Thursday, September 23, 2010

Night Ferries, Ferris Wheels, and Vietnamese Noodles

September 18: The more time I spend just shuffling around Brisbane, the more I like it. Last night, while I had resigned myself to a jug of beer at the hostel bar, watching what must be the world's most interesting elderly couple splitting a jug at the booth across from me (I mean, it takes a special kind of person in that stage of their life to actually chose to be in the presence and live among young, hooligan nomads), when my Netherlands roomie came over and asked if she could sit with me. "Of course," I said. She had a salad that she ate while I finished my beer, and she asked what I was doing tonight. When I told her I had nothing planned, she invited me to come with her and ride the ferries at night to see the night scape of Brisbane and take pictures. Of course, I was down.
We started walking from my hostel, and I was concerned about this because I don't feel the best about the neighborhood around me, but she explained her sister has lived in this are forever and all the houses look like this. We got down to the riverfront in about 15 minutes, and I was amazed at what I saw: there were shops, and what looked like a live market happening. There was a street performer and lots of fountains spraying and pools and a man made beach. I had no idea this was down here! We go to find the ferry entrance, all the while I am angling to get the best shot of the city lit up. we boarded our ferry, rode up to Kangaroo Point, then got off to take some shots of the bridge. We circled the park, then waited again for another ferry to pick us up. This time, we rode and got off on the opposite side of the river- the city side. We took some shots of South Bank- and the Ferris wheel!- all lit up. We then walked back across the bridge and back to the hostel. We did encounter a screaming fight, well, it was one girl angrily screaming at three people. It was kind of funny, because they weren't responding to her at all, but she was screaming her head off! Anyway, we got back to our room to find 2 of the roommates had decided to go to bed before 10pm, so we woke them up coming in. I changed into more comfy clothes and went downstairs for some Internet time before bed.

The next morning, I had decided to see South Bank during the day, since I had been so impressed at night. I set out around 10 am, since I had read online that the market opened at 10am. I was able to find it fairly easily, despite the fact that I had only walked it at night. I walked through the market, got a couple more gifts for people, considered a purse for myself, but couldn't rationalize spending that much for a purse. After I wandered through the market several times, I bought a wicked banana- it was a banana that had chocolate injected through it- brilliant! I then walked the park. It wasn't too crowded yet, so I was more able to enjoy the scenery without people. I finally made my way to the Ferris wheel. It was expensive, but I knew I had to ride it, I mean, when would I ever again? Plus, I needed to practice not being a weenie for my hot air ballooning experience in November. I did alright. At first, I said, "I'm going to die," but then I decided it would be a pretty good way to go, so I got over it. And isn't that what overcoming fear is about, making peace with certain death? Well, at least for me.

After the Ferris wheel, I cycled back around through the park. By now, there were tons more people around, in the water, in the market, in the food area. I stopped and got a fast food chicken kabob, two prawns (shrimp), and a spring roll. Mistake. Way too greasy and I only ate about a 1/4 of it after spending all that money. I watched a bunch of teenagers doing flips and cartwheels and acrobatics on the lawn nearby. Teenagers are the same everywhere- just trying to do something, anything, to stand out. Also, I was watching the aggressive birds. The Ibises were out, along with the typical worldwide annoyance- pigeons. I watched as a huge Ibis jumped up on a table and snatched an entire fish right out of an older lady's basket. They all gobbled the fish up quickly, and all the woman could do is sit and watch her probably over $10 meal be devoured by birds. I later got frozen yogurt, but it being different from American frozen yogurt (I think it was literally yogurt that had been frozen), wasn't happy with that either and only ended up eating a small amount of it. After resting a while and people watching to my liking, I headed back to the hostel. I was not feeling so great, I knew I was working on a cold, and since the hostel didn't have a real communal area, and I didn't feel like trying to climb up to my top bunk torture chamber of a bed, I sat on a disgusting, lumpy futon in the lobby for a few hours and watched people go in and out. I had decided I was going to eat Vietnamese food tonight, one because it would be soothing to my throat. I found a place online called Huang's, it said it was amazing, though up a sketchy stairway. That sounded promising, so I searched the place out. I ordered noodles that came with beef and prawns and spring rolls. It was amazing, and I almost finished it all. I walked back home and read in bed until time to go to sleep. I had a rough night of tossing and turning and coughing.

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