Sunday, July 31, 2011
It's partly my own fault... I mean I dressed for it to be warm, but then we spent a lot of the day out in the sunshine. I didn't end up as bad as after Sculpture By The Sea in Sydney last year... but the combination of heat and a lack of water, never good.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
I pretty much slept like I was at home last night... thanks to Ma's brilliant idea of bringing one of the pillowcases from my body pillow and using the spare pillows to MacGyver a body pillow.
In fact, I slept so well that for a brief moment when I woke up (and before I opened my eyes obviously) I forgot where I was.
After I got up I lazed around on the sofa for a while catching up on things in Reader and on Twitter and being a virtual whore on Grindr/Scruff (I don't really know why I bother... either nothing comes of it, or else when the time comes I generally exhausted from wandering around all day long) until I figured it was probably time to get ready.
Hotel showers... always shitty, am I right?
Anyway, as usual, once I was ready I went down to Ma's room carrying my shoes (I think I've done it in just about every hotel we've stayed in, even the one where we were on two different floors).
The main plan for today was markets... I knew there were a couple on opposite sides of the city, so we grabbed a map from the hotel desk and headed off.
The only problem was we were headed down to Eagle Pier... and instead of going down Elizabeth Street we headed down Albert Street... not quite the opposite direction, but 90 degrees...
We worked out our mistake thanks to Google Maps... but it wasn't a complete waste of time, we did see the lovely King George Square.
When we finally got down to Eagle Pier our first thought was really for breakfast. I think we would have just gone into the first place we saw had it not been for the boy in the gold jacket doing his very best X Factor audition outside.
So instead we ended up at Stellarossa... not the most amazing breakfast ever, but okay as far as these things go.
Then we wandered around the market. And, can I just say... m'eh. I mean I wasn't expecting a lot, but it was decidedly second rate... plus the weather was being very sunny at me... which was annoying.
After we were done at Eagle Pier (which really didn't take long), we headed across the city and across the Melbourne Street bridge to South Bank.
Again, more sunshine. I kinda get now why fellow Blogger Eddy doesn't really like doing things out in the sunshine... I think I'd be kinda similar if I lived up here.
Regional Flavours Food Festival was supposed to be... and on the way discovered a Ben & Jerry's van and stand where they were essentially giving away free ice cream... I say giving away because you just had to make a gold coin donation, and they were giving out 375ml containers! I didn't actually have a gold coin on me, so I just gave them $5 (I wish I knew what the charity was though... I really didn't pay attention at the time) and Ma and I ended up with a carton of Chunky Monkey ice cream each. Perhaps a trifle excessive given that we couldn't eat a whole carton on our own and ended up carrying the left overs around until they were Chunky Monkey Milk.
Other than that, the Regional Food Festival was just crammed with people. I should really have expected that I suppose, but it was fairly heaving by the time we got there (it may have been a smarter idea to head there first and go to Eagle Street after, but that wasn't the way things worked out)... and I don’t like that kind of crowd, especially when it's something I'm not especially excited about, so for the most part we wandered along the edges and had a look but didn't really engage.
Plus it was a little hard to get overly excited about food when you have a belly full of Chunky Monkey already.
The only thing we did end up with were a punnet of strawberries (and they were very good strawberries too).
After we'd had a look at everything, we pretty much gave up on the food and wandered back towards the Melbourne Street Bridge along the waterfront... very sunshiny... and a little bit heatstrokey and sunburny...
Only a little bit though.
The other thing that I really wanted to do over on South Bank was to take a look at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), at least from the outside if nothing else... so we eventually made our way down to that end of the precinct. It's kind of an awesome building... and I think that if we'd had more time, I could probably have wasted some of it inside.
Actually I could see myself spending some time in and around a lot of the buildings on South Bank... more the North side of the Melbourne Street Bridge... but there's some great architecture over there.
When we'd had enough we wended our way across the Kurilpa Bridge and finally managed to find a convenience store at which to buy a bottle of frosty, frosty water.
Actually, another thing that's all over the place in Brisbane is kind of strange... firstly, on seemingly every single street corner, or at least ones that have traffic lights, the normally little baby blue boxes that stand off to one side and control the lights are all covered with art work. Each one seems to be kind of appropriate to its surroundings (not always but there are a lot that are), and it brightens up an otherwise dull bit of necessary street architecture.
Having said that, other than possibly one piece of lettering work and a couple of lacklustre paste ups, I haven't seen a single piece of street art anywhere in the city. And trust me, I've looked. I don't know whether it's because the whole city is pretty much crammed up against itself, or because large chunks of it get ripped down to start again from scratch, or just because any street art that there is is actually out in the 'burbs (a bit like Sydney really)...
I guess I'm just used to both Adelaide and Melbourne's CBDs where you can find all sorts of aerosol goodies if you look hard enough.
If I'm really honest, I'm actually disappointed in Brisbane overall... it just seems very... well, not artificial, but I can't really put my finger on it... it’s just less than I was expecting I guess. It has some of the downsides of Sydney, but without any of the charm.
It is only the first day though... maybe things will improve during the rest of the trip...
Anyway... where was I... oh yes, after we'd wandered around Brisbane Square we headed back to the hotel really briefly so that we could drop the ice cream and stuff off, then headed out in search of a somewhat late lunch (damn that Chunky Monkey).
Neither of us were screamingly hungry, so we ended up in one of the food courts and had crepes.
We also found those bottles of fruit drinks that we've also had in Sydney and possibly Melbourne (my memory fails me, but I think they do them there too)... I do like them a whole lot, and they're healthy and tasty and all kinds of awesome.
Why doesn't Adelaide have one? Somebody get on that for me, would you?
Anyway, I also indulged my rather serious Mrs Fields cookie habit... so tasty... so very, very tasty, and Ma grabbed some stuff at Priceline, so essentially about half an hour after we'd stopped in at the hotel we needed to stop in again to drop stuff off.
When we came out of the hotel again, Ma said that we should just "pick a direction", so I picked the one direction that we hadn't really been at that point... south west I think...
Which led us straight past Comics Etc (which was on my list of places to go), and led me to grab one of the Kidrobot/Futurama blind box figures (and Ma to get a Character Building Doctor Who blind box figure). I ended up with Sal (the only one out of the whole range I'm not really fussed about) and Ma ended up with Pond... so we're probably going to find one of the other comic book stores tomorrow and/or go back to Comics Etc...
After Comics Etc we kept heading south west and after a brief wander along a fairly unattractive slice of the river bank (and don't even ask me how we got there, I have no idea at all) eventually found our way down to the Botanical Gardens. We probably would have wandered through, but we were pretty much losing the light by that stage and we weren't sure if (or when) they shut the gates on the Gardens, so we ended up wandering along Alice Street and then along the Eagle Street side of the river.
I commented to Ma at one stage that there really wasn't any visible evidence that were we were walking had essentially been underwater at the end of last year... and she pointed out a faint "high tide" mark on the wall next to us. So essentially we would have been up to our hips in water at the time...
We also went past Jellyfish Restaurant... I remember reading something about that during the floods, but once again you wouldn't even know there had been a problem... the only sign was actually a literal sign on the window...
When we got back to the hotel we both went and had a rest for about an hour (by that point my feet were killing me... and I almost fell asleep on the couch while fiddling around with my phone, which is pretty rare for me.
Just after 7 I got changed, wandered down to Ma's room and we headed down to Vapiano in Albert Lane for dinner.
Just as a quick side note: Even Sydney didn't have this many retail homosexuals... The guy on the hotel desk and the guy who served us at dinner last night... the guy in Priceline, the guy in Vapiano... I'm sure there are more, but my mind has gone blank. Anyway, lots of retail homosexuals.
Vapiano is an interesting place... they give you a little swipe card thing when you go in and you use that when you order at the counter. You order from the chef, swipe the card and then they make it right in front of you.
This sounds great in theory, but in practice there seemed to be a lot of people standing around waiting for pasta to be cooked.
More through good luck than good planning I got the Rucola Ravioli, which was pretty much ravioli, rocket and cherry tomatoes... so it took less time that the guy who ordered before I did. Good for me, not so great for him.
After dinner we took a little stroll in search of the Bendigo Bank ATM we spotted last night and then came back here and split the strawberries, half of the remaining partially reconstituted Chunky Monkey and a couple of Mrs Fields cookies... very decidedly om nom nom.
And there endeth our first full day in Brisbane.