"Australia 1999" story # 27


Gold Coast, Queensland
May 19, 1999

Wednesday of another week of school, I joined Craig, Michael, and white Kelly in getting stuffed at a breakfast buffet. This was the still-SCU famous morning when the Aussies convinced me there were fish eggs in the fruit salad, but that's not the story I'm telling (Hey, I'd never seen passion-fruit seeds in the U.S.!)
     "What a wanker ... dumb bloody yank!" they kept saying, even after breakfast when Michael made me chase his car through the grocery store carpark.
     I topped off the meal by making a 2-litre caramel sundae. Having ingested 4000 calories by 10:30, I was due to kill some energy.
     I decided to take a bike trip. Dalwood Falls was only 12 miles away. I couldn't find my friend Shane, so I just assumed he'd let me ride his bike and that it was in good condition. Later, someone would ask me: "Why on earth did you take Shane's bike? That thing's the most worthless piece of junk I've ever seen?"
     I threw on my swimsuit, packed a small bag (should I take a pair of shorts with me or my snorkelling mask?), and began my trip. The ride there was nice, through big, green valleys and orchards of orange, lime, and apple trees. An overgrown path led to the secluded swimming hole.
     Fifty feet-high rock walls enclosed the brown water. Two creeks poured from the rocks, and thick vegetation surrounded everything. I went for a swim and thought, "This is beautiful! I just wish someone was here to see this with me."
     I pumped my fist in the air. "No, I don't! If someone else was here, I couldn't go skinny-dipping." I took off my suit and hung it low near a waterfall, thinking if someone did come by I could just grab it and put it on in the water.
     I climbed to the top of the cliff and jumped from a fifty foot ledge. I lost my breath in the air and shot down into the water. When I surfaced, I was thrilled, but I saw my swimming suit was no longer on the ledge. Apparently, I'd set it too close to the waterfall, and it got pushed into the muddy water.
     I climbed out of the water to my bag. I couldn't remember if I'd packed shorts or a snorkelling mask.
     "Bah!" I found the mask, but no shorts, meaning I had no pants. I jumped into the water again. I tried snorkelling, but the water was way too deep and muddy for me to find my bathing suit. I climbed out.
     Standing in the open, wearing nothing but my snorkel-mask, I suddenly noticed a girl, my age, on the path staring right at me (and it was a COLD day). A guy walked behind her. Oh, man, was I embarrassed.
     I ran to my bag, where I luckily had a towel to wrap around me.
     I held Shane's bike way away from me, leaned backwards, and manuevered onto the seat. Such a process is necessary every time, when you're getting on a bike wearing a towel.
     I slammed on the pedal to take off, and the chain broke! The girl was coming, so I reattached the chain, held the bike away from my body, leaned back, and got on. Five feet later, the chain broke again! This trend continued for the next mile and a half, which took me 90 agonizing minutes to bike.
     When the bike was working, a huge slit revealed my whole right leg, causing passersby to honk and whistle at me. Whenever a bus or truck passed, a huge gust of wind would follow and blow my towel up, revealing everything.
     Finally, I threw my bike to the side of road and said, "I've had it!" I walked to the nearest house and knocked on the door.
     A four foot old lady answered. My hair was sticking up everywhere, my hands were black with grease, and my legs were bleeding in spots. I said, "I'm sorry, it's just ... my bike's not working, and ... I have no pants."
     She generously gave me a pink-and-green, plaid pair of old lady shorts. I put the tiny things on, the bike worked from then on, and I rode home. I kept telling people, "These aren't my pants, these aren't my pants ..."
     After the day's activities, I realized my friends, especially Craig, would probably take great enjoyment in my misfortunes. When I saw him next, I told him my story. He fell out of his chair laughing. "You're such a wanker, Justin," he said. "... bloody yank."

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