It has been raining almost non-stop since arriving in Brisbane, and my friend Nick has been sick and so understandably not much up for anything except lying around. Fortunately Nick’s sister Kerry and her husband Peter (who we are staying with) took me on a little walking tour of Brisbane yesterday, and despite the rain I found it all very charming. In particular, we saw a pedestrian core of streets and shops in the cbd not unlike other such projects around the world, but quite nicely done, and then meandered across the bridge, down through an area called South Bank, across a pedestrian/bike bridge and over to the City Botanic Gardens. It was raining the whole time, but it was still quite nice and we had much of it to ourselves for that reason, and we stopped in a couple of places for coffee and food along the way. Overall it gave me a very nice impression of Brisbane, and of Kerry and Peter our hosts, who are really lovely people. The rain, alas, continues its relentless drive this morning, I am not sure what we (or I, if Nick continues to feel sick) will be doing today, perhaps the museum. We had been planning on exploring some national parks and other sites in the region, but I may have to leave those adventures for another visit.
Yesterday Nick and I said goodbye to most of his family and got in the car to head to Brisbane to see another sister of Nick’s and her family who were not able to be with us in Kingsthorpe. Since Nick does not have a license, I agreed to drive us around while up here, in a car we are borrowing from his brother. I was a little worried since the last time I drove on this side of the road (in the UK in 2004) I pretty much destroyed the left side of the vehicle. But it is actually a lot easier to drive in Australia. Despite it being on the left, the roads are very much like the US, wide and new. We made it to Brisbane with very little trouble and had a really lovely afternoon of drinks and snacks with the family here. I will say one thing for this part of Australia, it is much hotter and higher humidity than the south. I am sweating like a pig.