Sunday, January 16, 2011

Floods and wizards and bored in Brisbane!!

Thursday 13th Jan 2011 – Brisbane.

Well, we survived!! The expected flood level of 5.4metres actually didn’t happen last night. In the end the highest the Brisbane River got to was a metre under the predicted level. That’s not to say it wasn’t a disaster, but luckily it wasn’t as bad as it was expected to be yesterday. After our evening of watching movies, I had taken a walk don to the river and been told off by a local policeman, before heading sheepishly back to my pit.

This morning we were all woken by the Japanese couple, who were sharing our room, when they started to pack up. I have never heard one person make so much noise with one small plastic bag – add to that the fact that he and his girlfriend BOTH spent about half an hour blow drying their hair, you could tell that by the time they turned the light on we were all fully wide awake!

Eventually they left and we all took our time to get up and get ourselves ready for the day. I decided to have a shave – which is only the 3rd time I have had one since I left UK in September!

After a bit of breakfast, Lisa and Donna decided to relax in the hostel. Andrea planned to go out later and so I went out on my own to explore the city of Brisbane. I first headed towards the city centre, where the shops are. Most of them were closed with a few having sandbags and plastic sheeting covering all the doors and windows – There were a few that were open though and you could see a lot of people clearing up getting ready to open later or tomorrow. I made it as far as the Botanical gardens which were closed as they overlook the riverbank and were lightly flooded. It then took me a while to get back where I came from as every time I turned a corner, I was greeted by the sight of a flooded road and mud everywhere. There was also the sound of fast flowing water coming from an underground car park that was closed off.

I made it back to the riverbank and crossed one of the bridges towards the museum area. I was greeted once again by the sight of water and mud covering the main street by the museum. The only way around was to take the path that runs through the museum and actually has 3 full size blue whales hanging above you – for no apparent reason that I could see!

I headed back over another bridge, stopping to watch the debris that was still floating down the river. I could see the height of the river had dropped at least a foot since yesterday and probably more, so at least it looks like the worst is over.

I continued walking and came across Albert Park, which is a lovely little Oasis right in the heart of the city. It has many different and unusual plants species as well as lizards (wizards) everywhere and waterfalls, ponds and Japanese water fountain, which makes a really cool noise as you push a button on a rock (It is actually really good and much better than I make it sound!)

After watching some blokes play cricket for a while, I headed back to town and got myself a pie stack from Pie-face and then headed back for a bit of rest in the Hostel. Lisa and Donna were still there and hadn’t left all day, but Andrea, who came in shortly after me, had been out and had a look around the museum quarter like I had. I told her about the park and thought we might go there tomorrow, to relax and mellow out for the afternoon.

In the evening, after the girls had straightened their hair, we headed downstairs to 'The Tin', which is the bar that is attached to the hostel. Its a fairly nice bar, but lacks a bit of atmosphere. We did attempt to find a different bar, but the city is pretty deserted because of the floods, so we went back to the tin and had a final beer before heading to bed.

During the night Andrea was woken by someone coming into the room, looking for the girl who has made all the mess, but she wasn’t there, so the guy left pretty quickly. Andrea complained about it to the receptionist in the morning, but she really didn’t care.

We got up around 10am and me and Andrea took the key cards to reception and swapped room 15 for room 20. The new room, is about the same size, but has no shit all over the floor like room 15 and is much nicer! After moving our stuff we settled in for a quick nap, before deciding what to do for the rest of the day.

After a quick nap and when Lisa and Donna moved upstairs too, I wandered out and down to the local Coles, supermarket to do the shopping, leaving the girls behind to get themselves ready. It was a lovely warm day outside and the city was finally coming back to life, with plenty of traffic on the now open roads. I got the shopping and met up with the girls in the kitchen of the hostel when I returned. A local woman had left a load of free pasta in the fridge and so we helped ourselves to a bit of free food! Then after lunch and while the laundry was going in, me and Andrea took a walk down to the park I went to yesterday and after a walk around, we sat down on the grass by the lake and mellowed out, reading books and chatting. Lisa caught up with us later on and we all had a nice relaxing afternoon in the sunshine.

We went back to the hostel for about 6pm and the plan for the evening is to go to The Tin for dinner and a few drinks. It is Donna's last night tonight before she flies to Melbourne tomorrow. We are hoping for a good night out!

And a good night it was – we had a really good meal in the bar – burgers or pizzas and then spent a while playing pool between ourselves and then with some of the guys in the bar. What was supposed to be a mellow night out ended up with us being some of the last people left when the bar closed. I decided to head off to bed, but the girls went to the TV room and finished off the wine from a couple of nights ago, before coming up to bed a lot later!!

In the morning, Donna got out of her bed and was away for her flight before 9am. Its really the beginning of the end, as we are now down to just 3 of us and soon it will be me on my own in Cairns. I’m hoping we have a good few days before I end up alone though. It was sad to see Donna leave, but she is excited about getting home next week and we all wish her a good trip and we will definitely miss her. After she had gone we kept being woken up by housekeeping as the cleaned the bathroom, then changed the sheets and finally when they thought I should have booked out -but it was their mistake!

The three of us finally made it out of bed by lunch time and after some soup for lunch, me and Andrea headed out to the Brisbane South bank museums, while Lisa went to get some waxing done.
Unfortunately for us, the museums were still closed due to the flooding and we couldn’t get in any of them, so me and Andrea tried to find a nice park to sit in and enjoy the sunshine, but the park on the South Bank was also closed and we were moved on by a woman with a megaphone. We actually made it into the Botanical gardens, but it was still being cleaned up and had a not very pleasant smell in there. On the walk back to the Hostel, we found a nice small bookshop that had some bargains in, so Andrea got herself a guide book for New Zealand and then we took the short walk home. Lisa was on her bed when we got back and was just relaxing, so we all clambered onto our pits and had a nice couple of hours doing nothing, before dinner.

Lisa wasn’t feeling too well later on, she is full of a cold and cant stop coughing, so me and Andrea went down to the kitchen and cooked the rice and veggie burgers that we had for dinner. Then we called Lisa down and she sat and ate with us. There was plenty of food and it was pretty good, since I’ve never cooked proper veggie burgers before!!

Then we sat in the TV room for a while watching some musical talent show on the tv from UK, when Andrea noticed some fella that she was at school with in one of the singing groups. Unfortunately Aussie TV is a bit mad and the programme seemed to end right in the middle and we don’t know how they got on.

For the rest of the night me and Andrea sat on the bed watching ‘Oz’, which is a 90’s prison drama TV show in the same vein as ‘The Wire’. Its very gritty and hard to watch in places but bloody good. Lisa spent her time coughing and watching True Blood on her netbook. I had a good email with some good news too - I have got myself booked on another bus tour - This time a month around New Zealand - cool!
We went to bed just after midnight and got up late as well - The girls spent their time getting ready to leave and discussing which books, clothes and other shite they need to leave behind - I just vegged in bed, had a shower and than after packing some of their stuff in my bag and being reminded to leave by the same girl who sorted out my booking problem yesterday, we were ready to go by 11am!

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