SOMETHING weird and wonderful always happens whenever I stay at the Outrigger Surfers Paradise. And so I find myself yet again, awakening on a Friday morning, convinced I will find Bradley Cooper, a tiger and a baby (preferably in that order) in my hotel room bathroom. Regular readers of The Global Goddess will remember just two years ago, almost to the date, when I woke up with a swollen eye, a random game of two-up, a Gold Coast Meter Maid’s business card, and worst of all, a dodgy tummy which almost forced me to burst into a complete stranger’s hotel room to urgently use their toilet. https://theglobalgoddess.com/2012/09/24/surfers-shenanigans/
And here I am yet again, but on this occasion I have the hangover from hell, the origins of which I am acutely aware, but more curiously, a gigantic flower made entirely from balloons, laying beside me in bed. I squint at the flower and seriously have no idea from where this latest prop in my ridiculous life has sprung. I wrack my brains. Did I date a clown last night? Or worse, did I run away to the circus only to be rejected when they realised my serious lack of skills? What. The. Hell. Has. Happened?
The hangover hangs on but the fog starts to lift and I remember the afternoon started with a Spa-rty with my girlfriends in the Outrigger’s award-winning Day Spa & Salon. I’m dead sober when I walk in and meet the team who has just won the title of Best Customer Care at the Australian Beauty Industry Association’s Awards. You see, these women are not just masseurs, but qualified aestheticians who can make you look like Jennifer Hawkins after a 90 minute emerginC signature facial. (Information which would have come in mighty handy two years ago when I woke up with my Quasimodo eye). I opt for a massage and while I don’t walk out looking like Jennifer Hawkins, I am no longer sober as I have also been offered a glass of champagne. Which would have been great, had I not returned to my room, to find a whole bottle of the sparkling stuff and was overcome by the urge to drink half of it, lest it go flat.
Yes, things have got off to their usual start with me on a work trip (my Facebook fans can attest to the fact I have perfected the art of drinking alcohol while showering to save time while travelling for business). There’s more drinks when I enter the hotel’s aptly-named Deja View Restaurant before we sit down to dine on some of the restaurant’s signature seafood and other buffet items. My friend Corina, who was with me on the original journey two years ago, gently reminds me to take it easy on the oysters, largely because it was her room into which I ended up bursting that morning after the night before. And by bursting, I mean both figuratively and literally.
But the best is yet to come, as our waiter for the evening is Outrigger Surfers Paradise Staff Member of the Quarter Jason, aged 21. At first I think it’s for his impeccable service and incredible manners, but when he pulls out a bag of balloons and starts crafting them into all manners of objects, I realise we are in the company of a genius. And not only that, Jason actually ran away from home at 13 to join the circus, performing with the likes of Cirque de Soleil. For the record, I hate clowns, particularly those of the circus and dating variety. Thankfully this impromptu act has nothing to do with men with big red noses, bow ties and floppy shoes (my latest dates), but pure skill. Jason quickly crafts a colourful flower bracelet which he places around Corina’s wrist, before he makes the gigantic flower that will that night become my bed companion and the source of my confusion the next morning.
Magic, it seems, is the theme of this weekend on the Gold Coast, where the roar of construction from the past few years has been replaced by the gentle hum of trams which now roam her streets. And then there’s the reason I’m on the Gold Coast: the annual national ProBlogger Training Event. I should point out that while there are 500 delegates, only 10 percent are men, so if you are looking at this as some kind of dating event, you should possibly turn your attention elsewhere. (I said this was a weekend of magic, people, not miracles). But what I do receive is two days of training in ways in which to make The Global Goddess better and brighter for you, my valued readers. Darren Rowse, ProBlogger organiser, opens the event with the words: “We live in amazing times where ordinary people are doing extraordinary things”, citing that in this room alone, collectively we possess more than 30 million readers.
In another presentation, I am struck by a quote from Shayne Tilley who says: “The trend is to chase eyeballs. They can have the eyeballs. I care about the hearts and minds of my readers.” The engaging Pat Flynn, who ironically ends his presentation with a magic trick, reminds me to create memorable moments by surprise. But most of all, he reminds me to ask my readers what they want to read. And so, two years after I first launched The Global Goddess, this is my question for you: what do you want to read more of from me? Because my writing wand is poised and I’m ready to create more magic.
The Global Goddess stayed as a guest of The Outrigger Surfers Paradise. To find your own bit of Gold Coast magic, go to http://www.outrigger.com.au
IT’S Saturday Night Fever meets Sunday Morning Mass at this Samoan church service. Purple and white sequins adorn the altar and it’s as if Barry Gibbs himself has dressed the congregation which is resplendent in all white, bar the punctuation of purple ties. A sea of solemn heads, topped with white hats that would win any Melbourne Cup contest, are bowed in prayer. And so, too, is mine, yet I doubt we are speaking to God about the same subject. Why, God, why, did I choose to wear my leopard-print dress which stops just short of the knee to a conservative South Pacific church service and where in the name of hell is Dear Pageant Girl when I need him?
Let me introduce you to Dear Pageant Girl: Sydney’s Peter Sereno who, when he’s not promoting Samoa, is making the world a better place, one beauty queen at a time through his website, blog, industry commentary and training of pageant contestants around the globe.
“It is kinda my little letter and beauty advice to the world. The beauty pageant industry is still growing in Australia and the majority of girls have no idea. They think they are just beautiful and that they will get by on their looks. I’m Filipino so I grew up with beauty pageants,” he says.
“I leave little notes on the site and give them advice such as ‘don’t leave the house without your dignity’ or ‘if you are going to sabotage the competition, do it with a smile.
“My top five tips are fake it till you make it; treat this like a job interview; there is no such thing as natural beauty; the higher the heels the closer you are to God; and be open to everything. Walk like the world is your catwalk.” (I spend the next day practicing walking like the world is my catwalk. I end up looking like a constipated crab).
In 2004, Peter worked with Australia’s own Jennifer Hawkins to assist her in winning Miss Universe and more recently with the current Miss Samoa/Miss South Pacific Janine Tuivaiti(pictured below) to secure her the prestigious title.
“I have seen the most beautiful girls with the most ugly personalities which no amount of make-up can fix. It is true what they say: beauty radiates from within.” Peter says.
“But beauty doesn’t win a competition, it is the ‘x’ factor and you can’t define that. It is an energy that can’t be taught. You can discover that and harness that but it can never be taught.
“My role is to expose you and say ‘I am beautiful, I am all that’.”
It’s not only beautiful people Peter promotes, but stunning destinations such as Samoa, in which this interview takes place. Even the name of the country itself possesses a raw beauty – the word Sa, meaning sacred and Moa, centre. It’s in this sacred centre of the South Pacific you’ll discover a land of magic and mysticism, of rainforests, reefs, waterfalls and the most beautiful of beaches such as Lalomanu, upon which travel gurus Lonely Planet bestowed the title of one of the top 10 must-see beaches in the world.
So smitten was he with Samoa, Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson lived there for four years in the late 1800s in a large colonial-style building on the main island of Upolu. The Samoans loved the author and called him Tusitala – or Teller of Tales. And it’s simple to see why Stevenson found so much inspiration in this nation.
Here, mahi mahi jump straight from the ocean onto your dinner plate, lobsters bathe in coconut milk fresh from the tree, and the papaya is as golden as the sunset. There are 361 villages in Samoa and one church for each village so you could go to church every day of the year. In between, check out some of the highlights such as the thrilling Papase’ea Sliding Rocks near Apia and the spine-tingling Sua Trench cave pool on the South Coast, accessible by a steep, wooden ladder.
Some say Savaii Island, about an hour by ferry from Upolu, is the highlight of a Samoan sojourn with its markets, lava fields, canopy walkway, and blow holes down which a self-styled “coconut man” throws coconuts which are fired out into the ocean like canon balls.
For others, it’s the smaller islands such as Namua Island, about 10 minutes by a tinnie from Upolu, which float their boat.
Wherever you choose, there’s a range of accommodation options and one of the heavenly highlights is a night or two in a rustic beachfront fale. Forget your modern cons, and surrender to the sound of the waves crashing against the reef as you fall asleep under a thatched roof and mosquito net. (In my case, spending the night wishing a hot Samoan may mistake your hut for his and crawl in naked).
If, as Dear Pageant Girl claims, the world is indeed your catwalk, then Samoa is the perfect destination in which to strut your stuff.
The Global Goddess travelled to Samoa as a guest of the Samoan Tourism Authority. For more information on a Samoan holiday go to http://www.samoa.travel. Virgin Australia flys direct to Samoa from Brisbane once a week and several times from Sydney.
To unveil your inner Goddess, or to find out more about Dear Pageant Girl, go to http://www.dearpageantgirl.com.au