Well, here's the first update from Aus.
The plane ride was very, very long. I was sort of successful in my attempt to sleep all day in an effort to ward off jetlag. I slept on both legs across to LA, and woke up feeling pretty alert and awake, but grungy. I had 5 hours to kill in LA, and spent the better part of them looking for a shower so I could clean up and change into the sweats I had brought for the long flight (I thought wearing pyjamas on the plane might be a bit much...). This turned up as a fail, with everyone telling me "sorry, there's no showers available at the airport." *sigh* So instead, I spent 5 hours pacing the terminal, as there wasn't anything interesting to look at. Also, if any of you are looking to make money somewhere, may I recommend opening up a yoga space in the airport? That would be awesome, and it's something I'd definitely pay to use!
Flying on the huge jet was interesting. I sat behind the wing, which is fun for me, as I like looking at what the wings do (dork!). So I found it very interesting that it was so difficult to feel all the normal things one feels when flying--the wheels leaving the runway, the g-forces in your seat as you climb, the bumps from crossing layers of air..none of that came through that big jet. it was like flying in a plane padded by jell-o. At this point, it was midnight CA time, and I was feeling pretty tired. I managed to stay up through the dinner, and then watch one of the movies on offer--Mary and Max, which seemed particularly apropos. It was an Australian animated film that A-M worked on. :) I can't give a particularly good review of it here, as I was too tired to pay proper attention.
Brisbane was interesting. It seems to me the entire city is under construction. There was a lot going on near the hostel, and also a lot on the bus ride up to Noosa. I spend the day in Brisbane at the Lone Pine Koala Sancutary, this little wildlife sanctuary (that's half the price of the zoo...) that has all sorts of local animals. It worked out well as I was in a jet-lag-induced daze, and so nothing more was required of me than to stay awake, walk around, and look at the animals. I saw the world's most poisonous snake (with a pane of glass between me and him), and got to hold a koala (and get my pciture taken with her) and pet the kangaroos (who were being lazy and hanging out under the trees). The koala felt a bit like a sheep--he was wooly and and felt like a bit like a sheep. The kangaroos had wiry fur and felt like horses, but with longer hair.
I spent dinner at some local backpacker pub, and ended up finding myself entered into a pool competition after playing one good game (and winning) against a local guy. Now Patsy knows that I'm an inconsistent pool player at best...and lost the next match by a long shot. It was pretty pitiful. Ah well, such is life.
The next day (friday), I took the bus up to Noosa. It's about ~100 km northwest of Brisbane, and is this cute little resort town. Even in winter, it's exorbitantly expensive, so I'm not sure how much shopping I'm going to do. I found an adorable dress at an Indian import shop, but they want $100 for it. It's cute, but I don't think it's that cute. Even if I could wear it every day (it's looks exotic, but not "costumey", so I could wear it to work). I wandered about the beach, took a nap, and then went back to get ready for the surf lesson.
Surfing was a lot of fun, even if I spent most my time falling off my surfboard! We were given wetsuits, so it was chilly getting in, but once I was in there and moving around, I was just fine. I struggled with getting up to a standing position, and did more falling off when I was half-way there than anything else. I think I was thinking about it too much, and the way that we were being taught to stand wasn't working so well with the way my center of balance works. I talked to the instructor about that a bit after a break, and was shown 2 or 3 alternative methods. I tried one of those, and while I still fell off, I had much more control until the last second when I fell. I finally picked my wave, got going, and stood up the very last time around. So the advertisements were right: guaranteed standing by your first lesson. *grin* I'm glad I have two more lessons, though, as I can now do something with it! I'm not too sore, either. My shoulders are a bit tired, but I'm not aching like I thought I would be. The swimming prior to coming helped a lot.
Today, I'm headed out to Eumundi, the next town over (10 min. bus ride), to go to the open-air market, and then will head back for another surf lesson. I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon then hiking through the national forest that's next door to the hostel. It's nice that everything close!
Have not been eaten by a shark, have not been hit by a car.
Next update: somewhere in Sydney!