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
LIKE the second installment of The Hangover movie I have awoken, this time, in Thailand. But it’s not bustling Bangkok in which I find myself, but Phuket. And while the four key characters remain kinda the same, the game has changed somewhat. Jon, a late-night radio presenter from Perth, is cast as Alan, possessing a dearth of resort wear (this bloke doesn’t even own thongs), a bright red ukulele, and a large but empty suitcase. Katie, an online editor for a family and kid’s magazine, is small and simply adorable and decides she wants to be the baby; in turn Rebecca, another children’s magazine editor and delightful to boot, elects to be the tiger; and apparently, and if this is an indicator of this trip, I am voted as Bradley Cooper because “you’re the reliable one”. Now, you know when The Global Goddess is voted the reliable one on a trip, things are very, very wrong.
You see, I have found myself somewhat surprisingly, on a trip to research Phuket’s Laguna Family Festival. Say Phuket and The Global Goddess thinks cool swims, cold beer, hot days and even hotter men, preferably in that order. I do not generally use the words family, and holiday, in the same sentence. It’s a bit like the concept of a “joy flight” or a “fun run”. Wrong, people. Just wrong. But Phuket is also trying to cast itself in a different light, away from the madness of Patong and thus stages an annual event to show visitors that there’s plenty of family fun to be had. And if it’s fun I must have, no matter what form it takes, then fun it must be. So here’s The Global Goddess’ guide to Phuket fun, for little kids, and the big kids in us all…
A maverick Malaysian, we are told, has set the record for the fastest ride down one of Phuket’s longest waterslides at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort pool. Apparently, his journey took him 40 seconds. All I can say is there is something dodgy about these statistics, as me and my mates manage the same trip in all of 15 seconds of absolutely howling, screaming fun. I reckon I could do it even faster if I borrowed the green Burqini of one of the resort guests in the pool. Ask yourself, how long has it been since you’ve been on a waterslide and then go and get yourself on one. It’s one of the most fantastic things you’ll have done in a very long time.
If you want Candy then look no further than the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort. For here, every morning, this gorgeous two-year-old elephant who is named after a hard lolly, meets resort guests and allows the little ones to ride on her. For the bigger kids, get yourself over to either the Banyan Tree or Angsana Laguna Phuket, to meet Lucky. The Global Goddess got lucky all right, when this larger elephant planted a whopping great kiss by placing her trunk right over The Goddess’ nose and mouth. While the other guests got a polite peck on the cheek, I got the full vacuum treatment. I found out later that Lucky is a female elephant. One person’s violated is another person’s perfect day, that’s all I’m saying.
At the Banyan Tree, Phuket, while little kids are enjoying such things as their own Sunday brunch, board and video games, arts and craft, big kids like me are free to ride their bikes around this enormous resort. A highlight of this property is the whirlpool in the centre of the property’s main pool near the spa sanctuary, where you can float on your back and be dragged through the water’s current, ending up under giant taps. Big kids will also enjoy their own luxury private spa villa, where it is practically criminal not to skinny dip…in my opinion.
At Angsana Phuket little kids will love the Tree House Kids Club, while both little and big kids can indulge in the family spa treatments where mothers and daughters and fathers and sons can bond during double spa sessions. The Global Goddess is unsure how much relaxing little kids need, but there seems to be a market for this, and who am I to argue with anyone providing pleasure and making money at the same time?
But probably the nicest kid story of this entire journey takes place on the nearby floating Muslim community island of Koh Panyee. Here, the kids wanted to play football which proved to be somewhat difficult without any actual land on which to build a field. Much to the initial amusement of the island’s adults, the kids tied together bits and pieces of wood like a raft to design a makeshift field and became so good at the game they gained third place in Thailand’s national competition. The adults ate their words, so to speak, and built a proper floating football stadium for these kids.
And that’s the whole point of this story, really. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little kid or a big kid. Life is about daring to dream, creating and most of all, having fun. It’s about screaming your guts out on your first waterslide ride in 30 years, swimming naked under the stars, laughing with a bunch of new mates and realising we all pretty much want the same thing: health and happiness. Head to Laguna Phuket, you’ll find fun there in spades. Just look out for amorous elephants.
The Global Goddess travelled to Thailand as a guest of Laguna Phuket. To find out more about the precinct, or the Laguna Family Festival which runs until October 31, go to http://www.lagunaphuket.com