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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

18th August 2010 Brisbane, 10:15am

18th August 2010 Brisbane, 10:15am

Australia!!! It is so good to be back here. Hong Kong is now in the memory bank and after a completely sleepless 24 hour journey, we set up camp in our old haunt here in magnificent Brisbane. The sun is shining, not too hot, 24 – 26c during the day and cool at night. The flight into the city airport was breathtaking, having landed in Sydney, watching the boats gliding under the harbour bridge and the Opera House from a few thousand feet up, we then flew domestic Qantas for 2 hours up to Brisbane, with the coastline to our right and the Blue Mountains to our left, we saw Bondi Beach, Byron Bay and miles upon miles of perfect turquoise ocean breaking onto white sandy beaches. Had we have crashed then, it would be safe to say there are worse ways to die.

The first thing that strikes you about Australia is the sunlight. It is so clear and clean and the sky is so blue, something which we rarely see in the Northern Hemisphere any more due to the climate and the pollution. But when you consider that in the UK there are 70 million people and that Australia has just 20 million and is 20 times the size of our little island, then its not difficult to see how they maintain such pristine skies and beaches and forests.

The bird life in Brisbane is varied over here as well, the crows even squawk in Aussie accents – it’s true – remember the crabs in ‘Finding Nemo’ shouting “Hey, Heey” – a bit like that! There are doves with mohican's outside our tent, brush turkeys who skirt the perimeter of the campsite, large inquisitive ibis, rainbow laureates, galahs – yes I know – “Flaming Galahs!!” – cockatoos, minah birds, in the evenings there are giant flying foxes which stink of wee, although apparently that smell is actually the B.O., they haven't all been wetting themselves!

It hasn’t all been roses mind you, without sleep and with all our luggage, Mel and I didn’t have enough energy to make it into the city yesterday, we pitched our tent, bought some provisions and went to bed for a 15 hour sleep.

The supermarkets have a more impressive selection of products than I remember from our last trip here in 2004. More vegi stuff, including Quorn, which wasn’t here back in the day. Very cheap meat, so I was happy. Other stuff is more expensive mind you. A good loaf of bread can set you back as much as $5 and theres $1.7 to the £1. Swings and roundabouts as far as pricing goes, fruit is relatively cheap. Beer is $8 per pint mind you, something I found out last night as we ventured into town to meet a friend of ours, Laura Prentice, who works for Emerites Air, which means the world is very much her play ground – don’t envy her the Jet-Lag though, not after what we have been through in recent weeks! Laura was so tired in fact that she didn’t show up for drinks, so we rearranged for Friday when we’ll do lunch.

Something else which has struck me about Australia is how friendly everyone is, each person we have met has been friendly, including the bus drivers, which is quite a shock given the experiences we have all suffered on the buses of the UK.

Then off course theres the lingo:

Aussie - English

"That's fackin Sik Kant!" - "That sounds rather nice pal."
"She'll be rite!" - "That will be absolutely fine."
"Strewth!" - "Oh."
"Fack me sideways!" - "That's surprising."
"Just goin fora sqirt rand the dunny" - "I'm just just popping in to spend a penny."
"Fancy a root?" - "Would you like yo pop in for 'coffee'?"

Plans for next few days include keeping this up to date, checking out the official wedding venue, eating Vegemite, meeting up with old friends, whale watching, Mel's going up in a Tiger Moth, surfing in Byron Bay, getting a tan, getting married, staying a 5 star boutique Hotel - called the Emporium, Brisbane, if you want to check it out ( going to Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo ( "Strewth, that's a beauty of a crock mate!!" - and that's just for starters!!!!

"Catch ya soon mate!"

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