Posts Tagged ‘Brisbane’
It’s Thursday evening and I’ve made plans with Jo Anna to have a girls weekend and come and visit her up in Brisbane. The drive to Brisbane is fairly straightforward, about an hour and 15 minutes up the highway and you’re there. I’m a little anxious heading out as I’ve hardly driven at all at night here in Australia, not to mention on the other side of the road. I give my head a shake and remind myself that I drove everyday back in Canada and that I have nothing to worry about.
After 15 minutes I’m out of the city and onto the highway, it should be smooth sailing from here, so I thought. Another 25 minutes or so pass, when I look down and see the heating gauge creeping up dangerously high. I tell myself not to panic, the car does have a tendency to get quite hot, but usually it’s only when we’re driving in the city, not on the highway. Another few minutes pass and the needle is almost at the max. I immediately pull over and turn the car off, hoping this will help to cool it down. I let 10 minutes pass and then turn the car on again, I pull back onto the highway and within minutes the gauge is back in the danger zone. At this point I know I have to get to a gas station as quickly as possible to see what the problem is. I slow down to about 80km/hr on the freeway and put my hazards on praying the next exit will have a gas station.
After what seems like ages, I pull off at the exit and into the first gas station I can find. I turn off the car and think, “Now what?” A husky guy is filling up his truck next to me, and I ask him if he wouldn’t mind looking in the hood of the car as it has been overheating. He walks over, pops the hood, and spots the damage immediately. The radiator hose has a giant rip in it and the radiator fluid has leaked everywhere, hence the overheating. “You won’t be driving anywhere tonight with that” he tells me. Great, my first time driving at night without Andrew, and I am stuck here at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Surfers Paradise and Brisbane.
Luckily, I have Andrew’s iPhone, so I look up some numbers for onside repairs and tow trucks. A small crowd of guys have started to gather around my car, each offering their solution on how to fix it. One guy in a pick-up truck is leaving the station, and calls out to one of the others about the problem with my car. He walks over to my car, takes one look, and says it can be fixed no problem, I just need to get a new radiator hose and install it. Of course, this sounded as simple to me as if he had asked me to recite the German national anthem.
“I think there’s an auto shop down the street that’s still open, if they have the part, I can repair it no problem”. And just like that I hopping into his pickup truck as we to the auto shop. As luck would have it, the store is open late on Thursdays, and they have the part in stock. Back to the gas station we go, and within 15 minutes, the hose is changed, the radiator is filled with fluid and my oil is topped up. I offer him a bottle of wine for his help, as it’s all I have on me to offer. He says it was no trouble at all, and heads back on his way.
What looked like it might cost be $200 to get it towed, and then likely $100 bucks to repair in the shop, ended up costing me $24.99 and a bottle of wine. Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways, putting me at the right gas station at the right time to meet the right person. Thank you to everyone who helped out, I will be paying this one forward for quite some time.
Now that we have experienced Brisbane by night, we our out to explore the city in the day light. First stop on the list, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Located next to the University of Brisbane, the gardens provide a break from the concrete jungle of downtown. With heaps of wildlife and a diverse range of flora, you could easily spend an afternoon here. I even managed to get up close with a large iguana before he hopped back into the pond. Next we walked around the downtown core and checked out the Eagle St. Markets which has your usual assortment of clothing, artwork and food.
Since Brisbane doesn’t have any natural beach front area they decided to create their own little oasis down at the South Bank Parklands. A beautiful lagoon has been created with a number of swimming areas and a water play area for kids. It feels like a tropical paradise just outside the downtown core. For the adults there are a number of high-end restaurants and a large beer garden area.
As the sun begins to set we head out on an evening stroll along the waterfront path starting at New Farm. From here you can walk along the riverbanks under Story Bridge and watch the lights of the city begin to turn on as the sun continues to set in the night sky. We (and by we I mean Andrew) snapped some amazing photos of the sun setting over the bridge for a great view of Brisbane at night. Our last night in the big city for a while as we head back up the coast tomorrow.
After 8 days in Surfers Paradise, we decide it’s time to give Ash back his apartment and head to Brisbane. With one person coming down to visit after another it felt like we might never leave! Not that that would have been a bad thing, since we do plan on returning to work for a few months. The next stop on our list is visiting another one of Andrew’s university friends, Jo Anna, at her place in Brisbane. Although Brisbane does not have the beauty of the coastline, the city is surrounded by the Brisbane river, that gives you stunning waterfront spaces even without the beach. We arrive there on Saturday night, and even though we are exhausted from the night before, we decide to go out since it’s our only weekend night here.
The place to head out for a night on the town in Brisbane is the Foritude Valley, otherwise known as just the Valley. For those of you from Hamilton, picture Hess Village on steroids. The street is crammed with people floating from one bar to another, with loud music filling the street and competing with each of the neighbouring establishments. Most places don’t have a cover charge which makes it inexpensive to club hop from one place to the next. I think by the end of the night we have been to about 5 different bars, and that is only a small fraction of all the places you could go out. Brisbane may not have the beaches, but they sure know how to party!