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The Sunshine State

Thursday 17th September 2015

We woke up this morning to a grey, overcast and drizzly day. We were pleased that we had decided against a day's trip to North Stradbroke Island in favour of the more adaptable options in the city. Instead we had booked a boat trip for the morning, but we got up a bit late and so breakfast and getting ready to go out was a bit of a rushed affair. In the end the walk to the jetty was much shorter than we thought and so we arrived and boarded in plenty of time.

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It was good that we hadn't had much for breakfast as tea/ coffee and scones were served as soon as we had boarded. It was still quite drizzly so initially we were the only ones who sat on the top deck but once we got underway a few more people obviously decided to brave the conditions in order to get a better view. There was one woman who was going on and on about the length of time it took for her to get health insurance approval before she got medical treatment. On and on she went, she could have saved some bucks and moaned about this on dry land! Eventually she ran out of steam and we were able to continue in relative peace.

As the river wound its way downstream we went past some more high rise office buildings and then under one of the main bridges and out into the more residential parts of the city.

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There were still the remains of some of the old wharf buildings but most of them had been turned into VERY expensive apartments. There were other more modern apartment blocks and some lively old Queenslander style houses so I snapped pictures of a couple of my favourites in case I get an unexpected lottery win!

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The turning point on the trip was just passed Newstead House which is the oldest surviving Brisbane house, built in 1846. As we made the return journey we were told a little bit about the numerous floods in the city including the latest one in January 2011. As we got near to the mooring, our apartment block came into view again and got a mention as the tallest building in the city although this might not last long as an even taller building is planned.

Once we got off the boat we decided to have another look at the southern parklands. We looked first at the Nepalese Pagoda, built by craftsmen from Katmandu for Expo 88.

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We then walked through a rainforest walkway which understandably didn't in anyway match up to the real thing. I also wanted to have a better look at the city beach, which despite the weather still had a few swimmers. The area has several pools, fountains and real Aussie lifeguards although I am not sure that working there rather than one of the wilder surfing beaches would carry the same cache. I was amused by a sign warning people to keep an eye on their children in the water, headed "Lifeguards are not Babysitters". I think there is a whole blog page to be posted on Australian signs, sadly some of which I hadn't photographed. It was by now starting to rain and so ŵe decided to see if we could find somewhere for coffee. Sadly the only available choices nearby seemed to be fast food cafes, but that was fine as we were only wanting drinks. We sat down under a large umbrellas sheltering from the downpour, accompanied by a few other stoic individuals and some rather bedraggled Ibis.

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After a rather lingering coffee break, the rain stopped and we made our way to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) which was just a short walk along the south bank, almost opposite our hotel.

Before having a look round we went and had lunch at the cafe, the food was nice and we sat outside so had a good view of the river. We then went and looked at some Of the work by Australian artist Robert MacPherson. I found some of it a little pretentious, although that may have been more about the descriptions than the art itself. We then went and looked at some Japanese work which I found much more to my taste, particularly the wooden installation by Shigeo Toya and a piece called Soul under the moon by Yayoi Kusama. This was a room with hanging coloured spheres in a reflective space with water at floor level surrounding a central podium. Only a maximum of four people were allowed in at any one time and you were shut in there for a prescribed length of time. It was quite disorientating but fascinating to experience.

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By the time we had looked at these works we were happy to go back to our apartment after a quick look in the shop. I had a slightly disconcerting evening, perhaps it was the recent anniversary of 9/11 terrorist act in New York, but I suddenly had this thought of how horrendous it must be to have to jump out of such high windows. I think this was made worse by knowing that all if the windows in our apartment could open fully which seemed incredibly dangerous. I concluded that it was a great place to stay for a couple of nights but not somewhere I could live longer term.

Posted by Gill's Travels 05:06

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