September 17: I got up this morning and decided today was the day to walk around Brisbane. I caught the 9am shuttle to the city and it drops off at the transit station. I had decided I would be grab breakfast somewhere, and saw a small shop selling coffee and muffins on special, so that's what I got (making sure not to get short black!). While having breakfast, I noticed one shop had a sign about Vodafone in their entrance. Hoping maybe this is where I could purchase vouchers to finally get my phone working, I went to the counter and inquired. Success! I got a voucher, called from my cell, and managed to set up my account. I then called Grandma and my parents to say "Mr. Hammond, the phones are working." (Jurassic Park, sorry, nerd here.) I then decided I would just wander in the direction of the Botanical Gardens. I was caught by several nice courtyards on the way where I stopped to take some pics. I spent about 2 hours wandering around in the gardens and along the waterfront. When I came out the other side, I was kind of suprised to end up back way uptown. I then walked through the mall area, where I was a little overwhelmed at the number of people darting about. I don't think I've seen that many people in one place the whole time I've been in Australia, even at the opera house. I was getting a little paranoid about being pickpocketed, so I sat on a bench a while and people watched. Kids (meaning ages 15-25) sure do have some crazy fashion statements to be making. I think these types of people are everywhere though, although I have noticed a dramatic drop in the number of black leggings I am seeing, so maybe that was a Sydney fad. I walked a little more, by both Base hostel locations in Brisbane, just for curiosity (and they both have amazing locations, of course, damn it). It was around 2pm, and I wasn't ready to catch the shuttle back, so I continued walking up the way. Another courtyard emerged, right as it began to sprinkle rain. Deciding this was a sign that I needed to stop for a beer, I found a little open air cafe to sit in. I realized this courtyard is the one that will have the live music at for Bribane Festival until September 25. I was considering attending this, but I have a few days to decide I suppose. I ordered a James Squire Amber Ale. The glass says "Never Forsake Flavour." I want to steal it, just since it is a Australian beer glass, but I doubt I can get away with it at 3 in the afternoon. I ordered another and a Margharita pizza, figuring I would make it an early dinner. Brisbane is pretty cool. I think I was just let down after Sydney, which sets some high expectations. I'm really excited about the Koala Sanctuary, but I think the city is a pretty decent place as well.
Ok, but one thing that is beginning to bug me (well, wasn't really an issue until last night when Canada decided to bring it up, although the Andrew guy in Sydney has hinted at it), this whole hating America thing. I'm getting a little peeved about it because it's such a hypocritical hate. I mean, there are some things I do not like about my country, and I will admit, we made and continue to make bad decisions, but being a superpower isn't all it's cracked up to be. We became the world police (yes, much of the reason, due to our own types of policies), and whenever there is conflict, famine, destruction, the entire world looks at us like "ok, what now?" It's a lot of pressure. I don't think I would mind as much if it wasn't, like I said, such a hypocritical hate. Hate us because we continue to spread brands and fast food chains like viruses all over the planet. Hate us because we continue to turn a blind eye to certain attrocities while fighting other ones. Hate us for our music, which now is mostly club music that seems to be making it down here. But don't sit here and hate me while eating a Big Mac and singing Katy Perry's "California Gurls." Don't you see how insane that is? Even as I write this, a remix of Alanis Morrisette's "Uninvited" (who is Canadian, I know, but work with me here) plays in the background. America has it's hand in so much over here, I really don't know what country I would have to go to to completely escape the globalization, maybe some really dangerous one in Africa. Blind hatred for any nationality is just kind of insane though. I mean, how do you assume to know a single thing about me? And one Aussie said Queenlanders hated Americans because of WWII. I don't know enough about Australia's part in WWII to understand what he meant, but what I read in Rusty's book before I got here was that they supposedly like Americans because we are the only reason Australia wasn't fully invaded by the Japanese back then! But whatever reason for WWII hatred, am I supposed to still be carrying a grudge for Germans because they let the Nazi party get in charge and created WWII?! Let's all be a little reasonable about this and have some perspective. If you automatically hate me because I am "'Merican," then you are a hater anyway, and I don't really want a part of that. Get to know me and find out I am a lot cooler than even some of your Aussie friends, I promise. (ok, soapbox off)