Sunday, October 31, 2010

City Life

There's something rather glamorous and exciting about treating yourself to a short stay in a smart city hotel, a feeling of escaping the monotony and responsibility of everyday life, of being a different, carefree person for a while.

Standing on a balcony high up in the air and marvelling at the glittering skyscrapers, you're no longer a wife or a grandmother fretting about the future, just a woman enjoying a brief time out and feeling a stirring sense of possibility about the way life could be.

Apartments lit up like television screens, offer the tiniest glimpse of other people's lives and seeing someone actually swimming laps in the precariously suspended glass pool.

Pressing my camera against the curved window glass to try and get a steady picture of the big wheel on the South Bank..  Failing to do so but enjoying the result anyway.

The feeling of an energetic young city striving ever upwards

Reflections of reflections in the tinted glass

News stands crammed with glossy magazines.  I once worked in the editorial department of a large magazine publishing company and one of the perks was the supply of magazines from all over the world - and best of all, It Was Part of the Job to Read Them!

Men who are confident enough to carry handbags ..

... and enjoy lunch and a glass of wine at a pavement cafe.

A "balloon guy" (balloon twister?) entertaining kids in the Queen Street Mall.  The yuppie uniform of blue longsleeved shirt and chinos seems out of place - maybe a frustrated office worker who yearns for a career change?   I  found the young mother with the pram quite poignant - she doesn't seem that far removed from the young kids playing with their new toys.

Rows of bicycles for hire, a new scheme introduced by the city of Brisbane.  If you return the cycle within half an hour to any one of several other ranks in the city there's no charge.

This speed limit for bicycles is of no concern to the commuters swooshing past at manic speeds on their way home from the office.

The Albert Street Uniting Church on the corner of Ann and Albert Streets, dwarfed by the modern buildings surrounding it.

Waiting for potential customers

I did a double take when I saw this building - I'm assuming that it's S Mellie & Co?

An interesting juxtaposition of signs - massages for weary journalists?

Towering office buildings near the Eagle Street Pier

A peaceful ending of an exhausting day - sightseeing is hard work!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Moving on to Mooloolaba

It's almost guaranteed that the departure date from any holiday spot will result in bright sunshine and dazzling blue skies.   After days of sulky grey skies and humid weather, we said a reluctant goodbye to Noosa . On the return to Brisbane we spent a happy and leisurely day stopping off at some of the beaches for which Queensland is so famous.

A boy, a makeshift fishing rod, bright sunshine and warm water - a recipe for bliss.

Smiles don't come any wider than this.

Sometimes it's not so bad being a dog, especially if your human carries you off the beach so your wet paws don't get sandy.

I can't wait for retirement - I picture it just like this.

When they heard we were coming ... they named a street in our honour!

Cooloolaba was our last stop

Impossible to resist the chance of capturing some reflections.

The ubiquitous signs exhort you to consider hiring boats of any description or signing up for a river cruise.

This little girl wanted the ball so badly and nothing her parents could say or do would convince her that it was immovable. Wails of frustration followed us all the way back to the car.

Time to hit The Bruce Highway - I think that of all the wonderful multi-syllabic names  I encountered this simple title was the one I liked the best.  I don't know whether the road was named for any particular Bruce but I'd like to believe that a certain sly sense of humour played a part in its naming.

Yes, we all agreed - it really had been wicked!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Noosa River Cruising

The vote was unanimous - we would spend the day cruising the river and so, remembering the huge bird we'd glimpsed on our drive the day before (and not stopped to photograph!)  we headed for Pelican Boat Hire, one of the stops for the river ferry.

Noosa is one of the top holiday destinations in Australia and part of its appeal is that it's a less brash and commercialised version of the Gold Coast.  It's also been called "the Monaco of the North" due to the affluence of some of its wealthy inhabitants whose magnificent contemporary glass mansions and large ocean going yachts moored at private docks, make for entertaining, if slightly wistful, viewing.

However, there's another side to Noosa and that is the fact that this is the most wonderful place for families to holiday.  Craft of every description putter up and down this 7km stretch of river, which is fringed by beaches and indented by numerous creeks and inlets.  River ferries afford a convenient and enjoyable way of hop-on and hop-off sightseeing and you can hire any sort of craft you wish - if it's waterproof and floats, you'll find it.  Jetskis, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats punctuate the river with their bright colours while the ubiquitous "tinnies" (small aluminium boats) dart along the shore.

You can take the boy to the river, but you can't take his comic book away !

We chose to go up river first to Tewantin where a market is held on the wharf every Saturday, a lovely idea in principle, but it was fiendishly hot and crowded under the tents so I occupied myself taking pictures of all the yachts at anchor from the shade of one of the buildings.   As usual Gabs, who is an expert and determined shopper,  found a beautiful white lawn top and Kierie, who has inherited his mother's retail expertise, chose a "skull" friendship bracelet for us to take back to SA for Andi.   A strange choice you may think but he knows how much his auntie enjoys scarves or jewellery with the gory image.

Orange juice and cakes afterwards at a coffee shop overlooking the river.

As we boarded the ferry to go downriver I noticed this scene above our heads.

Skimming over the watertowards Noosa Heads.

As we sailed along I was thrilled to see pelicans soaring above us, too far out of range for camera shots, but the closest I've ever seen them before.  Little did I know just how up close and personal I'd get in Brisbane a few days later ...

A little kiosk with a list of services as long as a menu.

The postcard hunter

After an amble down the main street and a stop for ice creams (definitely three scoops, please) we caught the ferry back to The Big Pelican ...

... and arrived back at our apartment, horribly sunburned, to watch the St Kilda Saints play  the Collingwood Magpies footie final.  Alas, the match ended in a draw.  The rules don't make provision for this eventuality so the whole match would have to be replayed the following Saturday.  As staunch Saints supporters we were incensed, particularly as the final ended in a victory for Magpies.  We were robbed!

Over consoling glasses of wine, we made plans for the next day.  We would head back to Brisbane, stopping off at beaches with the most marvellous, tongue twisting names - think Mooloolaba and Maroochydore.  After amusing all and sundry I'd finally learned the correct pronunciation, putting the emphasis on the second syllable of the names.  My problem, however, was that once I learned this I became obsessed with the words and  totally unable to get them out of my mind.  Who was that slightly demented, sunburned woman walking around muttering to herself?


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