From Upover to Downunder and Back Again...

August-September 2007

From time to time some of us are let out from under our dank, stone bridges and let fly about the mundane planes. Sometimes we stop and linger here and there to smell beverages, taste the air or even buy souvenirs like plush toys, placemats or fudge. Although, fudge makes a poor souvenir since it never seems to make it home.

The original plan was to go to Leeds in what used to be called Yorkshire. We didn't go so far astray because they reorganised the British counties (although it certainly didn't help... I'm pretty old fashioned in some ways).

A trip downunder to New Zealand and Australia may have been our second choice (well third choice actually) but it could never be something to regret. I am reasonably convinced that people are pretty much the same, kind, helpful, wonderfully eccentric, generous and hospitable just about everywhere, but damn... some of them certainly do talk funny!

In the Phantom Zone... (Auckland)

Auckland is built in a volcanic field; it is the largest city that is. This is a remarkable distinction.

In Auckland, there is a sky tower (most cities seem to have them these days). From the observation deck there are 48 volcanos visible, although some of them are full of water and some are hard to spot. I cannot see any in this photo.

The thing I like about this picture is the way it has banished Rob and myself to the "Phantom Zone" (as invented by Jor El) and made me look fat. Go figure...

Time to Explore the Great Southern Land...

We fly from Auckland to Brisbane... six hours late because ANZ cancels our flight: "the plane is broken" they say. ok... we'll wait for one that's not broken. Broken bad, not broken good.

It's not my first time in Brisbane, Queensland and my wife has been here before as well, but for my sister Sue and for Rob Duff, it's the first time. So they are in their 'exploring a new land' pose and I'm just being companionable.

Everyone Needs Roots...

New Farm Park has lots of birds and vegetation that, coming from London or Vancouver, I find a bit... 'eccentric'. One has to wonder why a tree would put so much energy into growing roots above the ground. Another mystery.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

This Tree Looks like how I feel...

New Farm Park has lots of what seem to my eye as rather unusual things. One friend asked, 'what's with the giant turnip?'

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

A Meal Consisting Entirely of Appetisers...

In 1986 Vancouver had a World's fair and in 1988 Brisbane had one. The big difference is that Brisbane didn't sell off the land to their millionaire 'buddies', and Southbank still has a 'cultural centre' fairgrounds feel to it. It's a lovely place with museums and art galleries and nice places to eat and drink.

I like it when I can have a meal consisting entirely of appetisers. In general, you can get lots of variety and save money at the same time. It surprised us when this meal cost over $100... still it's only Aussie dollars and we are paying for ambience.