Monday, August 29, 2011

Twenty Eight - Under the Weather

Soggy morning on the Gold Coast, but I enjoy jogging along the sea-front in the rain and it gives me the appetite for a thirty dollar buffet breakfast. The usual target is five courses: Cereal, fruit, full English, toast, yoghurt, then enough coffee to get the energy to leave the table! Awaiting the caffeine buzz I make a plan. I’ve four days left in Australia, but Brisbane airport is only a hundred miles away. I’ll stay just another day in Paradise, then three in Brisbane.
My current room has been booked and I can’t take my paid-for internet with me, so I’ve half an hour to find a place in Brisbane, book it, and move room. There’s an apartment in Brisbane getting rave reviews, and it has a washing machine, so I don’t hang about! Booked it, Packed it, …ed off!
Being a soggy day at the seaside there’s not much to do, so I potter round the shops and find a massage place offering an Opening Week special. I head for the Hard Rock again, and enjoy the banter with the staff. I try to leave early, but it’s raining so heavily I’m forced to return to the bar.
Monday, a dull drive into Brisbane, notable only for the lack of traffic. I’m staying on Kangaroo Point, overlooking the Brisbane river. It’s a great spot, quiet and secluded, whilst straight across the river from the CBD served by lots of ferries, and a bridge. The apartment is like something from a catalogue. All clean lines, pretty furniture and stylish surfaces. With underground parking, a balcony view of the river, shared use of a swimming pool and even a cinema room I feel like this could be my home and open the fridge to discover a carton of “Paul’s Milk”!
With my own kitchen I can eat-in for the first night since, er, May? I nip to the shop for practically the last trip in the car. Leaving the shop I jump in, look around, whack it in reverse and whip it across the car park. The reversing sensor always starts with a long beep to show its working, by which time I’ve backed out of my spot, swung out and stopped. But the long beep immediately becomes a shrill tone. By more luck than judgement I’ve come to rest inches from a ridiculously placed, badly lit, steel bollard. (By the looks of it, many people haven’t avoided the bollard, it’s probably sponsored by the local garage) After ten rental cars, more than ten thousand miles in cities, forests, deserts and beaches, I almost come a cropper in the supermarket car park!
I’m up early and ready to explore Brisbane. I walk over Story Bridge into the city, shunning the Story “Bridge Climb”.  It’s a tiny bridge compared to Sydney, and the view of the river is hardly a match for Sydney Harbour. I’m soon amongst the bustle of city folk. I spot an approaching charity worker, they can’t sign foreigners up so I’m happy to talk, making her robot dance to get my attention even more amusing.
Kaycee is about to go on a world tour, so I’m able to offer my considerable experience in these matters. She explains that she’s heading to Thailand, England, then Peru, and has:
“…about twenty bucks a day”
“er… yeah, you’ll have great fun” I assure her, even though I spend more than that on breakfast!
Kaycee suggests I check out the South Bank, but it’s another soggy, grey day and the pleasure of ambling through the arboreta and botanic gardens is ruined by the frequent downpours. I hear a lot of excited yelling and round a building to find a large group of half-naked men in what could be a swimming pool or a large pond, playing some kind of impromptu water polo. It might give you some impression of how miserable the weather was, that the next shower caused this group of nutters to abandon the game because it was too wet!
Eventually, the showers subsided and I was able to continue along the river, looping back round to my apartment. It was a fair few miles, and my legs have become used to sitting in a car all day, so I was struggling and my legs were quite sore, so I went for a run.
In the evening the local bar was pleasant enough, and I got a decent pie, but no good opportunities to talk to strangers.
Wednesday was not so good. I felt absolutely knackered. Sure, my legs were sore but I was completely drained. Just sitting up made me feel ill, so I watched TV for a while. The trouble with pretty furniture is that it’s bloody uncomfortable in reality, so I went back to bed and read, and slept, and read, and slept..
I felt better the next morning, buoyed by the adrenalin of being on the move again. Off to the airport, and goodbye to another car. I’d managed to book an exit row seat, and was pleased to find that all five seats around me were empty. Mid-flight, I got away with cheekily placing my bag before me so I could use it as a footrest, and we were in Singapore in no time.
I arrived at the Grand Copthorne feeling tired, but happy to have made it without a hitch. I called it an early night, having eaten in the morning, at the airport, and on the plane.
But I still woke up with a grumbling stomach. It felt like I was really hungry, but at the same time full and bloaty. I could use a snack, but there was no sign of a room service menu and I was unable to think what I’d ask for. Besides, “all you can eat buffet” was only a couple of hours away.
At 6.30 on the dot I was ready for another five course meal. Only to be reminded that Singapore don’t do cereal. Well, they do, but it sucks. The cereals taste different, and the milk comes from a bean instead of a cow. There was plenty of other food so I made do with four courses and, went back to bed and waited for my strength to return.
By mid afternoon I figured I’d try a short walk, and get some much needed drinks and snacks. I found a 7 eleven and staggered back to my room with my haul. I remembered I had a fridge in my room, but I couldn’t fit the stuff in because it was full of drinks and snacks provided by the hotel.
In the evening I ventured out again, still feeling woozy. The hotel is on the river, and it’s a pleasant, though humid, walk along the bank. I found a pub and had a good juicy burger while watching Aussies beat each other up on the TV. I’m not too glum, I’ve seen Singapore before, and wasn’t expecting to do much during the days, but was hoping for a couple of fun nights out.
After the feed I felt better, but didn’t know how long it would last, so returned to bed. TV was showing Wipeout USA, which is far better than the UK version, and had me in tears of laughter. I hope it is the best medicine.

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