Friday, February 13, 2015

History of Brisbane

I think had an adrenaline marathon for the first 5 days or so here...because I'm crashing pretty hard, now. This is the second night in a row I've gotten home early(ish) so I could put on pajamas and curl up in a ball of quiet. At 5:30pm. But, for the sake of documenting my memories before they get morphed in a world of bias...I shall persevere.

First thing to note is that I called the cryptic message person, and I do have a place to move into next Friday! A beautiful space with an impressive view and a nice roommate. I feel like I can breathe again!

I went back to IWC today to meet more fellow water students. It was kind of a repeat of Wednesday, so I have little to report, except that the staff of IWC proved their stripes again, being super helpful and supportive while I ran down my list of Most Recent Questions and Concerns. I also made another friend, Denver Meg. Again, it's funny that I'm linked up with a bunch of Americans while abroad.

Malasian Denise, Denver Meg, and I went out to Chinatown for lunch after our meeting. Well, truthfully, Chinatown is about three blocks of Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, so I'm not sure it can be called a town. Maybe Chinablock?

They also joined me for a tour of Brisbane. The Brisbane Economic Development Board offers a free tour service for tourists and new arrivals called Brisbane Greeters. Sadly, the lady I had reserved a week ago was accidentally double-booked, so my (well, our) private tour got extended to the public and our group increased by 10+ more people. Oh well, the guide was pleasant and informative - despite the crowd - as told us about the history of the town.

Brief history, that is. Most of the history of Australia has happened within the last 200 years; sometimes you could hear the Europeans in the group chuckle when she said things like, "This happened back in 1920!" I admittedly held back my bemusement, as well. It just seems so strange to think that their history is as young as it is, since a lot of the Western World starts around 500+ years ago.

And some of the pride in the history kind of startled us. The guide proudly explained how Brisbane came to being when convicts in Sydney committed more offenses than their original offenses. Essentially, it's a place created because some of the convicts were being particularly bad and weren't allowed to be with the other convicts anymore. She then explained that one of the head guys who developed Brisbane (and was a big founder/funder of UQ), a Mr.Mayne, was in fact a murderer!!

That just does not seem like something to relish in a history...but I guess you just go with what you have got?

Happily, she also took us through a woodlands area of the city, and got us to cool off under the big shady trees in the park (it was hot and humid all day). I really appreciated that she also made a point to highlight important water landmarks in the area for us three water students. She gets an A for memory and considerations.

After the long tour, us three decided to go to a fancy little cafe the guide mentioned that sits in City Hall - Shingle Inn. During the tour we witnessed some magical-looking emerald green smoothie glide past us. We all agreed that we needed to try it. It is called a Lime Mint Julep. Now, in the US, a (Kentucky) julep contains bourbon and has a minty kick to it. But at the Shingle Inn? It's a damn good ice cream blend of mint and lime in a delightful parlor glass. Lots of silent appreciation occurred at our table for a little bit as we sipped our juleps. We also got little tortes to complement our juleps, and they were also delightfully tasty.

After that? I came back to the airbnb and put on my pajamas. A kind New Zealander I had met while house hunting invited me to a house party tonight to help me meet new people...and I turned it down pretty quickly; I know I'm no fun right now.

Last thought: Wild turkeys hang out all over the place. One stalks the area on my route to the bus station every morning. As soon as it sees me approach, it will start kicking its legs back, like it's ready for a dance off or something. If nothing else reminds me on a daily basis that I'm no longer in NYC, this certainly does the trick.

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