Wonderful World (Chapter Eight: Maccas, Museums)
The next day I awoke at 3 a.m. AGAIN. This time I got out my book and tried to read in addition to flipping channels. When I finished my book, it was still hours until Adam would be there. We were going to museums in the City, so I decided to wear dress slacks and a nice top. After surviving the plane trip, my poor clothes needed to be ironed. As I pulled out the hotel ironing board and iron and got the little cup of water for steam, I was trying to remember the last time I ironed anything. I only buy clothes that are wrinkle free. I never iron anymore. But oh, in my youth. I used to iron a lot. It took up big chunks of time. I can't imagine having time to iron anymore. But on my vacation, I had plenty of time. I ironed to Murder She Wrote, took a long break and finished up during Hogan's Hero's. I contemplated ironing additional outfits, but I was over ironing. I was hopeful that my supply of jeans and tee shirts would hold out for the rest of the trip and for the most part, they did.
The big bag of ice that I bought the first day was now a solid block of ice, freezing the little refrigerator, (making the cans of diet coke that I had in the little fridge really, really cold). I used every utensil in the little kitchenette, but none worked as a very good ice pic. It was such a solid block of ice, I was afraid to drop it on the floor to break it up, because it might crack the tile. I tried running hot water over it, but that just made the edges of the block melt. So I made due with little chips of ice--not ideal.
Anyway, between no tennis, not much ice, my book was done and I didn't want to start a new one yet, I was very ready at 9:00 a.m. to get out and see the town. We planned to drive over to the Brisbane art museums and walk around the campus of the local university. But first, Adam said we could go to McDonalds to use the internet. [Apparently although I never heard it personally, Australian's call McDonalds, Maccas, hence the title of this chapter.] I hadn't checked my e-mail or facebook for days, so I was looking forward to it. I got downstairs early, but Adam was not parked in the loading zone in front. The hotel had little cafe tables outside, but it was pretty cold out. The seating inside the hotel lobby was sunken, down two rather large stairs. It hurt my knees to go up and down those stairs, and I knew Adam would be there any minute, so I bundled up tight in my jacket and sat outside.
9:00 a.m., no Adam. I figured that I would give him until 9:15 and then I would go in and try to figure out how to call him. I started to watch the people going by on the street. There were quite a few people, even though the hotel was on a street that wasn't that busy, next to a park and a hospital. And on a pretty steep hill. I watched so many people, different ages, some in business attire, some casual, some pushing baby carriges, some talking on their cell phones, but none of them were overweight. As I came to that realization, I started to really keep my eyes open for obesity, and saw only the lack thereof. But I digress.
At 9:15, I went inside and I was going to ask the desk how to make a local call. Mr. Meanie was at the desk and he had a line of people to help. That was going to take forever, so I thought, I don't care if I have to wait a bit longer, I'm sure Adam will be here any minute. So I burrowed myself deeper into my jacket and went back outside to wait. Some teenaged girls who were staying at my hotel were getting ready to go out sightseeing. They looked like they were on a soccer team or something--all tan and athletic. They were wearing shorts and flip flops. I was cold just looking at them. I think it was 65 degrees or something. Brrrrr.
At 9:30, I went back up to my room. I tried to dial on the hotel phone, but nothing happened (I was supposed to dial 9 first). I was going to just spend the money and send Adam a text, when I saw that I had a text from Adam telling me that he was going to be a little late. So I waited and waited. Should I go back outside or should I wait in my room. I just didn't know. When he finally got there, he said that he had driven by and seen me sitting at the cafe table. He thought that I saw him and would realize that he was going to find a parking place. He parked about a mile away. This all put neither of us in a very good mood.
The first order of business was the internet, so Adam drove us out of the City to another part of town to a McDonalds with a good parking lot. [Apparently the closest McDonald's is in the train station, but there's no easy parking.] It was a bit of a drive, but a very nice McDonalds. I think that I only screamed twice in fear when I thought he was going to crash, driving on the wrong side of the road. Fun times. [I am embarrassed to admit that I did actually scream in fear at one point--scared the shit out of Adam who braced for impact at my scream, only to realize that I was not reacting to another car was about to hit us, I was reacting to me thinking we were going to crash. It was already the third day and I was still not used to cars on the wrong side of the road. Poor Adam. Thank goodness I didn't have to drive, but I digress.]
The McDonalds was very nice and Adam thought we should have breakfast. I'm not much of a breakfast at McDonalds type of person, but they did have diet coke with ice--score! [It tasted funny though, oh well.] I logged in (after bugging Adam over and over to figure it out for me) and there were my 24 e-mails. It was so nice to have e-mail. Some were from work and I answered and read and answered and read. Before too long, I was all done. While I had been doing this, Adam had been on his iPhone. I think he was playing a game, because he was done as soon as I was (which means that he was really just waiting for me). Our plan for the day was to go to the museum and walk around the museum part of the City. It was called South Bend which I thought was funny, because that's where Erika lives.
I tried to be the navagator using my ipad map, but my sense of direction hadn't improved in the least, so we were both relieved to get there and park not a minute too soon, before our tempers burst. I know that I consciously tried to put past frustration out of my mind to approach the day fresh, ready to enjoy myself and I think that Adam did too, because when we got out of the elevator that opened right into the museum, we were both in a much better mood. We had entered at the Science Center--it was awfully cool. There was one room that had a very long--length of a very long room display of animals, from insects to reptiles, to birds, to small game, to large game animals--including sea life. It was really cool and we spent a long time looking at all parts of the display. There was another room that was all bugs--wall to wall displays of bugs, from very small to extremely large. Adam had a facination with spider webs--all through the trip he pointed out some very large, elabrate spider webs. Very unusual creatures in Australia.
In another building was an art museum. They had a Camille Pissaro painting (my all time favorite french impressionist painter--I love him like a brother of Monet's, but I digress)--apparently Pissaro's son lived in Australia and painted there. It was very interesting to see Australian french impressionism paintings. I really enjoyed it. They also had a lot of modern art, which was interesting. And they had a disappearing edge pool in the lobby. I've seen them before, but it was just so interesting to see the floor seem to meld to the water seamlessly. Adam showed me how it was done, but that didn't make it any less of an awesome sight.
After a while, we were museum'ed out so we went through a tunnel that led to the campus of a University on a park by the river and the surrounding "college" town. There were lots of shops and restaurants and a movie theater. As we wondered around the park, I noticed a lot of construction. Later Adam told me that they were repairing the flood damage. [Right before Adam moved there last January, Brisbane had suffered some severe flooding. The mayor had given a speech comparing the flood in Brisbane to 9/11 in New York, to which American Adam took offense. I tried to reason that maybe the mayor was referring to the effect of a disaster on tourism and not necessarily comparing their flood to the 9/11 terrorist act--but it still sat poorly with Adam.] One of the things that they were repairing was a man made sandy beach and they had already repaired the pool. It was not a large swimming pool right next to the river--you could swim in the pool and look out over the river, giving you the impression that you were swimming in a much larger body of water. It was kind of cool. But it was very cold and there was actually a life guard and a mother and small child swimming. That was not cool--I was freezing, looking at them.
Anyway, we were out of things to sight see, so we decided to take in a movie. The only movie playing that we both wanted to see was Pirates. We got there right at the right time, so we went in. We bought our tickets, got some popcorn and then I realized that there was only one way into the actual theatre--up a very long staircase. That was a very long walk. I so, do not do stairs. There was absolutely no elevator (or lift as I remembered the correct word to request.)
The movie was in three-D (I hate those glasses), but it was a very pleasant diversion to our day. When we got out of the movie, it was overcast and pretty chilly. I was ready to get something to eat (and have a diet coke). Now Caitlyn likes this cartoon called 64 Zoo Lane. It is set in Australia and my favorite song that they sing in this cartoon again and again is "Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza." So this song is running through my head almost the entire trip. I'm a looking for some tasty pizza. But the only pizza place looks just too upscale--I'm not looking for pizza that badly. Adam suggested a hamberger place, because I was so impressed with the Australian beef. How could we go wrong. As an aside, I know better. For many, many years, I have been supper careful not to order a hamberger in a new place. I am an extremely picky eater. I don't even really like hamberger, so I know I should have resisted. Except for two things. Cheesecake Factory and BJ's. These are two restaurants in the past couple of years where I have tried the hambergers and really, really loved them. They joined Islands, Red Robin and Ruby's as restaurants where I will eat the hamberger. I am well aware to avoid the hamberger at Denny's or its ilk, but I was (I'm sorry to say) lulled into a false sense of complacency regarding a new hamberger place.
First of all, I'm freezing, but all of the seating is outdoors. Second, the fries were soaked in some kind of marinade and garlic. No amount of ketchup (excuse me tomato sause) was going to fix that, but I was hungry so it took a few agonizing bites before I could convince my hand and mouth to obey my brain and stop eating them. Finally, the burger was so not what I was expecting. My expectation was Cheesecake angus beef hamberger and I got breaded and seasoned so much it tasted like meatloaf (which I can't stand). Adam liked his burger a lot and I tried to be positive, but I could only eat a few bites. I was going to dream about Little Ceasars Pizza.
It was just starting to get dark (it was too cloudy to see the sunset) and I wanted to ride the farris wheel at night so that I could see the Storybook Bridge lit up. Adam said it was really cool, but I'd only seen it during the day. It just looked like an ordinary bridge during the day (think eiffle tower--not much until it is lit up so gorgeous). [As an aside the first day Adam asked me if I wanted to walk across Storybook Bridge--he said it's a very touristy thing to do--lots of people do it. I was thinking about how Megan and I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge--sure it was slightly cool, until we realized we were going to have to walk back again to get back to the car--that was a looooong walk. So I was kind of not enthousiastic. Then he pointed to the bridge and pointed out how walking the bridge was actually walking up the cat walk to the top, then back down to the middle, then back up and then back down. All stairs. I don't think so batman.]
Anyway, we bought tickets for the ferris wheel (quite pricey, but I'm on vacation) but had to wait a long time to get on (--no one was in line, but apparently they can't stop it, even if it is empty to let someone on until the proper number of rotations because there is an accompanying tour guide sound track to tell you what you are seeing--ours didn't work). It was not quite dark enough for all the lights in the city to be on and we were at the wrong angle and too far away to see the Storybook Bridge. However, it was really cool even so. And very relaxing. I wanted it to go on longer, but all too soon it was done and I was getting pretty sleepy, so we called it a night.
As Adam dropped me off, I said, 9:00 right? No more mixed signals. 9:00 o'clock, he said and we both believed him. I remembered to take the baggies this time, but I couldn't break up the block of ice. I did get one big chunk and I melted it until it fit in my cup and turned on the tv. I was determined to stay up late, so that I would adjust to the time change and stop waking up at 3 a.m.. Silly me.
Stay tuned--Day four is the Gold Coast--more driving. Sea lions and white tigers and polar bears, oh my.