Edit Blog Post
Published: January 12th 2012
Even here, the summer was struggling.
In Brisbane, we had the double benefit of hospitable friends with cars and time off work. So we were chauffered around Queensland’s south-eastern corner, from lush green mountainside to sparkling bay, from the bright lights of Bris-Vegas (as it is sometimes called, for no discernable reason) to time-warp rural towns.
Kris and Carley hosted us wonderfully for no less than 10 nights. Friends of Mina from their London days, these kindly Aussies foolishly indulged Ben by encouraging him to run through his range of stereotypical accents, including, of course, Australian, mate. You beauty. Hmmm, it works even less well in print.
Not only that, with their help, we learned to surf, with moderate but surprising success; ate a whale’s portion of seafood; saw test match cricket at the famous Gabba (well, one of us did – guess who); jumped the waves and lay in the golden sands of the Sunshine Coast; played darts and lawn bowls (yes, really); and survived a tropical downpour at Australia Zoo. (See our earlier blog for pictures of that.)
Also accompanying us on many of these fun days were Ben’s uni mate Meryl, husband Allen and three year old Ieuan. They’ve been down
Over the hills and faraway
Queensland is pretty green and hilly in this south east corner
under for over two years, and like the other Brits we met, show no sign of returning to Blighty in the foreseeable future. They’ve even gone native and begun to call flip-flops “thongs”.
Despite apparently sharing a language, we have become familiar with many instances of Aussie-English deviation. True born ‘Strayans can sometimes be heard referring to beer as “piss”. Having spent the day sampling the alcoholic offerings at the Gabba, it became apparent why perhaps this might be. The company of Kris and Allen, and a good day’s cricket, that simmered, but never quite reached boiling point, nevertheless made up for the filthy beer. Plus there were no delays due to bad light or rain.
Jez, a school-friend of Ben, lives in Brisbane too, with his wife, Bea. We spent an enjoyable evening with them, eating even more food. Tellingly, Jez referred to their home as a “unit”, as the Aussies like to call their apartments. It sounds too clinical for our liking, rather like a cell on a space ship, or in a prison. Perhaps there’s a clue there.
We learned another new word on the way to Brisbane – “schoolies”. Lucky kids, who, having
finished school for the year, head to the beaches with their mates, for a week or more of sun, sea and who knows what else. Unwittingly, we entered their domain – the overnight train from Sydney to Brisbane had become the schoolies’ party train. Their high spirits made it a restless journey. With friends with cars and time to spare, our Australian train adventure had drawn to a close. It had taken us from Darwin to Brisbane, the long way round, via Alice Springs, Adelaide, Warrnambool, Melbourne and Sydney, through varied scenery and decreasing levels of comfort. We’d do it again though. Most of it, anyway.
Next stop – New Zealand – no friends, no trains.
Tot: 0.029s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 22; dbt: 0.0055s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb