Christmas

Just a quick little blurb to show off my Christmas loot for this year.  Nothing much, some interesting things, clothes and toys.  A book I’m sure will come in useful as I practice my photography and a new case for my iPhone.

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Also some photos of others’ loot.

Mum should visit Thursday Island...
Mum should visit Thursday Island…
Penny, Sze Sze and a wonderful present from Tae
Penny, Sze Sze and a wonderful present from Tae
Sze Sze's new shirt
Sze Sze’s new shirt

Boxing Day

It’s Boxing Day and what an early start we had. Also, no boxing here.

My alarm went off at 4:30 and we left the hotel at just 5:00. A nice early start to get us to the airport in time, although as it happens, a little too early. There was no traffic.

I quickly got my bag checked-in at the Qantas bag-injectors, before we all made our way to the Qantas Club for breakfast and to wait for our flight, much earlier than planned.

The flight up to Blackall was just like any other, with the turbulence occurring on the Blackall to Longreach sector. I wasn’t too happy to find I had no signal at Blackall, and later annoyed to hear I wouldn’t get any at Winton either. And neither did I in Barcaldine (though I did find an open wifi network). Thankfully I did at Longreach and Ilfracombe.

So anyway, we arrived on time at Longreach and after collecting our luggage were in our rental car in no time at all, driving down the highway to Barcaldine. Just 105KM / 1 hour later we found ourselves in a quiet town, and soon, checking into our room.

The temperature since we arrived didn’t get past 40°C, despite a forecast high of 42°C, that said though, we were later told in the Union Hotel Motel that Winton would be hotter. However, a lack of humidity does make all the difference.

We watched and listened to the cricket, and I took an afternoon dip in the motel pool… which was very refreshing. And then we all had a siesta. Waking from the siesta we all bar mum completed the pub crawl of the open pubs in town, managing to play some darts too.

The Tree of Knowledge, Barcaldine 360° Tree of Knowledge The Tree of Knowledge at night, Barcaldine

Dinner was big and filling, even though there were only 6 items on the menu, with 5 being meat and 1 fish. The sides made all the difference though. Following dinner we took in the Tree of Knowledge (panorama) at night, with white and green lights illuminating the structure and providing for some good photo opportunities.

Christmas Day

It wasn’t an early start in this household this morning, well except for dad who actually arrived back from 18-holes of golf at 8:30… he must’ve started early and played one of the quickest games of his life.

As he was up, and then Sze Sze, and me, breakfast was started… bubble & squeak, bacon, eggs and black pudding, delicious!

Eventually mum arose and we gathered around the fireplace, where all our presents have appeared over the past several days and started opening cards and presents.

This year, as with most years here I suppose, was full of little presents and clothes. No wrapping paper, or very little this year as the need to have that look and feel subsides, plus we’re all lazy.

So, I ended up with some tech, in the form of keyring bottle-openers, Bang & Olufsen headphones, an iPhone hoodie case and a headphone cord case. Clothes such as shirts (both long and short sleeved), a blue belt, skiing bandana, psychedelic FCUK shorts, boxers and socks. And I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Quickly packing food and clothes into suitcases and bags, we headed up to Brisbane shortly after midday to check into Quay West Suites, on the river. I took a wonderful panorama of the view from the apartment, though it was very windy on the balcony.

The view from Quay West Suites Brisbane on Christmas Day.

We had lunch and champagne after we arrived, before taking a long walk in the late afternoon. Starting in the Botanical Gardens we headed up the river, across the Goodwill Bridge, back down the river and across the Storey Bridge, before walking back up to the hotel. It was a very long walk.

Dinner was also in the unit, as everything was closed. Though we did bring food with us knowing that everything would be closed. Great views at night too.

The view from Quay West Suites Brisbane on Christmas Day… at night.

Christmas Eve

My Christmas eve began with me being woken multiple times, by my alarm and by dad, as my job for the morning was to drive up to Brisbane to pick up mum. Luckily I suppose, her flight was later arriving than scheduled, and this was known while I was still in bed, so I had an extra 20 minutes of sleep.

The drive up to Brisbane, and the drive back down from Brisbane both had little traffic issues, so that part of the journey was actually quite speedy. However after her flight landed it took nearly an hour for her to clear customs, so I had a lot of waiting around.

The day was average, sort of boring I suppose, but the real fun came tonight when we went out for dinner. Colin and Peggy joined us for dinner at Arakawa, where we ate at a private tatami table.

The food was, as usual, amazing, while the company actually proved to be very entertaining tonight, with Peggy on fine form with jokes and all sorts. By the end of the night I almost thought we were laughed out.

On our return home I suggested mum open one of her presents early, due to it being a night time thing, and I think she was very happy with her fountain for the pool, as she got in, followed by dad, and eventually me. Luckily Sze Sze stayed out to take photos. Unfortunately I don’t think mum would be happy with any of the photos being online.

AFF Christmas Party

Tonight was the AFF Christmas Party at Brett’s Wharf in Brisbane. It had been organised months ago when the restaurant was to be closed due to road works along the Brisbane river, but only recently it has been revealed it will continue operating till 2015.

I wasn’t able to confirm my attendance until just recently, so I was almost a surprise guest this evening. It was good to see a few old faces at the event and even some new ones, who came from far and wide, though I think only within Australia.

Andrew and Tahia very kindly picked me up from the Gold Coast, as they had dropped their kids off at a friends place in Oxenford to be looked after.

Dinner ended up being pretty good, and the company was great, but I’m not entirely sure the food was worth the $85 that was paid. I guess it was a private dining room, with a nice view, but only 3 courses and no drinks included. Luckily they allowed BYO, so I went across the road to Dan Murphy’s and paid the $6 corkage on a bottle that was far cheaper than what was offered on their menu.

Towards the end of the evening there was even a bit of excitement in the air as the Queensland Parliament voted on a civil unions bill, which eventually got passed, and now Queensland, the most backwards state for gay rights in the country, joins NSW, ACT, VIC and TAS in recognising and granting same-sex civil unions.