Trip Start Oct 03, 2011
28Trip End Dec 25, 2011
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Once unloaded, we headed straight back out again to check out the weekly craft market on the South Bank, and despite the dwindling bank balance, Amy still managed to pick up a few goodies for herself. A quick snack was called for, with Amy yet again opting for the healthy option - deep fried bananas with maple syrup, and Michael going for freshly cooked corn on the cob, yum. We had a meander along the banks of the river, checking out the fake beach (not a patch on the real ones) and the gorgeous walkways covered in flowers and mosaics
Heading back into the city centre, we realised we were just in time for the nightly Christmas parade, so took our places at the front amongst the children (don't worry, we only elbowed a couple out of the way) to see a lovely Christmassy variety of choirs, dancers and Santa. The most impressive bit however, was the three real live camels topped with two wise men and a very wise looking woman. There was also a cute looking donkey which we later discovered had a tell tale zebra stripe... and was in fact a Zonkey!
The next day we headed to the library to make use of their free internet, then under duress, Amy persuaded Michael to take in an exhibition on the illustrations in Aussie children's story books - very cute. Next stop more to Michael's tastes was the GOMA - Gallery of Modern Art, where Amy loved the textiles exhibition (nice quilts - even a couple from Laos) and Michael liked the dream time aboriginal sculptures. Another stroll along the South Bank, across the river and into the Botanical Gardens finished a very chilled day. Brisbane is a totally laid back city, even so close to Christmas, the shoppers looked relaxed and happy, not stressed and hurrying.
Top of the list the next day was a visit to foodie heaven - St James Market - but first we took a detour through China Town, and Michael stopped off at a bargainous hairdressers where luckily he emerged with a normal hairstyle rather than any of the variety of horrible Aussie haircuts that abound, such as the mullet. St James Market took a while, with not only the distraction of food shops but also a very lovely cookware shop (we were very tempted by the gingerbread house cutters, but decided we prefer to freestyle in our house designs, and also, we preferred not to carry them)
For the past couple of days, Michael had been attempting to educate Amy in the rules of cricket, without much success, but we headed off to The Gabba, Brisbane's ground nonetheless, to take in the 20:20 - watching a newly established Brisbane Heat against the Melbourne Stars. A few quick drinks in the German Club let Michael catch up with his former Futsal captain Paul/Lilly, which was really nice, then we headed into the stadium. Despite expecting to be bored out of her head, Amy actually quite enjoyed it, definitely finding it more entertaining than baseball (although the cricket fans weren't quite so sweet and innocent!), with flames been thrown every time a 6 or a 4 was scored, and quite a close game ensuing. There was also the added fun of Shane Warne playing (he was fairly good) and Liz Hurley being whooped at by the crowd. The Aussie irreverence emerged, with even the stadium commentator ribbing the players over the loudspeaker, calling a particularly unfetching player a 'looker' much to the hilarity of the fans.
We headed home through the weird underground bus tunnels that seem to be hidden everywhere under the city, and packed our bags ready our flight the next day. As we weren't flying until the afternoon, we took in the Queensland Art Gallery (the museum being shut), and enjoyed feeling thoroughly cultured - check out Daphne Mayo's sculptures all over Australia.
A smooth ride to the airport later, and we were all ready for our flight to our new home, New Zealand, and looking forward to our home from home over Christmas, staying with Di, John, Bradley & Ryan (long time friends of Michael's family and impressive NZ emigrees).
Love Amy & Michael xxx