meriton, our apartment in the Gold Coast was really the pits! Truly forgetable. Before I proceed though, I would like to clarify that I am not passing judgment on Pinky, who was deceived into booking us there believing that this place was tops based on their internet site (with online tour of the apartment). Anyway, just wanted to share that not all things published in the web is good, so people beware!

Going back, our dear friends Carrie and Donnie Vergara (and their cute little daughter, Tasha) met us at the airport and then in the apartment. After a few long minutes of unstoppable updating and chit chatting, we decided to start our adventure and hit the beach, which looked really enticing from the balcony of our so-so apartment (yes, we had a very beautiful view of the Australian coastline from our apartment, thank goodness!).

While pushing Marga’s pram, Donnie assured me that the sand was firm enough to carry our weight (note: aside from Marga, I was also carrying a 30 kg baby bag ). I was so confident that he seemed really assimilated to the OZ life of hopping from one beach to another that I believed him hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately, I later realized that I was so naive as my feet and Marga’s pram were slowly being sucked down by the soft sand. If this were an old Hollywood classic, this would have been the quicksand scene – all of us were struggling to escape! Finally, after a few moments of terror, my whole life flashing in front of me, we reached the firm part of the beach which was truly amazing. The waves were so strong and the shore so clean, free from any form of debris. This was place was truly deserving of its name, Surfer’s Paradise!

By this time, the burgers we ate earlier have all been digested. We decided to go to the main commercial area and head for the Hog’s Breath, where a variety of OZ steaks was waiting to fill our hungry stomachs. Yum!

Our gluttony and our hectic schedule in Sydney finally took its toll on our bodies. Pinky felt woozy the following day. Fortunately, we planned our vacation well and we really had a few days off to relax. So instead of immediately hitting the theme parks, Pinky and my mom decided to just rest while the children and I swam in the aprtment’s heated indoor pool. Papa and Mama flew in that afternoon.

Still not fully recovered, Pinky gathered all her guts the following morning so we can go to Dreamworld, the biggest theme park in the Gold Coast. Before entering the park, I warned the boys that they might not be able to ride everything due to height restrictions. My boys have suddenly grown up so fast that letting them ride in the merry-go-round and tea cups was no longer exciting like it used to.

We mustered our courage and immediately challenged the Runaway Reptar, an overhung roller coaster designed to scare the hell out of our pre-adolescent boys, their mother and grandparents (who collectively gave out the loudest scream). Next challenge was The Claw. My brave son, Rafael, wanted to ride but he was an inch short of being able to do so. I pressured Luigi to ride it. He seemed up to the challenge even though the harness seemed too big to protect his small frame. The Claw started to move, swinging left and right while gradually rotating. It was not scary, or so I thought. However, A few seconds later, I felt like I was being thrown out of my seat. I started to panic for my life and for my son, who I’m pretty sure was dying silently on his seat beside me. I stretched out my arm to Luigi’s harness, hoping to provide added protection to him. I think he started to choke, but I didn’t care. All I could think about is when will this freakin ride end! Fortunately, a few seconds after that the ride slowly decelerated and we were all allowed to get off. Luigi and I survived. Thank goodness. The park offered more thrill rides like the Vortex, Wipeout, Cyclone and Log Jam and Wild River Rapids, which we all successfully conquered.

The following day was more tame as we met up with the Vergaras and enjoyed the varied marine life and spectacular shows of The Sea World. The highlight of this place was the 40 minute show, Waterski Splashout, which featured cool dudes and sexy dudettes, famously known as the Meter Maids, as they challenged death with their unbelievable ski stunts. Truly a must see!

Tito Dodie, Donnie’s uncle, graciously invited us to his beautiful (and extremely well kept) home in the Gold Coast. It was the first time anyone of us met him but he was so nice to all of us. He each offered us a glass of champange (with a piece of sliced strawberry inside) that made us really feel so classy (having been used to just drinking juice, soda and water – hehehe!). Dinner was at this quaint chinese resto, which served deliciously tender mongolian beef and lamp. Super sarap!

The next day was more relaxing as we strolled down the beach once more (without the pram!) and did some shopping at the heart of the Surfer’s Paradise. Dinner was at the Outback Spectacular, which is an exciting dinner-show featuring the best of OZ outback life – complete with horses, cows, motorcycles and a helicopter! The food was great but the show even better!

Our last full day in the Gold Coast and Australia was spent in the Movie World, which to me is the best theme park in this part of the world. Despite its relatively smaller size and fewer rides, this place was really nice – photo ops were just so many. We all enjoyed riding Scooby Doo’s Spookycoaster, which had so much twist and turns in total darkness, the Road RunnerRoller Coaster, which Pinky claimed gave her a whiplash, and the Log Jam, which is the best water flume ride I’ve ridden thus far . The Police Academy Stunt Show and Shrek 4-D Movie were also very much entertaining. Everyone had a blast taking photos while watching the parade and Marilyn Monroe pass by. I enjoyed my solo time conquering The Escape, Superman Ride and Lethal Weapon, the overhung roller coaster for adults.

Truly our family has been blessed so much with this opportunity not only to see Australia but also to touch base with our dear friends from Down Under. We are hoping that we will have another opportunity to see this beautiful country
again in the future. Until then, we just have to be contented with all the wonderful memories and tales we have from the wonderful land of Oz!

Hope you enjoy these pictures.

Inside the Seacrest Holiday Apartments.

Strolling by the beautiful beach… the water was freezing!

Hey, where the hell are the lifeguards?!

OZ babe!

Stories from Bikini Bottom… they’re so loveable.

Yes, Luigi and I were there… praying that it would all end soon.

Grammy and Marga strikinga pose at Wiggle’s World.

Thank goodness for brave grandmothers!

Waiting to enter the Sea World.

Donnie, Carrie, Tasha and Barf Bear!

Tasha: Mommy, I love her. Marga: Pa, I want a Barf Bear too!

Waiting for the seal show.

Sy family with our friend, Mr Walrus.

A scary view of Shark Bay.

The boys flirting with the Meter Maids.

Great catch!

Our Princess in trouble. Where is Papaaaaah?!

It’s my turn to have fun.

Cowgirls from down under.

True blue Aussies.

Enjoying the food at the Outback Spectacular.

Saan ba ‘to?

Brave souls who took on the Scooby Doo Spookycoaster. They were not so brave afterwards.

 

Sexy gals of Movieworld… Wiwa, Grammy and Marga, whoelse?!

Another family pose at the outback…

… and this one in a ghost town.

Wild West Falls… yes, we were in that log.

Wet and wacky after the falls. We survived!

Taking a break!

Escape, The Superman ride. I was the only one who dared ride this.

All ready to go home… thanks OZ for a really great time!

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Responses

  1. Very detailed travel journal… made me remember what fun times we had at Oz 🙂 Hope we get the chance to come back there soon!

  2. Are you using a wide screen camera? How were you able to take such wide angle pictures? What model and megapixel are you using? They’re super sharp.

  3. except for the so-so apartment, that was truly one heck of a fun vacation! super inggit na ako kaya tama na ha! hee hee! 😀 i can’t wait for abby to be able to ride the more fun rides in theme parks. and i’m so proud of tito jess, ninang petite and tita dolly for trying out the rides as well! i’ll see if i can get my mom to do the same! hahaha! it’s been a while since she’s ridden on a themepark ride that’ll keep her heart rate up. haha!

    i love the pics! you definitely captured all the fun in those great shots. 🙂

    where and when’s the next adventure? hugs and kisses to you all! mmmwah!

  4. Dong, the camera is just one of those cheap models of Sony… free from Citibank. I’m not sure how my father-in-law got so many nice wide-angled pics. Maybe the subjects (i.e. us) look nice that’s why the pictures came out nice too.

  5. Weng, yes this is the last instalment of our OZ adventure. So many things happend, as you can see, that I just had to start blogging away.

    The kids are fortunate to have successfully covinced their grandparents to ride with them… Papa and Mommy are not daring at all, so congratulations to them for over coming their fears… and motion sickness. I’m sure Tita Emy will do the same for Abby.

    Next adventure… hmmm… hirap sagutin. We’re back in Saudi.. so that should be an adventure in itself.

  6. Hi Keith, Nice pictures. I am glad you guys enjoyed your visit here…. Hope to see you guys again hopefully next year ah. =)

  7. Carrie, we really had a blast. Please send Donnie our thanks! Kailangan ulit kumayod ang OFW para maka-bakasyon ulit diyan…Let’s just wait and see what happens next.


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