Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Family Day

I am now up to February 2nd; it was appropriately our second day in Brisbane. I like that it is easy for me to know how long I have been here just by checking the day. I have taken a little longer to get this far in my trip because even though I have typed out my experience, the wifi service stopped working for me in Brisbane, and the first night in Adelaide, I never got the opportunity to take a hour to get things posted.

I am going to try and catch up to at least the other two days I spent in Brisbane, but it may be another day or two before that happens.

Here we go!

On this particular day my Dad and I were planning on having a family day. Yes, I have a distant relation in Australia!

On our walk to the train station. There were signs and security setting up for filming! On the very street we were living on, it looked like there was going to be a chase scene filiming! We are lucky we left when we did because they looked like a few minutes later they were going to close off the streets.

The train ride was pleasantly quiet. It was during the ride that we realized that Brisbane liked to decorate its city with wall art. It was a beautiful way for the citizens to express themselves in a subtle simple way. It was such a quiet train that they actually had  labeled some of the cars quite carriages for those tired travelers who wanted some shut eye. The cars also said they had wifi available, but my dad soon discovered this was very limited. I enjoyed this time to compare the structure of homes which had mostly tin roofs. I later found out that this used to be a sign of wealth because mining stones and metals like tin is so prominent in Australia. I was happy to observe that were quite a few with solar panels on the roof, too.

When we arrived in Loganlea to meet our relatives, we got so caught up in trying to locate where they wanted to meet us, that we forgot that the temporary go passes we had used not only have to be tapped on when you get on any form of public transportation, but you also need to tap off so that they know the distance you have traveled and charge you based on that. Luckily it only cost us four extra dollars, but I will never make that mistake again because money adds up here.

We had a pleasantly laid back brunch with Inge and her husband Ken and later their son and his wife came by for lunch and to meet us Americans. Everyone was very polite, and the conversations varied from sports, language, politics, road systems, religion and everything in between. It was my first frank cultural look into the lifestyle of Australian citizens. Most of their views and perspectives are quite similar to America. And in some ways Australia is still in its training wheels because they are still in the developing stages of acceptance of immigrants from certain countries (tolerance takes time and certain races have not been in the country as long as they have in America), while in other ways such as their respect for the disabled (they have so many public ways that they make it easier for the blind to walk like any other citizen) and energy usage that they far advance us.

Come late afternoon, we took a short trip to Inges' daughter’s house. Which I learned used to be a truck stop, and sits right next to the train tracks. It was a bit in the bush, much like my uncle’s house. I didn't get to talk to Inge’s daughter, Nicole, and her husband Steve very much, because their children took up all of my attention. All three of them were such sweet kids. They took some time to warm up to me (I didn't expect anything less), but once they opened up the flood gates flowed it was hard to keep track of who wanted what from me. Gabriela, their littlest, was a sweetheart, and she really wanted to share every single toy she owned. She is especially fond of dogs. And when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up she said she wanted to spend her mornings as a teacher (she had her first day of school recently), and her nights as vet. When we gave the chocolate American money to her she cutely made a mess of her face and hands as it melted all over her. The second youngest, Harry, is the active one. He wanted to know about what kind of car I drove and how much it costs. He also is very confident that when he gets older he will play for the Australian cricket team. He asked me if I wanted to play Uno; we ran out of time before I we could play. Finally, the man of few words, Jayden, took the longest to open up, but I feel that I had the most in common with him when he finally started talking. He reminded me of my sister's boyfriend. He knew a lot about computers for his age. He had taken an old laptop apart, and another one was only the keyboard, yet it could be hooked up to the main computer. He had also set it up so that the mouse could pass from the main computer screen to his tablet computer (windows 8) screen. I had seen this capability before, but I would never know how to set it up myself. I had heaps of fun playing push-me-pull-you as they each asked questions about differences in America to here or they just wanted my attention to play with their toys with them.

(They have chickens. I got to pet one named Penny.)

I later discovered from my Dad's separate conversations that my Dad and I were the first Americans that Nicole's husband, Steve had ever met, and he is as old as my Dad. Also, Inge and Ken hadn't visited the CBD in 10 years, though it was maybe a 20 minute drive away. I do like that they have a sedentary lifestyle, but that still surprised me. 

On the train ride back, I felt I went from a rated G movie scene to a PG-13 movie scene. It was something new for the books, yet I could have lived without seeing this. On one of the stops, two girls who came with some boys were asking where the train traveled. They stepped on, and right away my dad pointed out their apparel was inappropriate. It wasn't extreme, but it looked like one of them was wearing almost a bra top. As the train began to move again, they started to head our direction, asking the passengers they passed for money in exchange for twerking in front of them. I made a quick decision to pretend to be asleep. Since most of the passengers around me were already dozing, I didn't look out of place. To my dismay, they started to twerk their way back to their seats ahead of us. (I will make a quick note that this was also the designated quiet carriages I raved about earlier) As if it couldn't get any worse, they added a tune to their twerking that I cannot forget even if I tried. There were two consecutive rhythms between the words they repeated over and over again, but the sentence was the same every time: "Shake that a** for me. Shake that a** for me." I think I am not wrong in thinking that more people would pay NOT to see that than to see it. I did like that one guy shook his head disapprovingly in response. I felt embarrassed for them.

The rest of the night went along fine. We ended up eating dinner at the restaurant attached to our restaurant called "Jack + Hill." The name is cute, and the fish and chips I had were excellent tasting at an excellent price in comparison to how much they were on some of the bars on Queens Street.

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