A Travellerspoint blog

Our visit to the Sunshine State

with our hostess - Kellie Hairsine!

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View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

When we walked up the ramp from the aeroplane and I spotted Kellie jumping, waving and smiling it was a very good feeling. We hugged and I introduced Adam before we headed down to pick up our bags. A part of that good feeling came from the fact that for the first time in 6 months we didn't really have to do too much thinking for ourselves. Having finally got our bags we followed Kellie to her car or rather her brothers as she usually drives a Ute (a pick up truck) but we wouldn't all fit in there. Then in true Kellie style she launched into a night time sight seeing tour as she pointed out the various landmarks we passed on the way to her home. She has recently bought her own place which is a two storey apartment in a small residential complex. They call apartments units and apparently Kellie's is very unusual because it has two levels. She then placed a home cooked meal and a bottle of wine in front of us, and so our “holiday” began...

The next day Kellie got up and went to work. It was now Wednesday and she was working for the rest of the week, she then had the next one off and we were all heading down to her parent's unit on the coast. Adam and I stayed in the whole of the day. We had considered going into town but the lure of a proper house, a sofa, a tv and a kitchen at our disposal were just too great. We also indulged and washed another load of clothes in a better washing machine with nice smelling powder and then hung it all out to dry on the line. It's the simple things.

When Kellie returned I was reminded of a promise I had made the night before when I had some alcohol induced confidence. Stupidly I said that I would play netball that evening. Kel plays twice a week, once on a Monday in a competitive ladies team and then again on a Wednesday in a supposedly more relaxed mixed team. As she was short a few people and because I had already made my promise I didn't really feel like I could back out. I really wanted to though and butterflies were multiplying in my stomach. I hadn't played netball since I was 15 and although not terrible at it I hadn't exactly thrown myself into competitive team sports. Unfortunately after a week in the campervan my knees were quite a bit better so I couldn't use that as an excuse.

Once Kel had lent me some tight, sporty trousers we jumped in the car to pick up various other members of the team. Firstly Jess, who is Kellie's brother Rohan's girlfriend and one of the most joyously bubbly, vivacious people I have ever met. As soon as she was in the car she was chatting away about this and that and her up beat attitude was pretty infectious. Still I could ignore the gnawing worry in the pit of my tummy. Next we picked up Michael from a street corner, not quite as dodgy as it sounds and Kellie works with him so it was all above board. I made my worries clear and everyone was doing their best to put them to rest. However when we turned up at the sports hall, and I caught a glimpse inside as we looked for a parking space my fears all came rushing back. I was kind of expecting one outside court, with a rusty hoop and limp net only attached by a few threads. Instead there were about eight courts, all with games in full swing and there were plenty of people waiting to play or simply spectating.

Once we were signed in and knew our court we went over to wait for it to free up and Kellie rounded up a couple more players. One guy often fills gaps on other people's teams if they're short, it seems he spends most of his time hanging around the courts. He was friendly though, a slight manic look in his eye but welcoming and clearly up for it. When it came to deciding positions I opted for a quieter but unfortunately still fairly vital role, there isn't a hide in the corner option sadly. I was to be Goal Shooter which meant I mainly had to stick by the hoop and try to score when I got opportunity. Thankfully the ownance wasn't all on me as Goal Attack can also shoot and there was a very capable boy filling that spot.

I must admit that most of the game went by in a bit of a whirlwind. As I was fairly rusty on the rules I just kind of muddled through and thankfully didn't commit any major offences. Adam watched from the sidelines and said that if he had known the rules/ever played before he would have liked to play because it looked like fun. Which I will admit in a way it was, my adrenalin was pumping a bit and I managed to score four goals. A couple of which were at a crucial moment as towards the end there was quite a deficit between the teams and not in our favour. In the end it was a draw, which really stung because in the last minutes we scored but the ref disallowed the goal as a member of the opposition had committed a foal. She therefore wanted us to replay the point and the offender (I think a little clueless like me) took so long to realise what was going on that we never got another chance. All seemed a bit unfair but atleast we didn't lose!! Afterwards people were very nice and told me how well I'd done. I was just relieved I hadn't let the side down in an any major way and pleased that I'd managed to score a few times.

The following day we did make it in to Brisbane. The city sits on a river with the main financial and shopping areas on the North bank, which is where Kellie works as a lawyer. The South bank is therefore home to the everything cultural, artistic and most recently an artificial beach.
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So this is where we decided to head for on Kel's advice and we walked down the road to catch the catamaran. The boats are as well used as buses and it is how many people, including Kel get to work. The sun was shining which made a nice change from the wet west coast and for part of the ride we stood out side. Although it was a nice way to travel it seemed a tad slow when it came to getting people on and off but I think this had a lot to do with it being school holidays.

Once we disembarked at South bank we got our first view of the artificial beach. It was much more extensive and elaborate then either of us had been thinking. I'm afraid it made Birmingham's attempt look a little lame but they have the weather for it here, so it's a bit more of a worthwhile investment. It was like a top end, 5 star hotel's swimming pool which incorporated sand and had many different areas with plants and fun water fountains dotted about. Very impressive. As we weren't planning on having a dip we went off in search of food. This was when I first noticed the Ibis. For those of you that have never seen one they look a little like a vulture I think, with that wrinkly skin on their head and neck, they're big things and they stalk about the parks and outside eateries in Brisbane.
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I was petrified of them. I could not really enjoy my sandwich as I was continuously keeping a watchful eye out for any that might be approaching. When we got up to leave a young boy at another table whispered rather loudly to his mother, 'that girl's afraid of the birds.' Slightly embarrassing.

For the rest of the afternoon we went to the natural history museum which was free and pretty interesting. We were hoping to fully identify any kind of creepy crawly which might be able to do us harm but despite there being a lot dead specimens on display it didn't offer this fairly vital information.
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Still there was a lot of other things to look at and great displays on the indigenous animals to Australia and also an interesting exhibition on Aboriginal culture and history. The treatment of the Aboriginal people by the colonisers is still a fairly thorny subject and the repercussions continue to be incredibly evident but are trying to remedied.

Next we headed over to the art gallery but unfortunately there was a large portion that was closed as the exhibition of American Impressionism had just come to an end. There were still a few things to look at but we ended up outside once more a little early than anticipated.
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We wandered over one of the many bridges that connect the two banks and had a little look round the shops before catching the bus back to Kellie's. She arrived home not too long after us and we packed a few snacks in to a picnic basket and drove over to Red Cliff to watch the sun go down over the city. It was really nice and Brisbane has a very attractive skyline.
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Quite a compact place, and according to Kel still viewed as quite country by the larger cities to the South. To us though it had an incredibly warm and inviting feel, it made Australia seem like a pretty attractive place to live.

Once the sun had disappeared we drove over to a shopping mall for late night shopping. Kellie needed to pick up a few things and she thought it would give us an insight in to normal life. What surprised me most was that it was carpeted, I don't think I've ever been a shopping centre where the main thoroughfare has dark green, patterned carpet. We didn't linger too long, as by now we were all starving so we grab sushi for dinner which is incredibly popular here. It is only the second time I've sat in front of a sushi train and it does make for quite a unique dining experience.

The main focus of the next day was that we would be meeting Kellie after work and going out for a few drinks with some of her friends. Adam and I headed in to town late morning and did some shopping. I had been informed by Kel that I could not wear my sandals as I would probably get some glass in my foot so I needed to find some cheap shoes. Cheap and Australia unfortunately don't really go together, not on our budget anyway and so we had to do some hunting around before we were willing to part with any money.

At about 5pm we waited outside Kel's building and she emerged with a couple of pals. We then headed over to a bar which looked out over the river and had a good early drinks deal on. This is where we spent the next couple of hours and we enjoyed a continual flow of free food from another table who were having some kind of function but couldn't consume all the catering that was on offer. Stuff tastes better when it's free! Next we headed over to the Port House which is where we spent the rest of the night. There were about ten of us in total and we chatted away about our trip and people seemed genuinely interested so that was nice.
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At the end of the night Adam and I ended up talking to some old bloke who was heading over to Wales soon to see his long lost relatives. He was a bit of a character and I think a good night was had by all.
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It wasn't a really late one as Kellie was pretty wiped out and wanted to get a few good hours sleep before we drove to her parents the following morning.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 09:52 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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