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10 Illegitimate Thoughts in Brisbane

April 26, 2011

I was in Brisbane for a couple of days, exploring yet another major city in Australia. On my last day, I walked around its Central Business District alone. The city looked fine and great, but my little brain showed some unusual activities. These are what happened, quite illegitimately.

1. I started my little solitary walk from South Bank, the city’s most idyllic spot. From afar, I could view the grand city skyline. Yes, Brisbane is a big city, the darling baby of Queensland. It is in fact the third most populous city in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne. Wait, what’s in that name? Phonetically and locally, Brisbane is rhythmic with Melbourne (unless you want to sound like an American and show off your “r” colouring). Be it Brisbourne or Melbane, they both sound legitimately the same to me. I like them both.

2. But it was raining so heavily in Brisbane. The city was wet. While I enjoyed the romantic feelings through the dreamy sprinkles of rain, I certainly did not enjoy getting physically wet (not to mention the mental wetness, too). Right now, the city looked so doomed under the shadowy curse of gloominess and wetness. I wanted to believe what the advertisement had positively said about Queensland after the raging floods early this year, but why is it raining today? The image of the floods kept flooding into my fragile mind. Could this be… ? Maybe not.

3. And the strong wind almost threw me and my little umbrella into the Brisbane River. Ah, that famous river. The first time I watched it on a telly during the floods, it looked so wild and threatening, taking with it the mortals and slamming them into the river banks. That river had caused so much grief and damage to the city. Is this the same river? I couldn’t trace any destructive sign of the recent tragedy. What a marvelous recovery! The local government is serious when it comes to evidence management. The most serious natural crime and all its evidence had been well destroyed (or hidden!). Perfect crime.

4. I walked through the Victoria Bridge and admired the city skyline again. But wait a minute, I began to realize that there were a lot more bridges around here. They stand for many reasons – Merivale Bridge (for trains), William Jolly Bridge (for jolly reasons, I suppose), Goodwill Bridge (for good-willed citizens), Captain Cook Bridge (for the most famous captain in the Australian history, besides Captain Jack Sparrow) and Story Bridge (I wonder what the story is all about). Now, if there were an alternative name for Brisbane hidden somewhere in the history book, it must be Bridgebane.

5. I entered the City Botanic Gardens with a sense of conflicting admiration. A close inspection to its history revealed some disturbing fact. So close to the Brisbane River, this garden is notorious for its flood-prone character, being flooded for nine times since 1870! But if there was something that I could find that marked this garden special compared to others, it could be the wild species scattered so freely in the garden. Be prepared to be greeted by some curious lizards and other jurassic-like creatures. I hoped no one was around when I screamed in excitement.

6. Just when I thought I had seen enough in the garden, I discovered a mangrove boardwalk at the end of the Gardens Point. The Brisbane River was just under my feet and I noticed that it was so dirty and brownish (yeah, I spotted the evidence!) But, it’s still a lovely sight. Dirty and pretty. The trees swayed so gracefully on the surface of the swamp. There was not a single soul around here. Just the pretty trees and me. The Brisbanites must be still terrified by the recent tragedy. If only they saw me walking here alone, they might think that I was a pathetic idiot who was about to commit suicide.

7. And what about those people on the street? As I walked around in the middle of the busy Queen Street Mall, I started to wonder why most of the city goers put on some winter-like attire – a long, black, stylish winter jacket and a fancy scarf, like a hot spy in an over-rated action movie. I looked at what I was wearing – a plain round neck t-shirt! What’s going on? I mean, come on, mate. It’s hardly cold in Brisbane. This is a warm city with a humid sub-tropical climate. I could handle that very well. Maybe I had become more Aussie than these shivering Aussies.

8. I passed another great Shrine of Remembrance located in Anzac Square right in the middle of the city’s hectic life. I looked at the Eternal Flame with more fascination for the grand and organized efforts of the locals to make a war memorial part of their everyday activity. Well, I think I now understood the secret formula. There’s a city template everywhere for major cities in Australia. Put together, for example, a war memorial and a botanic garden and, lo and behold, you’ll get an excellent masterpiece of a great Aussie city!

9. Aha, there’s something to say about the streets in Brisbane. Male and female names are arranged so orderly in a perfect parallelism – on one side, there is male power: George Street, Albert Street and Edward Street. On the other side, the sovereignty of the female reigns: Margaret Street, Mary Street, Charlotte Street, Elizabeth Street, Queen Street, Adelaide Street and Ann Street. Apparently, the females are more superior, streetly speaking. Gender is so well distinguished, almost literally in the gridded streets of Brisbane’s CBD.

10. I finally hopped on a bus to West End, back to the place where I stayed. When I gave the money to the driver for a bus fare, everyone looked at me like I had just committed the biggest crime in Australia. It turned out that I had violated the common “cashless” system. A smart card is the way to go around here. I was the green alien who needed to be educated. When I got off the bus, I was still the centre of everyone’s attention. Maybe they all had a sixth sense and been reading all my illegitimate thoughts. I seriously need a life.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 4:09 am

    I’m surprised you didn’t go visit Mt Cootha and the “spooky” cemetery at its foot. Should visit again in October/November when the jacarandahs are flowering and some parts of the CBD will be in its purple splendour. I love your description of the journey. Bridgebane indeed! purrr….meow!


    • April 26, 2011 11:04 am

      Dear Angie, why did you always remind me about the things that I wanted to do but I didn’t? haha.. yes yes.. Mount Coot-tha was part of the plan but, due to time constraints (and not to forget the rain!), I postponed it till later. Yes, probably till November during the purplish season!


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