Ellie and I are well and truly settling into Brisbane life and getting rotten spoilt. We are currently staying at my third cousin’s house in Eight Mile Plains (around ten minutes bus ride out of Brisbane CBD) and have also finished invigilating exams at Griffith Uni for the time being. We ended up with two weeks work at the uni as they were fairly short of invigilators and they have even offered us some more work for the deferred exams at the end of July. The deferred exams only run for four days but we aren’t going to be turning it down as we still look for something more permanent in the City. So, for the next three and a bit weeks (while we wait for the deferred exams to start) we are and already have been exploring Brisbane and its surrounding areas.
As well as staying at my cousin’s Margaret’s house with her husband Stan, we have also stayed at my other cousin’s – Suzanne (another branch of my complex family tree) and it was with her that we visited a few little coastal towns and places in and around Brisbane. Suzanne lives over the other side of Brisbane in a suburb called Hendra and it is also relatively close to the CBD.
The first place that Suzanne and her husband drove us to was a little coastal town called Redcliffe and we spent an afternoon there. It is quite quaint and has an English feel to it with its pier and fish ‘n’ chips shops so Ellie and I felt a little nostalgic! It is definitely not visited by backpackers with it having a rather large elderly population but it was the perfect type of place to relax in front of the sea with a coffee. It’s great having people that we know to show us around as we are seeing different places away from the normal backpacker routes.
Ellie and I have also managed a trip to Maroochydore (on the Sunshine Coast) to visit Suzanne’s brother Steve (another distant cousin) and his wife Sue while they were staying there for a few days in their new Winnebago. It was great to see them again as they visited England a year or so ago to see us and they said that we can stay with them on the Gold Coast (an hour or so south of Brisbane) when we feel like in the next few months. In fact, my dad is planning on coming over in September for two weeks and he we will be staying with them then. Everyone has been so friendly and forthcoming with places to stay that Ellie and I are extremely overwhelmed (in a good way) by it all!
We have also managed to squeeze in going to our first game of rugby league by going to see the Brisbane Broncos play the Canberra Raiders at the SunCorp Stadium in the centre of Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. In what was proving to be a routine win for the Broncos with them being 24-0 up with 20 minutes to go, Ellie and I thought it was quite a pleasant game of rugby to be introduced to but almost in an instant the game with a flurry of Raiders tries – the game was turned on its head. At the end of the game, the game was tied at 24-24 and we were suddenly caught in the midst of an epic battle with Golden Point (20 minutes of extra time until a team scores a point – this can be from a try, conversion, penalty) set to be played out to decide the winner of the game after the final whistle. With the Broncos fans wondering how their team had let such a comfortable lead dissipate into thin air, within 3 minutes of Golden Point being played – the Broncos had kicked the winning point and left their fans breathing a huge sigh of relief. From a neutral perspective, it was a cracking game to watch and be involved in!
On the topic of sport, I played my first game of indoor five-aside soccer the other day for Margaret’s son’s team and that proved to be an interesting experience! I was asked to play centre back for the majority of the game and to say I was a fish out of water would be an understatement. Having only played just about played goalkeeper before, I certainly wasn’t ready for such a fast moving game. I did however, manage to get stuck in and hoof the ball clear a few times but within about 10 minutes of the first half, I was heavily panting and looking towards the subs bench to see if anyone else wanted to come on!
Anyway, I managed to get through both halves and we drew 3-3 in the end. I think only one of the goals was my actual ‘indirect’ fault so I didn’t think I did too bad... Been given the nod for the next game (they are short of players) so hopefully I will be a bit sharper. I remember an interview with Brazilian Ronaldo (El Fenomeno) at the beginning of this year when he announced his retirement from the game and he said that he knew he it was time for him to retire because his feet and body weren’t doing or going where his brain wanted them to go. At times I felt like that during the course of the game! Luckily, I am not a former FIFA World Player of the Year and don’t have anything much to live up to so...it’s all good.
This Wednesday is the final State of Origin game and with the series tied at 1-1, it’s going to be a big one. Queensland (The Maroons) are playing at home and it’s the Queensland’s Captain’s final State of Origin game before he retires (Darren Lockyer) so Queensland are hoping to send him off with a victory. If you haven’t heard of the State of Origin (we hadn’t before we came out here), it’s pretty BIG in Eastern Australia to say the least. When it comes to rugby league, the two states hate each other and it makes for a massive rivalry and an incredible atmosphere in Queensland when it’s game day. I would advise anyone to try and catch the game on Wednesday (probably on early Thursday morning on Sky Sports in the UK) and see for yourself what it is all about. I guarantee it will be explosive!
On the subject of State of Origin, Ellie saw something in the local paper the other day about the State of Origin Polo Match taking place in Brisbane on Saturday (3rd) and we thought it would definitely be worth a watch. With both of us having never been to a polo match before, we didn’t particularly know what to expect but it ended up being a fantastic day out. There were three games played throughout the course of the day (Brisbane vs Gold Coast, Queensland Country vs Queensland City and finally, Queensland vs New South Wales) at Eagle Farm Race Course and in the big State of Origin game, Queensland ran out eventual 8-6 winners after going behind early on. The State of Origin game was competed in excellent fashion and certainly managed to get us into the mood for this Wednesday night.
Finally, we have also managed to visit the Museum of Brisbane, travelled on the City Cat (the river boat that takes you down the City River), been to various art galleries on Brisbane Southbank and spent time relaxing in the City parks. We have crammed in a lot to the last three weeks or so and we are also looking to visit the old Queensland Government Buildings in the Brisbane CBD during the next week.
For a City that is often ‘skipped’ by backpackers and travellers, we are certainly unearthing a few great places to visit and making the City our home for the time being anyway.
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