“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
– Ibn Battuta
The city of Brisbane was very different from Sydney. If I could describe Sydney in one word it would be “chaotic”. Brisbane, while still huge, felt quaint and welcoming. Sydney was business, tourism, backpacker central and expensive as hell. The city of Brisbane felt like “come on over and let’s have a chat.” My favorite place to go in Brisbane is South Bank. It sits along the southern bank of the river that winds it’s way through the city. This is where the “B-R-I-S-B-A-N-E” letters are. There’s a community pool on one side and a man-made beach complete with sand and Ibis on the other. The guys and I spent many hot afternoons relaxing in the pools and barbecuing in the park. That’s another thing I love about the cities- most places have free barbecue areas that you can use. People are pretty good at cleaning up after themselves and respectful if you are waiting to use the grills. It’s a very nice way to spend an afternoon. There are many bars and restaurants in South Bank that are relaxed and enjoyable.
When we arrived, I was relieved to hear that the campervan passed inspection (yippee!) thanks for my $1000 back! Pino spent several hours on Airbnb securing us a place to stay- what a deal! An entire house for the price of a room! Good job Pino!
Pino, Bas and I took an Uber to the house, which turns out was a 30 minute bus ride from the city…you’re welcome Uber for all the business! This was the time we all decided to get serious and look for work. We had been in country for over two weeks and hadn’t worked a single day! We were excited to have a place to stay for several days and we quickly turned this house into our home. Bas and I shared a room and bed (totally platonic!) and Pino got his own room. We made several trips to the shopping center with resumes on our brains- several obstacles got in our way…no wifi, no power sources, and as soon as we found wifi, the library closed! The main lesson I learned: get your ass up early, walk to the coffee shop, and wake up the boys so we can all head out because our plans will inevitably change.
Living with three men was interesting for sure. As the only older-ahem- more mature (I use those words loosely) woman of the house, I felt very matronly. My self-imposed role consisted of cooking, cleaning and making sure the boys were up on time. They started calling me “mama” and singing to me. We were all very affectionate towards one another, hugging and cuddling like a weird little close-knit family. Bernd moved in after several days. He took over the couch and living room. Slightly older than Bas and Pino, he brought another personality to the equation. After our week at the house ended, we moved into a hostel called Banana Backpackers. This cute little quaint hostel is out of the way of the city, but close enough that we didn’t feel isolated. We were a short walk to Coles, a shopping center and the main bus terminal.
My favorite part about this hostel is the covered patio. It was the place we all got together for meals, to play cards at night with a few drinks bought from the front desk. They had a strict no-alcohol-in-your-room policy. I found out after I moved out that the guys were caught sneaking alcohol into their room for a second time and were kicked out!
I talked with Lisa every day and missed her more and more. She was quickly convincing me that I needed to come to Melbourne because she and Kevin had an apartment and I could stay with them and we would both be happier together. I wanted to go to New Zealand while I was here and she was already planning to leave January 8th to go there for 3 and a half weeks. I bought my ticket late one night and in my excitement I sent her a screenshot…Melbourne here I come!! I spent a ton of time with my guys-Bernd, Pino and Bas and fell in love with all of them. Bas is very silly and sweet, his English was not so great, but he made up for it in facial expressions and hugs. Pino has the funny sweet creep vibe going on and he treats me like an older sister. Bernd and I spent the most time together in the last few days.
After an unfortunate scamming of over $3,000, Bas and Pino were forced to go to work immediately as fundraisers for children with cancer. They stood out on the streets all dressed up in silly outfits with reindeers antlers asking for donations. This left Bernd and I together for most of the day. We passed the time running errands, walking around the city and endless chats. I absolutely adored these chats. I felt a warm fuzzy feeling towards him as we became closer and closer. It’s amazing how vastly different each one of these guys are, yet we all got along and complimented one another. Bas is very resilient and once he got scammed and lost his money, he was working the next day. Pino was always our organizer. He made all the Airbnb arrangements, got us on the correct buses and helped navigate our way through the shopping centers. Bernd was the easy-going calm presence when we needed it. He reminded me to absorb the sights, appreciate the moments and provided me with a lot of laughs. He’s a man of few words, but when he did speak, it was either very profound or hilarious. Saying goodbye was difficult, but he assured me that we would see each other again soon. I’m not sure if that is true, but I hope so!
Bernd, Bob and I spent my last full day in Brisbane riding on the ferry. It’s such a great way to see the whole city. As it got dark, all the buildings and bridges lit up in various shades of red, white, blue and green lights. It was breathtaking! If you know me at all, cities are not my thing. Give me sand and sunshine or desert and sunshine or horses and sunshine anytime over the loud streets of a city. But the ferry ride was a great way to experience the city in a way walking around could never give us. I feel really blessed to have been able to stop over in Brisbane and find some great aspects to the city. Melbourne and Lisa, here I come!!