[Sunday, 26 September 2004]

[in Brisbane, a suburb thereof]

We checked out of O’Reilly’s after breakfast,then went on our last tour, a short bus trip to another lookout over surrounding valleys. But on the way, we stopped in to a demonstration of the boomerang. Everyone got to throw several times, and, yes, they can come back. One of my throws landed about five feet away from me on its return. Which is not to say that all of them did. No, indeed. I asked the guide whether there are any competition events for boomerang, and he said there are—in the United States, where the boomerangs are made of high-tech materials (of course). I will definitely find one, because it’s really kind of fun.

A couple hours later, we’d come down off the mountain and arrived in Brisbane. Linda had planned a Gold Class movie experience for me, and I’d love to hear whether any such thing exists in the US. It’s part of a multiplex movie theater, but is restricted to 18+, because you can order a meal and drinks to be brought to your recliner chair movie seat. Quite an experience. We saw The Terminal, a recent Tom Hanks film, If you’ve seen it, you know that it concerns a foreignor detained in a NYC airport for several months. Afterward, I remarked that this was a strange film to be seeing in Australia (dealing not only with the US but also immigration to same), and Linda reminded me that we’d seen Muriel’s Wedding together in Seattle. That is an Australian film that still impresses me, and deals almost exclusively with matters relevant to Australia.

I have too few impressions of Brisbane to report yet, but soon enough...

[morning of the 28th, after events of the 27th]

I was treated to an authentic Aussie “barbie” yesterday. Although we have a fine grill here at the palace (in fact, it’s just outside my guest house and is about the size of your car), my hosts elected to take us all out to one of the public parks in Brisbane, and use a public BBQ. They’re lp-powered, and freely available. Having chosen one near a playground, the kids thus occupied themselves, while the adults prepared and downed the Aussie treats, superbly prepared by Chef Stephen Bird.

We then went to play in Southbank, which refers to one side of the Brisbane River, a wide expanse of water that snakes back and forth through downtown Brisbane. And, in fact, along which a delightful ferry system (run on very powerful catamarans) transports hordes of mostly tourists from one end of town to the other, or just to a particular destination, as in our case. Southbank is a kind of permanent holiday spot, mostly for day-trippers. There are man-made water pools of various depths, and—like so much in Australia—it’s a great place to spend time with kids.

Dinner was at the top of the nearest mountain, easily giving view to much of the expanse of Brisbane. Although with a population of less than 2 million, the city seen from that lookout seems to go forever in all directions. The weather has been cool, certainly at night, and is quite a contrast to what I’ve expected. I’m cautioned, however, not to push my luck and come in our winter, their summer. Linda says the temperature reached 43C this past January, and nobody needs that.

We fall exhausted into bed each evening, rather earlier than I, at least, am used to, but this is not due to any strain of traveling in Australia but, rather, of dealing with children (ranging in age from 1 through 5).

We’re off to the Sunshine Coast for a few days, today. Good on ya...