AUSTRALIA, DAY 4 – PART 2


Having emerged into the pleasant sunlight, we start strolling through the riverbank area of South Brisbane, partly to look around, partly to get something to eat.  It’s a picturesque and pleasant place, with restaurants, little shops and attractions aplenty.

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There is a lovely arbor to walk under.

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There is even a small beach, with bodies in an appropriate degree of deshabille, and that in “the dead of winter,” if you please!

IMG_9552In many places (and not just in Brisbane), there are nice little mosaics set into the pavement: a very nice artistic touch indeed.

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South Brisbane was transformed from a largely derelict industrial area into a choice recreational area by World Expo 88.  Though this had occurred 25 years ago, its remains are still in evidence.  Many of the building survive and have been repurposed, and the monorail was disassembled but rebuilt elsewhere.  The Sky Needle, which was to be moved to a Disney park in Japan, had been purchased by a wealthy Brisbane hair stylist and remains in South Brisbane.

The many interesting things to see include the remaining Human Factor sculptures (about a hundred had been commissioned Expo 88), and

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the Nepal Peace pagoda with some extraordinary carvings.

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But before we start the tour, the stomachs must be tamed.  We find a place to eat where we become familiar with the Australian version of burgers: i.e. meat, cheese, the usual veggies and a thick slice of red beet.  We also meet the first of many unique denizens of Australia: the white ibis.

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strict orders to ibises to avoid people food

The ibises we met in Brisbane were completely unafraid of people, not to mention thoroughly cheeky.  (Lisa really likes that word: she said a few days later that, for the first time in her life, she had heard “cheeky,” “dodgy,” and “bum” in the same conversation, and found this feat impressive.)  In any case, despite strict orders from the Ibis Management Coordination Group not to partake of people food, the birds did so anyway, with aplomb.

a cheeky ibis

a cheeky ibis

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two cheeky ibises

The surprises continue.  Here is the African sausage tree, having a great time in Brisbane,

IMG_2160and a cool vehicle, proving that kids are the same everywhere (and good on them, too).

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Well, almost time to meet up with the tour guide.  We head to the South Brisbane information center, which in on the corner of Stanley and Ernest Streets.  There, we find the guide, a pleasant elderly couple from Canberra who are also taking the tour, and another elderly gent who is apparently training to be a guide.

Of note, this guide service is completely free.  It is operated by knowledgeable volunteers out of the information centres, and is definitely worth it.  Needless to say, the tours are very popular, and it is therefore a good idea to call ahead to make a reservation.

Our guide turns out to be an American expat who has lived in Australia since 1975.  As we walk around the waterfront, he takes us to the various South Brisbane sights while giving us a quick history of South Brisbane and Expo 88.

We gradually wend our way along the curvy arbor to the Queensland Maritime Museum, which is housed in one of the repurposed Expo 88 buildings, and which we did not have a chance to visit.

IMG_9579 IMG_9580The museum is hard by the Goodwill Bridge that crosses the river back to downtown.  At this point, the guide offers us the option of ending the tour here, or crossing  to downtown and continuing there.  We all opt for the longer walk.

Onto the (pedestrian and cyclist) bridge we venture.  It affords a nice view up and down the Brisbane River, which is a very busy place.  It offers transportation and ferry services on the blue CityCats, as well as free service to a limited number of points on the brand-new CityHopper boat system.

IMG_9564A view northwestward shows the skyline of downtown as well as the lunapark with its ferris wheel.

IMG_9583Boating seems to be a popular sport.

IMG_9582-cropIMG_2175Why, you can even cruise the Brississippi on the Kookaburra Queen!

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the bull shark - a nasty man-eating varmint

the bull shark – a temperamental, man-eating varmint

However, I would not want to swim there because of these varmints, which can come and go from salt to fresh water as they please, and which do not mind snacking on humans.  On the other hand, encountering the Queensland lungfish would not trouble me overmuch – I hope.

Ah-ha!  Hence the enclosed beach area.

Ahem.

This file is apparently getting so big, what with all the pictures, that it keeps freezing up the computer.  I must stop here and continue in Day 4 – Part 3.

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About Michael J. Kubat

I'm a grumpy Czech-born clinical social worker who is vitally interested in the survival in the United States as a viable democracy and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
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