Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogcard from Brisbane, Australia (part one)

We have just arrived in Brisbane after a 10 hour drive from a remote place north of Maitland. The day was beautiful but as we arrived in Brisbane we were greeted with torrential rain and rampant thunder and lightning. We are in the Kookaburra folk club and the power has just gone out, but still some battery in the laptop here. A lot of people here. though, so the Blogcard after this should be very interesting.


Back to where I was writing before, at Maitland Gaol, that turned out to be a stunning concert.


Claire was joined by vocalist Bernadette Lannan and traditional Australian bush poet, Ron Brown.


Bernadette is a stunning soprano vocalist, local to Newcastle, NSW, and in a band called Erin that regularly tours Australia and Europe. Ron is a very entertaining poet and very passionate in keeping the dying bush poet tradition alive.


Claire’s contribution was more of her own original songs, including a couple on piano, because Bernadette provided a wonderful interpretation of Ireland favourites. Among all of this was wonderful duets between the girls on Salley Gardens, She Moves Through The Fair and the closing Parting Glass.


After the concert we travelled about 40 miles to Ron Brown’s remote house in the hills in the country. This was a wonderful, but again all too short, experience as we stayed the night and had to be away the following morning, early. There was a little time to be amazed by the range of local bird life and their varied calls.


I have not really shared some words about the food of Australia. The first thing we noticed was there was really nothing unusual or unique to Australia, but maybe that’s because we have not found it yet. I’m thinking of something like the TexMex food which is quite USA.


Perhaps the most unique thing about Aussie food is that a lot of it seems to be UK 1960s as pies and pasties are still more popular than burgers and omlettes are extremely popular too. Breakfast still includes fried bread and loose tea served in a teapot with a strainer. All is served fresh to order and not pre-cooked and placed in warmers. However, there is a lot of healthy food too with wonderful local fruits, nuts and produce. Fruit and nut bars made with local honey are also popular and very tasty. Its certainly a double thumbs up for food here, and perhaps triple thumbs up to those who serve it. We love the kind service here.


It was a long journey from near Springville, north of Mailtand, to Brisbane, but very enjoyable. Australia has many more changes of scenes and vistas than I imagined. One moment we are winding around beautiful mountain roads, next trucking along prairie like plains, then among green rolling hills, and then through the beautiful country towns.


I have mentioned Australian pride in their towns before but the sensitivity in architecture is also wonderful. Many new buildings are built in similar styles to the old so they blend so well. I am also amazed by the very wide streets. Even more surprising was how there were very few vacant stores as their businesses are not pushed out by retail parks.


Well, back to Brisbane.


I must admit, I found it daunting entering into a modern multi motorway, hi-rise building city after the wonderful experiences of Australia so far. There are times I do get awful anxiety in cities, and this was one of these times. Thanks to the Garman sat-nav, locating the Kookaburra folk club was quite easy but the car parking was a little challenged though quickly sorted out by a helpful local.


The folk club was unusual but delightful. It is above a very busy and olde worlde pizza cafe. Attendance was wonderful as well as being wonderful hosts to us and having an infectious passion for all kinds of what we call folk music. Along with Claire it was uplifting to hear local Australian folk music and songs. They do have their own folk expression and its fun.


From the folk club to the hotel through busy nighlife traffic I must admit I flopped to sleep and am not really sure what this hotel is like, though I can start by saying its spacious and beds are very, very comfortable. I did wake up again at just before 3:00 am and aimed to finish this before finishing my sleep.


I believe Claire will go to her morning radio performance on ABC here in Brisbane but I look forward to her show with a choir and trio of musicians later tonight at 4MBS Classical FM Radio Studio, Brisbane which is also a theatre open to the public.


No bookings over Friday and Saturday so I personally hope to get into “the bush” to see some wildlife. Claire is not sure if she will join me yet but I look forward to reporting this along with Thursday’s concert.


1 comment:

  1. Hi John,
    Glad you are enjoying Brisbane. A couple of recommendations for you. Local animals at Lone Koala Sanctuary. Plants at Mt Cootha Gardens in Toowong. Also an exceptional view of Brisbane and surroundings from the top. CityCats to travel up and down the river (very affordable since they are not a tourist attraction, they are part of the transportation system). If you have any questions just ask or visit my blog.
    Cheers.

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