Friday, August 26, 2005

G'day Mate

The funny thing about leaving the Northern Hemisphere at night, is that you fly 1/2 across the world for 13 hours at night and you arrive at your destination awake and refreshed (insert sarcasm here) at 5:45 am, ready to start a whole new day. Actually, the flight to Brisbane really wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. Because it was a night flight starting at 11:30 from LA, we thought for sure we wouldn’t get dinner. So, we ate 2 $4 hotdogs (and I know you are thinking – wow, for that price, I bet they were gourmet hotdogs (oxymoron) – but no, they were airport hotdogs) and had to argue with the lady to let me have cups to use for the free water from their soda machine (apparently she didn’t like to give away the cups she had to pay for when someone didn’t want to pay for their drinks - she even tried to tell me that the water spigot was broken, to which I promptly walked over to the machine and showed her that it did - I just spent $8 for 2 hotdogs , I was getting a fricken cup). But, it turned out that Qantas provides a nice midnight dinner, which I pretty sure they’d never seen two people more happy to see airline food. We also had our first introduction to the differences between American English and Australian English. Apparently, Butter Chicken with Peas is not a dried out chicken breast with a side of equally dried out peas (although to me, I don’t think there is ever a delectable pea side dish), it is a chicken masala. So, my husband ended up with a surprisingly tasty airplane dinner and I had the dried out pasta. A guess it pays to ask.

There was also a girl with a laugh from hell. It was loud, high-pitched and radiated around the cabin as if she was sitting right next to you. And because she was on some sort of college vacation extravaganza with all her friends, it was very frequent. Fortunately, my dad had reminded us about how much noise fatigue can affect you and made sure we had some earplugs to take with us. So, not only were we able to drown out the white noise of the engine, but she went with it. We were both able to get way more sleep than we hoped and the flight really didn’t seem to take the 13 hours that it did. The annoying thing about Qantas though, is that they make certain amenities, that are available to everyone on other airlines we have flown, only available to their business class and first class. So the in-seat power jacks I was counting on to let us watch to full Lord of the Rings extended director’s cut on the way home (after all how many times are you able to sit and watch a 12 hour movie all the way through?), we don’t have access to since we didn’t want to pay twice as much for our tickets. We also realized that they don’t have video on-demand for all their seats, so you have to be lucky to catch the beginning of a new cycle ever 2.5 hours or you miss the beginning of the movie. Oh well, I think it will be more of an issue on the way home since that is a day flight and we probably won’t be told to go to bed, like we were getting down.

Our friend met us at the airport and we had a chance to ride the train into downtown Brisbane(commonly referred to as “city”, not “the city”, but “city”) and take a cab out to West End where she lives in a totally cute condo. We didn’t know that she had a two bedroom place, so we were pleasantly surprised when we realized that we had a guest room to sleep in – yay! She fixed us breakfast and we chatted for a while before she had to take off for work – I guess the beauty of such an early arriving flight. We decided that we were going to try not to sleep all day, so that we could fight jet lag. What we ended up doing was killing the jet lag. We left her place a few minutes after she went to work and walked, and walked and walked.

<>We walked all through the local shops – West End is an very multi-cultural end of town with small local shops (several green grocers, fruit shops, butchers, delicatessens, bread shops and even a nut shop!) as well tons of international restaurants and way more coffee houses than even Seattle can boast – and ended up back at Victoria Bridge that crosses the Brisbane River on the way to City. We stayed on our side of the river and walked along the Boardwalk past the Nepalese Pagoda (built as part of the 88 Expo) and to the Streets Beach (which is really just a chlorinated swimming pool with sand). We also walked up and down Little Stanley Street and through the street bizarre at Stanley Street Plaza. We also got falafel wraps at a Mediterranean restaurant in the Central Cafes and ate them on the Boardwalk at the edge of the river.

On the way home, we stopped at the local supermarket (and walked through that as if we were sightseeing) and got some food to make dinner. We fully intended on showering (after all at this point it had been almost 3 days) and sleeping an hour or so until our friend got home from work. But we got sucked in to a True Hollywood Story-like show about Will Smith (I don’t care who they are about, they are hard to turn off) – only this was the happy version show, not the ones where they talk about all the crap they did. So, by the time we did get out of the shower our friend was home and we ended up talking and showing her pictures of some of our old trips (its been a year and a half since we’d seen her) before dinner.

So, that’s all for now and I will check in as much as possible as we go.

Things we realized about Australia:

Street bizarres in Australia sell the same import clothing, jewelry, handbags, nick-knacks and body creams as in the U.S.

Postmen ride orange motorcycles.

Kids were very colorful school uniforms (complete with sun hats for both the boys and girls – OMG – so cute!)

Sandwich veggies are called “salads” (as in – “did you want the other salads?” after I told her no onions on mine).

1 comment:

Nasus said...

It sounds like you guys are having a great time - keep the posts coming! I'm glad you fought for the cups at the airport and was able to drown out the laughing hyena. And hey, what's up with Will Smith's True Hollywood Story? I got suckered into watching that too in Spain - very funny! I love the "salads" comment - I also noticed that the shops were quickly identifiable when I was there (e.g. bottle shop = liquor store, paper shop = newspaper stand...)