The object of Brisbane for me was to cram as many big city delights in as possible. We left Wednesday morning and drove the 3.5 hours south into the city. Brisbane is big, more so than I had expected, so I was kind of glad we were staying in an out of the way B&B in a close suburb. That meant we had free parking, and the room was very nice, too. It was different than other B&B’s I’ve stayed in, though. There was actually a small table in our room and a mini fridge, and they had stocked our room with our breakfast supplies so we could eat in whenever we liked. For Daniel one night this meant 1:30 in the morning when he got the munchies. Thankfully they supplied us with enough stuff he got a real breakfast, too. Here’s a picture of our little table all set up:
It was also the chance to use all the groupon/living social deals I had collected since it isn’t popular enough in Australia to have it anywhere but the big cities. The first one was for a sit down Chinese place. Well, that’s what the picture looked like. It was actually a very, very hard to find hole in the wall noodle bar with not very good food, so that was disappointing, especially after spending an hour trying to find it. However, it did enable us to see the CBD of Brisbane at night, which was very pretty. Brisbane is laid around the dips and bends of the Brisbane River, so you are never too far from water. Here’s some of the city along the river:
We also had tickets to see a play that night, Sweet Charity at one of the arts centers. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a Neil Simon play that actually was very popular when it first came out—nominated for 12 Tony Awards. It was funny and the actors were really good, but admittedly had a less than happy ending, which I wasn’t expecting. Still, it was good, and Daniel even liked it even though it was a musical. It was a little odd, though, because they did the whole play in American accents. Daniel commented that he didn’t come half way around the world to listen to a Jersey accent.
The next day was my pamper day. I got my hair done. I was in desperate need since I hadn’t had it cut since Sydney and it was poorly done then. Daniel met me for lunch and we went to the first big mall we had seen in a while, too. They don’t seem to like malls very much here. It’s mostly strip malls and even the malls can be very sectioned so that you have to go in and out to get to the next series of shops. I got sushi, which is cheap and plentiful in the cities here, but isn’t to be found in Hervey Bay, and a Gloria Jean’s Coffee, which we are also lacking in HB. Afterward, I had a groupon for a traditional Thai massage, which was awesome. Here’s the main area of the place, where they served me tea and spring rolls while I waited:
That night I had another groupon, this time for a Thai place in the West End, a hip downtown neighborhood. It was really good, some of the best food I’d had in while. I had the mixed entrée starter which was a spring roll, curry puff, money purse (hadn’t had this before, but was really good), and a fish cake:
Then I had an excellent green prawn curry with rice in a fancy silver bucket.
Daniel got a spicy mixed seafood noodles with prawns, squid, and scallops that came with these pretty carrot flowers. I studied them for awhile, trying to figure out how they did them, and I’m still not quite sure:
The last day in Brisbane was the Good Food and Wine Show. This was AWESOME! It was just tons and tons of food, kitchen gadget, and alcohol vendors giving away free samples and doing cooking demonstrations to get you to buy their products. Ha! I’m not that weak. Well, I got some cheese, chocolate, and avocado oil, but not much. Most people bought trolleys on wheels and filled them to the brim. However, buying lunch was completely unnecessary. It was like if the Costco Sample section was the size of a football field. It took me three hours just to walk through all of it. I also got to see a show at the celebrity chef theater. I went to see two of the guys on Masterchef Australia. I hadn’t heard of either before I got here, but they are a really big deal here. Sort of like if I got to see Emeril and Paula Deen together live, sort of thing. They were really entertaining, so I enjoyed it.
I was sort of awed at the amount of alcohol, though. It wasn’t just wine, but hard liquor, too, and you could sample as many as you liked as many times as you liked, so I could see how you could get sloshed pretty quickly. I tried to limit myself. I laughed out loud when I was this vendor, who should have been letting people sample their product:
There were also classes you could take in cocktail making, cupcake making, pasta, and barista skills, but they all cost extra, so I just sort of looked in every so often. Eventually I could eat nor drink anymore, so I called Daniel to come collect me and then dump off again at Queen Street, the shopping district in Brisbane. It was pretty immense, and I spent another good couple of hours in there. I really liked this store in particular, which still had all the fancy race day dresses in the window since the Melbourne Cup was this week:
I had just said to Daniel that morning how I would give my eye teeth for a Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, and lo and behold, there was that beautiful green logo! Sadly, I had a bit too much of an American experience there as they did not have the salt sprinkles for it (which is the whole point, thank you very much). That seems to happen to me about 75% of the time at home, too, which is really frustrating. Get on that Starbucks! Anyway, so I was about to get my second favorite thing, a mocha with toffee nut syrup, only to be informed that they wouldn’t have toffee nut syrup until next week. Curses! A pumpkin latte or a peppermint mocha were not to be found, either, since it is almost summer here. I actually whined to the barista, “I came in here to get a taste of home, and you’re telling me you don’t have any of my favorites?” In typical Aussie customer service fashion, he was polite but couldn’t help me in the slightest. I just gave up and walked out sans drink.
All my shopping worked to Daniel’s advantage, as I spied some street vendors selling German bratwurst and Nutella crepes. No parking anywhere, though, so I had to buy it all and balance it while Daniel rounded the block and then came back and picked me up. We eventually found a parking lot to pull into and consume our goodies. Then it was off to the Gold Coast, just an hour away.