brisvegas: day five

farmers market lines plus curves
And that, as they say in the classics, is that... four days, four nights, 1468 photos, over 7000 words written and our Brisbane trip is over.

We actually gave up earlier than we needed to... but then we'd seen everything there was to see, been everywhere we needed to be and pretty much walked our feet down to, at least in my case, blistered and sore little stubs.

As a brief aside, I hate these new sneakers. Combined with reasonably new socks, they let my feet slide all over the place, hence the blisters. Grrr... And it's not like my previous pair of the same brand did that... I walked all over Sydney with them and didn't have the least problem.

After receiving the Act of Courtly Man Love last night and finishing up my blog post, I decided to pack up my suitcase. While I pretty much always get a gold star for packing when we're going somewhere, the return trip's packing is made to sit in the corner with a dunce's cap on. Effective, but nowhere near as elegant or organised coming back.

It's always a little sad when you pack up a hotel room, and the only thing that shows that anyone's been in it is the fact the bed needs to be made.

When I got up this morning I packed the last bits and pieces, got ready and as always seems to be the case on our last day anywhere, I dragged the whole kit and caboodle down to Ma's room so that we only had to worry about one space.

I'd been checking out The Thousands app on my phone last night and found a couple of possibilities for breakfast... one that sounded very chic/special and one that was a little more pedestrian. We ended up picking the more pedestrian of the two mostly because it called Bagel Nook... and who doesn't love a bagel?

It turned out to be somewhere we'd wandered past yesterday... or at least wandered past the entrance to the laneway. And other than the fact that it was kind of chilly in that particular spot, breakfast was nice. I had a fruit bagel with cream cheese, banana and honey while Ma had one that was supposed to have strawberries and kiwi fruit (along with the aforementioned cream cheese and honey), but due to the lack of kiwi fruit, they made it with banana instead. Which was kind of a better deal I think, given the price of bananas currently.

After breakfast we did some half-hearted wandering and ended up at King George Square. We ended up being a little entranced by this group of people dressed in white overalls dancing around in a little fenced off square of grass complete with orange trees and hay bales. At first I thought they were spruiking some sort of cleaning product with oranges, but it turned out to be little bottles of orange juice.

Now normally with those types of promotions, if you have six people as part of the event you have six people giving away orange juice... but no, four of them appeared to be drama students (or dance students, one of them was doing some kick ass pirouettes (or whatever they're called when a male dancer does them), and two of them were rampantly overacting the process of putting oranges from one crate into a wheelbarrow, moving the barrow over to another crate and then taking the oranges out again. It was still early, so I'm guessing they wouldn't be able to keep that up all day.

Anyway, Ma and I stood in the square for a while, being generally amused by the whole situation, especially the number of people who didn't seem to want to be bothered with getting something for free (although every time the collected masses worked out that it was free there was a brief surge of interest).

Eventually I couldn't resist any longer... and strode purposefully over in search of free OJ.

The girl saw me coming and called out to me asking if I wanted juice... and because I wasn't just a walk-by she was able to give me a little bit of her spiel... it seems that the secret to Grove Juice is the fact that it comes in a while plastic bottle... it "keeps all the vitamins in"... which sounded frankly insane until she said that it's because it keeps the sunlight out.

Sounds reasonable to me really.

The upshot of this overly long ramble about Grove Juice orange juice? It's actually awesome stuff... really, really thick and really tasty. Not sure if it's going to make it to SA, but if it does, I may have to keep an eye out for it.

After "The Orange Juice Incident", we wandered without much rhyme or reason through Queen Street Mall AGAIN, turned in the opposite direction from the hotel and wound up in Brisbane Square to find it completely transformed.

Now, we'd been through Brisbane square both last night and the night before, and we've been through or around there a number of times, and at no point do I remember seeing anything that said that they hold Farmers Markets (more specifically the Jan Powers Farmers Market) there.

But the entire square was crammed with stalls and people selling all manner of fruit and vegetables, breads, speciality products... everything you could want out of a farmer's market really. It’s the kind of thing that I wish they could do in Adelaide... maybe upstairs in the Festival Centre Plaza, or in the Mall, or even Victoria Square (although that might be too close to the Central Markets).

What's better than being able to wander through the city on your lunch break and buy fresh fruit and veg that according to one of the guys I overheard had only come out of the ground that morning, as well as being able to buy it pretty much directly from the people who grew it. It's a fucking awesome concept. And good on Jan Powers, I say!

It's just unfortunate that we're not allowed to bring any fruit or veg into SA, because we could have bought a heap of stuff.

As it was I couldn't resist buying two very large packs of very lush looking Rocky Road from the very handsome young gentleman at the Noosa Chocolate Factory... and we got a few macarons from an attractive young Spanish gentleman, a couple of which (mmm salted caramel) didn't even make it out of the square.

By that point it was almost check out time at the hotel, so we wandered on back, hauled the seemingly 1500kg of luggage. My poor Crumpler bag... it was so crammed with stuff, including my netbook, all the Rocky Road, my blind box purchases and my jacket that I had to use the clips to close it... and even then there wasn't a square inch of room left in it.

We also had some strawberries left over that neither of us were really bothered about, and obviously we couldn't take them home, so we decided to take them downstairs and give them to the nice girly on the desk.

Which we did... she was so cute too, Ma asked her if she'd like the strawberries and she looked a little undecided... I actually thought that she was going to say no (that she couldn't accept gifts from customers or something), but she kind of ducked her head and said "yes please" really coy and quietly. Hehehe... very cute.

Then, once again proving that the city of Brisbane is filled to the brim with homosexualists, she got the guy who was also there to take out bags into the store room... and when he saw Ma's virulently pink hard shell case he said "Oh, I’ll be having that one"... yes, dear, I'm sure you will be.

That done, we really didn't have much else we really wanted to do, so we headed back to the Brisbane Crumpler store which we'd passed earlier in the morning before it was open. I know, I know... how many more Crumpler products does a person need... but mostly they had some stuff I hadn't seen before, and we really didn't have much else to do.

The guy in the store was sweet (and quite cute... which has been a recurring theme here in Brisbane) and we walked crap about Crumpler for a little bit, he showed me a few options for netbooks (none of which are really grabbing me), showed me the very sexy new one of a kind limited edition versions of my big red Crumpler bag... mmmm exclusive.

After that we went to sit in Anzac Square for a little bit and ate the other two macarons. And after all that, I think it was actually only about 10:30am. So much day to fill, so few things left to do.

kurilpa lines sky illusion
I perused the map for a bit and figured that we could actually wander over to GOMA on South Bank via the Kurilpa Bridge... unfortunately, what the map ever actually shows you is when streets are very, very steep... which a couple of the streets were... not so good on tired feet.

Thankfully the bridge is covered, so we weren't out in the sunshine (Ma was okay, she had her sexy little white hat, but I'd foolishly packed my $4 hat in my bag last night)... and it was a nice enough walk once we got to the bridge.

goma balls surreal neon
GOMA itself wasn't bad... although it felt a little weird that you're allowed to take photos (no flash photography, obviously), there were certain rooms we went in where I just didn't feel comfortable photographing things. And I was convinced that they were going to ask me to stop at any second.

And because they had the Surrealism exhibition on, a whole section of the gallery was closed off, so we managed to see everything fairly swiftly.

After that we wandered back along towards the Melbourne Street Bridge, around the Museum and whatnot, and managed to see a bunch of stuff that we hadn't seen last time we were there, like the Whale Mall and I reshot a few of the things we'd seen last night when we were wandering around on that side of the bridge.

whale walk black pelican
We finally wandered back over the bridge it was about lunch time, so the Farmer's Market was absolutely heaving with people... always my favourite thing (not).

We stopped at the Cornish Pasty Man stall and got a couple of, unsurprisingly, Cornish pasties... Ma said hers was good, but I had the "cheese and bacon" one... not a fan.

And then we wandered back down the Queen Street Mall for the very last time, ate our pasties and decided that we were officially done with Brisbane... our feet hurt, and we really couldn't be bothered trying to find something else to entertain ourselves for the next couple of hours.

So we made it back to the hotel, picked up our bags and wandered across the street to the conveniently placed taxi rank and ended up with a big ass taxi van. A little excessive for two people and two suitcases, but what the hell.

I liked the whole automatic check in process a lot more the second time... now that I knew what the hell I was doing. I still say that it's less helpful for first time users though.

And while the check in process went quickly, the line to go through security was a tiny bit redonkulous.

After dithering around finding a seat, then looking for a better seat, then once the plane before ours left realising that we had pretty much our pick of seats, Ma and I both got out our netbooks and here we are, typing away at our last day's journals... mine for the blog, hers for... well, for whatever she keeps them for.

But now the plane is here... so if you'll excuse me...

[Some time later]

And now I'm home! The plane ride was great, wasn't the least bit nauseous (which is new this trip... either it's the longer flight, or it's because I stared out the window at the ground until the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign... I really don't know).

Once we made it to my place we went out for pizza, since neither of us could be bothered with preparing food on our own, and now she's on her way home.

This is my travel haul...

brisbane stuffAnd as you can see, there's not much. And most of it came from Comics Etc. The brown bag at the back is half of the Rocky Road (I was afraid the other half would slide off and wipe out all the figurines). And there is a reason the blue Bearbrick is still in the plastic bag is that it's the blue/dead version of the Laura Palmer/Twin Peaks design... you know... "wrapped in plastic"...

So now that that's all out of the way, I can sit in my little red chair and (mostly) relax... transfer these Word documents to Blogger, drag the 1440 files from my camera (well, actually 1468, there are a bunch of photos of clouds and airplane wings from the flight there and the flight back) and maybe watch TV for the first time since Saturday morning.

Then tomorrow I need to go and get some food, pull together my overall thoughts on this trip and make with some hardcore photo editing.

Coming back to reality after a holiday is always a bit of a bump.

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