Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 is the new 2006

Happy New Year everyone. I tried to text some of you when the midnight hour came around, however all the local mobile networks told my roaming phone to sod off, so those of you that did receive a text didn’t get it until about 7am my time.

On Saturday Phil, mum and I went to Brisbane for the weekend. We had to leave Phil 2 behind on the Sunshine Coast - he has been diagnosed with Glandular Fever, bacterial Tonsillitis, a full body rash, and an ear infection, all at once. He’s been sleeping most of the past ten days. If his ear infection doesn’t clear up in the next three days he won’t be able to fly home. Lucky bugger. Still, he’s starting to look a little brighter. Using a very handy website called the three of us managed to book ourselves into the posh 5 star Stamford Plaza hotel on the river for a fifth of the usual price. We’d managed to get the most expensive rooms that weren’t in a suite for next to nothing. So what made it posh? Was it the panoramic view from my 21st floor bedroom window? The in room DVD player? The Italian marble bathroom? The doorbell for the room? No my friend. It was the three telephones in my room. One of which was next to the toilet. I was sorely tempted to order room service whilst making space for it at the same time (it’s an efficiency thing), until I noticed how much room service cost. After I’d managed to avoid swallowing my tongue in shock I put the receiver down and walked away.

View from my room

More view from my room

We took a river cat to South Bank to have a ganders at a part of Brisbane I’ve never seen before. It’s got the upcoming trendiness of Southbank in London, except the renovation work is pretty much complete. There’s even a small ‘Streets’ (the Aussie version of Walls Ice Cream) ‘beach’ complete with lifesavers. The water is chlorinated and in a closed loop so it’s not really a true beach. Beachette would be a better word, though the Oxford English would probably beg to differ. I couldn’t quite understand why there were lifeguards there either; do many people drown when standing in waist high water? Whilst Southbank is all impressive modern buildings and trendy City living, South Bank is all about getting away from the crush of the City high risers and getting into the crush of a tiny chlorinated ‘beach’ with approximately fifteen billion tourists.

Whilst we were waiting for the next river cat back to the City, we were minding our own business when we heard what sounded like a pair of rubber wellies being dropped ten metres onto tarmac. Closer inspection (well, I say closer, it was more like ‘a safe distance of about 3 barge poles’), revealed the sound to have come from a two foot possum at (plus two foot tail) falling ten metres onto tarmac and narrowly avoiding hitting a group of (now rather startled) Chinese tourists. Think of it as a two foot orange rat with the face of a cat and you’ll be on the right track. Nobody screamed or anything. At least, not on the outside. But you could tell from the expression some people were wearing that they were trying desperately not to freak out and run away.

South Bank (site of Possum incident)

A MAN-SIZED disco ball at South Bank

In the evening we went to the Treasury Casino and then for a meal at a Teppanyaki restaurant called Kabuki. It was much fun and I ate so much that I nearly died (comparable to a Tom-sized starter). Three groups of people share a table that has a big hot plate in the middle and the chef cooks in front of you whilst throwing things in the air and making you catch eggs in bowls (that end up all over you). We were sat with a NZ couple and an Aussie family of three from the ‘look how much money we have but our lives are empty and we hate each other’ school of thinking. Halfway through the meal our chef was chopping the now cooked egg (that we’d each caught raw with varying success) for the rice with some theatrics, and when he got to the end he chipped a bit off that went sailing towards the rich mum of the family. She threw what is technically referred to as a ‘hissy fit’ in the business, and demanded that the chef walk away from the table. Obviously he wasn’t going anywhere since he still had seven other people to cook for so she just got all angry and walked out herself. Her husband didn’t bother following and after ten minutes she came back in, had a minor tantrum, ordered her husband and daughter to leave with her, and promptly started an argument with her husband outside the restaurant. They dragged the manager out and everything. The remaining diners (myself included) exchanged relieved smiles, stopped studying our bowls of rice with fevered concentration, and found our attention split between the chef’s acrobatics and the fight going on outside. Best dinner entertainment ever.

In the restaurant they had a cabinet containing the chopsticks of celebrities who had dined at the restaurant too. In that case was a set of chopsticks for the Black Eyed Peas. Apparently they only need one set between them.

Back to Buderim.

For those of you who are interested, extensive research by myself today has found that the album ‘9’ by Damien Rice is the best album to burn to whilst sunbathing. I’ll forever associate the line ‘Tell ‘em I’ve been cooking coconut skins, and we’ve been hanging out’ with third degree sunburn. It doesn’t help that my after sun lotion is coconut scented.

New Year’s Eve was pretty much a non-event/endurance task this year. We spent NYE in the house playing card games and watching bloody awful films on TCM. It had a certain element of family time cringeworthiness to it, but it was nice. Midnight came; we each downed a glass of champagne, and went to bed.

Here’s to our best year yet.

The Aussie take on Christmas window displays

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