Big City Lights
Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
85Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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I fell asleep on the bus on the way down and awoke to find the bus pulling into a servo (service station) with a rather surreal sight: an enormous 13 metre kangaroo on the side of the servo. It turned out that Matilda (the 'roo) was actually built and used as a mascot for the ’82 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. How the mighty had fallen! After being a TV celebrity during the games, now she was just a pulling point for a servo. After that it was a short drive to Brisbane itself, heralded by suddenly finding ourselves on a motorway
On arrival at Brisbane, Diana was waiting for me. She’d been in Brisbane for about 2-3 weeks, so I was expecting her to know everything about the city and to guide me round. After checking in at the hostel, we took the ferry into town. It brought back memories of the river ferry in Bangkok, particularly how safe it was here, unlike the slap dash, bordering on the dangerous manner that the Thai crews ran their ferries. First up, in Brisbane was the South Bank. Like its namesake in London, it houses the theatres, opera houses and general arts in Brisbane. However, it also has an artificial ‘beach’. Having seen these ‘beaches’ in other towns up the coast, I have to say that the one in Brisbane is pretty poor.
It was not the best weather for a walk through town, but we persevered anyway. One thing struck me was that in the centre of the shopping district, you’re not allowed to smoke anywhere. If I’m not being clear, let me add that the shopping district is an outdoor street, not a mall or anything of the like. After being stuck in Hervey Bay for a couple of days, it felt good to be back in a city – and not a ‘city’ like Townsville, a real city. As we crossed the river, there was traffic everywhere, a lot of hustle and bustle as the evening rush hour was starting – it was better than good it was great. Having said that there wasn’t a great deal to Brisbane, it reminded me of London, but a miniature version of it. We managed to walk across the CBD quite quickly and ended up in Fortitude Valley, where the night life happens.
Then, as I should have expected, it happened. At one of the bars, Diana went off to the toilet for a moment, only to come back to find me surrounded by people trying to get their photos taken with me. Once I managed to extricate myself from the ‘crowd’, I explained to her what had happened. Two very lovely ladies came up to me and asked me if (have you guessed yet?)... I was Carl Cox. Carl Cox had been in Brisbane just a couple of days before, hence they were convinced I was him. However, when I kindly told them that I was not, in fact, the dj, they said, "Oh well, do you mind taking a photo with us anyway and we’ll pretend that you were Carl Cox?" – “Go for it.” Next thing I knew a guy who hadn’t heard the conversation but had seen what was going on, had put 2 and 2 together and had come up with 5. He started telling me how he’d seen me in concert and how he thought I was fabulous and would I have my photo taken with him, then he pulled across two very nice young ladies and again we had our photo taken together. It was all getting a bit much, especially as the whole pub was starting to stir, so once Diane got back, I made a run for it! In my defence, not once did I say I was Carl Cox, though by the time the guy turned up, I didn’t deny it either, but then again, I wasn’t really given the chance to do so. I can see that this is a curse that will always follow me.
Although there wasn’t much going on in the CBD, particularly after dark, Fortitude Valley was clearly the place to hang out. With or without Carl Cox.