finally, i am home. i feel a bit like ive been in an alterna-universe. queensland can have that affect on you. its not normal to live somewhere so goddamn sunny and warm all the time. it never got below 22 degrees during the day, and it was humid on the gold coast. less so in brisbane, but still crazy beautiful sunny days, one after the other. its holiday weather, not working weather! thankfully i did a bit of a both. the work part first. yet another conference, meaning yet another hotel room:
i stayed at jupiters hotel and casino,
i am not a fan of casinos, and didnt go into the actual gambling venue at all. it made me a bit sad to see all the old people getting dropped off everyday and disappearing among the pokie machines.
so the first thing i did was head down to the beach. it was about a 10 minute walk along broadbeach mall past some very interesting sky scrapers,
down to broadbeach itself,
which was busy with bus loads of tourists. i just sat there for a while, then picked up some supplies and headed back to the hotel room where i admired the view as the sun set.
thats surfers paradise proper in the distance, and the building in the foreground is the convention centre where the conference was being held, complete with walkway connecting it to the hotel. the hotel had a lovely pool and outdoor area that i admired from the breakfast buffet room,
i didnt get to spend anytime down there though, the conference was three pretty packed days, and i headed over first thing monday morning.
this conference was a bit different, it was a university management one, not a research one, and i didnt realise there would be so much emphasis on infrastructure. i was in a policy stream, so i went to mostly other policy type papers, and there were some good ones about leadership and management styles and some about research strategies, but otherwise it was a bit too corporate for me. we even had a trade hall!
and lots of big name sponsors, and too many keynotes from people not even in the tertiary sector.
i fail to see what advertising executives and ex-olympic swimmers have to tell us about the future of higher education in australia. i took some time out to clear my head with a long walk up the beach to surfers paradise
it was hard to stay focused with all the gorgeous coastline beckoning! at least the conference catering was good, full hot and cold lunches, a proper cafe with free lattes etc, people handing out maggie beer icecream and haighs chocolate frogs, and a huge conference dinner, with a ‘night in paradise’ theme (groan).
the food was pretty good, and a great band kept people dancing all night, but if youre not a drinker, and you think youre starting to come down with a cold, the fun wears thin pretty quick. i crashed by 11 and was well ready for my sister to come get me out of there the next morning. she arrived in her little car about 10 and we had a coffee before powering up the gold coast highway towards brisbane,
and headed straight to her little flat in west end to drop off my stuff. this is how close her flat is to the brisbane river that flooded earlier this year:
there is a red tape mark on a light pole down here to show how high the water came. those cars would have been all under. very scary. it was interesting over the next couple of days to see all the remnants from the flood, to see the traces it had left, but also pretty miraculous to see how quickly everything had been repaired and was mostly back to normal.
our first stop thursday afternoon was tangled yarns over in newstead. to say i was underwhelmed is an understatement.
its a really nice space, well set out, lots of great magazines, nice lounge area, but the range of yarn was very disappointing. they really only had comprehensive stock in cascade (including the new sport, which was nice but a bit so what), and biggun designs. those are jumper weight yarns. there was no real sock yarn, a few random skeins of mad tosh in meh colours, and a few skeins of malabrigo lace, also in meh colours. there was some good berocco ultra alpaca, but a lot of it was worsted. really? in brisbane? i did manage to get some lovelycharcoal berocco ultra alpace in the fine, which will make a lovely shawl or scarf, but that was it. but you know what bothered me most? the staff. two young girls, who didnt even look up when i came in. they talked to themselves, one of them walked right in front of me and didnt even smile. whats with the attitude?! i dont expect a red carpet, but if you go to that store, its because you know about knitting. its not in an easily accessible place, you dont just find it by accident. i do expect good service, and there was none to be had there. disappointing.
lucky for me i had mentioned to my sister that i was also looking for some new shoes and she said ‘oh theres this cute place around the corner’, so around the corner we went and lo and behold, what should we see, but a Sole Devotion! i went into their melbourne store and drooled over everything but left empty handed. not so this time.
new camper sandals (on my feet). perfect. my lovely sister gave me little pedicure that night and i now have shiny red toenails to go with them. then we did a bit of grocery shopping, got fish and chips for dinner, and called it a night.
friday morning we set off early-ish to the newish Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) where there was surrealist exhibition on.
i knew i was going to like it here as soon as i saw the sculpture out the front.
it was a great exhibition, really mind blowing, so much stuff direct from the centre pompidou in paris. just awesome. i love surrealism. it hurt the head a little bit though, so they had thoughtfully constructed a wine/coffee bar halfway through the exhibition with a wonderful view of brisbane city
there was a great space for kids to do some actual art, plus a fantastic exhibition of contemporary torres strait islander art and some new pieces of western desert art. a really great space, i thought, although my sister, the designer, does not like the way they use the void. hmm yes.
we were clever and bought a picnic with us, and we sat for a while on the grass
and ate our bread and cheese and soaked up the sun, before wandering back along southbank to catch a river cat around to west end.
then we had a little nanna nap before heading off for dinner at a fantastic modern turkish place near my sisters flat. fantastic food, wonderful service.
saturday morning we went wandering again, this time down to west end markets. we meandered through the stalls and grazed on bagels, spring rolls, coffee and donuts,
before taking a little drive around town checking out the sights.
i know shes 40 years old but it was weird to see my sister driving. we managed to not kill ourselves or anyone else though, and that night we drove out to ipswich to see a roller derby game. my sister does derby. shes quite good at it apparently! it wasnt her team though, it was another league, and it was good to see so many people from all the other leagues around town who had come to support them. it was also really cool to see the merby – men’s derby. who knew! they were very fast and very rough.
the women were much more tactical, much more skillful, and a lot nicer to look at.
it was a great night, wrapping up a great few days. it was lovely to spend good quality time with my little sister, and see her be happy in her life in brisbane, but i do wish she lived closer. there is no way i can paint my own toenails like she did!
and finally, i did almost no knitting. just too busy, or tired. the most i did was in the airport and on the plane on the way home
where i was greeted with lots of sloppy kisses and cuddles
i am away again next week in perth, for the last of my conference/fact finding missions for the project im working on, so things should calm down a bit after that. (famous last words!)