Cigars and Stories

Where have I been?

Well its been busy and I have been a poor correspondent.

So this post is a catch up on stuff… and I won’t get caught up in trying to put things in order… you’ll just have to roll with me here.

OMG so good

It’s been a week since I caught up with my Brisbane colleagues and went out for an amazing meal at Cutler and Co in Melbourne.

The food was amazing… those little ‘cigars’ were filled with foie gras, which I know is not particularly good for the goose, but tastes amazing.

The cigars were one of the ‘surprise’ courses.

The wine was even better thanks to the superior judgement of the two in charge of the wine menu and I was quite glad that I didn’t see the prices so that I could enjoy the wine without the taint of “OMFG How much???!!”  You know how it is.

It felt good to be in the Queensland gang and I am still chuffed I was included.

What a sexy cycling get up

Okay this was a couple of weeks ago when Groover joined me in Melbs for a dirty weekend.

We went to Lygon St to catch up with The Cuteness (see below somewhere) and then picked up bikes at the share bike station, bought a couple of helmets at the local 711 for $5 each and cycled our way through the CBD back to the hotel.  Great fun and good value.

The helmets are good quality and we squeezed them into our hand luggage for use at home.

Not that we have bikes but you never know when they might come in handy.

The cuteness

Enough said.

This is my niece.  She is very gorgeous.

Foggy Melbourne

I hadn’t seen foggy Melbourne before.

At Pony Fish Island

We went to this little bar which is on an island in the middle of the Yarra.  Very groovy.  They even serve mulled wine there sometimes.

Brisbane sunshine

This is the week before in Brisbane.

The view from the training rooms at the office.

Great view huh?

In full flight

A week after the bike riding back in Perth, we go out with some friends to see Ira Glass and This American Life in the cinema.  If you missed it, you can hear what we saw here at This American Life.

It was a great show.

It underlined to me a couple of things… one:  how distracting the visual can be!  David Sedaris dressed up as a clown for his story and I don’t remember the story AT ALL.

Two:  How telling stories without notes is SO MUCH BETTER than watching someone read.

I am going to aim for NO NOTES in future.

It is one of the very impressive things I’ve always noticed about Colin Barnett btw.  He must have to give hundreds of speeches and I’ve never seen him with notes.

And for those freaking out that I’ve mentioned a person from a political party – I’m sure it is not because of the party he represents.  He’s just a good public speaker.

After the film we trooped around the corner to a little lane way bar called Ezra Pound.

It’s a tiny bar full of mismatched furniture, with a limited wine and even more limited food menu but it’s cute and groovy and a little bit hip.

I felt very much in-the-know taking my friends there…

We told stories, drank wine and beer and ate some pretty sexy olives.

My new office

When I got back to Perth I had to find somewhere to “live” at work.

I’ve been seconded to another position for a couple of months.

So I now have an office.

Very exciting and a bit lonely too if I’m honest.

Apart from all that.  Not much storm damage and all family well.

The secret signs of cleaners

So I am in Brisbane at the moment.

My last night in fact and tonight, when I got back to my room and headed straight for the bathroom I sighed with contentment when I noticed the message from the cleaner:

The sign of attention to detail

Whenever I see the little folded triangles it’s like the cleaner has left a little sign for me.

See, they are saying, I have cleaned your room.

And I, as the temporary occupant think, yes. My room is clean.

Indeed, the dirty dishes I left soaking on the sink have been cleaned thoroughly and put away.

Perhaps I would feel that my room was clean even if the only thing touched was the toilet paper… it’s possible.

I have myself utilised the secret sign of cleaners to indicate a clean house in my own home.

It made me feel better although I am not sure the other occupants of my domicile noticed.


I don’t think the secret sign necessarily means attention to detail.


That is a pillow

Just sayin’


I’m in Brisbane waiting for someone to take my order at a Turkish restaurant.

Rapidly losing my sangfroid because there is nothing like eating alone to make you impatient with waiting staff.

Southbank itself is a rather lively well landscapes part of town and this Sunday is busy with people strolling along the wide footpaths and eating and drinking in the many restaurants and bars.

Ah my order has been taken.

Thank goodness for my smartphone the century’s equivalent to a book as entertainment when dining alone.

Really you’d think serving singles and getting them out quickly would be good for the restaurant too.

Who wants to dine in a restaurant full of sad lonely desperately trying to look interested in words with friends people who have no friends!


This morning I went rowing on the Swan.

Huh food has arrived very quickly. Must have sensed my comment above.

Hmm it was a rather ordinary meal.

Poor ordering maybe.

Anyway the rowing was fantastic.

Gliding on the water which was still and flat, the rising sun making butter yellow reflections.

No dolphins today.

It was so good to be breaking the routine and experiencing the city in a new and beautiful way.

The pain will come tomorrow I suspect.

Right. Off to the mini mart and some telly before bed.

Signing out.

Brisvegas – photo essay from the Gold Coast

Photo essays seem such a cheat don’t they? Not many words…

Citycycles seem a clever way to get around

This was the first thing I saw on arrival in Brisbane.

I love the idea of citycycle.

I wonder how well it works.

The view from Mt Coot-tha

We went up to Mt Coot-tha for the spectacular views.

The colours in the sandstone seemed artificial

The amazing colours of Brisbane sandstone look as if someone has dyed them.

Our team at the lookout

This is our team.

This is me not deciding which photo to show

Don’t you love the curves in this building?

Groovy apartment building in Broad Beach

On the way back to Brisbane we went shopping on the Gold coast.

The apartment buildings are fabulously over the top.

Mile after mile of hotel apartments

It’s as if all the architects in Australia went on holiday on the Gold Coast and over a few bevys let their imagination run wild.

Now normally you wouldn’t see me up at sunrise but this day the fire alarm went off.

The bloody fire alarm got me up early to catch the sunrise

And went off, and went off.

So I got up early.

It was of course a false alarm.

Rainbow Beach maybe

The first night we had dinner at the Rainbow Beach Surf Club.

Good food.

Fantastic view.

Fail: Tattoo on - Tattoo off

This amused me.

Tattoo parlour with tattoo removal joint a few doors down. LOL

Were they that bad?

The heads at Tweed Heads

This is the view from our balcony.

Not bad eh?

My hotel room

And of course the obligatory bedroom pic.

We stayed at Tweed Ultima and the apartments were very nice.

I like a warm bun


Look I don’t want to complain… actually scratch that… I DO want to complain… what’s with the freezing cold half stale buns they serve you as part of your aeroplane meal?

I can accept that mass meals are never going to be cordon bleu. Yes no matter whose name you stick on the salad container, I’m not expecting miracles. But. I do like a warm bun.

Would it be outrageous to expect even a bun at room temperature?

Even if they are not stale, they taste it because they are so cold.

Am I alone?

Or do you sit there cradling your bun in your hands so that you can eat it without breaking a tooth.

And while I’m ranting… butter wouldn’t hurt. As opposed to that rank tasting “dairy spread”.

I like a buttered bun.


Flying over the nullabor (or some place near it) recently, I snapped this view of the land below. Don’t you think it is amazing? Like some alien landscape…

nullabor view

Photographic observations of Surfers Paradise

To wrap up my trip to the Gold Coast – now a distant memory – here are some photographic observations…

It’s kind of weird for me, a West Australian, to see the sun NOT set over the ocean… instead you get this kind of “smudge”.

The sun sets over the land…

The high risers cast a shadow over the afternoon beach.

Some of the local wildlife. I’m referring to the Ibis!

It’s obviously not peak season at this fun park.

The lagoon at the hotel I was staying in used water from the nearby canal – filtered several times – in order to support the 1000 tropical fish.

Because everyone needs six pillows.

Have I missed a fashion moment here?

I found this image on Faking Good Breeding who pointed me toward an article on this very subject.

I saw Sex in the City the other night with some girlfriends – as you do – and enjoyed it. No I did. It was fun, flirtatious and frivolous. Perfect chick flickery.


(C’mon you knew there was a but)

What was with the black bra backs? On several occasions Carrie Bradshaw (SJP’s character) wears a low backed dress and has the back of her bra on display.

Since when did that become acceptable?

Who didn’t send me that memo?! Frankly I wish you had because lets face it girls if we don’t have to care that your bra isn’t hidden… doesn’t it make life easier?

Forget all those tricky uphostery jobbies with weird extra long bra straps that wind around you everywhere except your back in order to give you some nipple protection… just show off that bra strap!

No need for dimmers, just wear your good old faithful with your slinky LBD. Preferably black of course.

I thought I was joking too until coming back into the hotel tonight I spied a woman – who must have been past 50 (or not so careful with her skin routine), she was wearing super high heels, peroxided long hair, and a slinky black backless dress with black bra-strap showing.

Now I’m wondering… could this really be a fashion trend?

Going bananas!

Hand of bananas with color enhanced

At the breakfast buffet this morning, a buffet I might point out that is not cheap at $27 a head, my dining companion was surprised to note that there were no bananas.

“This is Queensland right?”

She asked bemused and we confirmed that yes we are in the banana state. A state that prides itself on its bananas. Whose inhabitants are in fact known as “banana benders”.

So we asked one of the waitpersons…

“Oh we have bananas”, she said, “but you need to ask for them. They’re expensive you know…”

No. I don’t know. Yes they did get a bit pricey following Cyclone Larry but I reckon you could pick up a bunch for under $3.90 a kilo without trying very hard.


Even more bizarre was the response when we asked why the milk jug had little yellowy orange lumps on the inside… had it not been washed properly?

No. It was the sun apparently.

The sun has strange properties on this side of the country. Watch out!

Creative Commons License photo credit: bastique

Not so hot in Queensland

It’s supposed to be warm in Queensland… right?

Because I’m not.

I’m cold. 24 degrees is not sitting by the pool weather for me and certainly not in the bikini I’m really too old and too fat to wear. But if I were to sit by the pool I would be able to wash my feet of sand with this nifty water footbath. Very clever.

The more sandy feet
The footbath leads from the artificial beach to the paved poolside area

The pool really is more of a lagoon with 1000 tropical fish. Yes you swim with the fish. It’s a little gross when the guy feeds them with bits of squid but entertaining…

The lagoon at the Mariott
The lagoon has a waterfall and a tunnel slide as well.

The view
This is the view from my balcony. Two pods of whales swam past today apparently. I missed both.

By the way… it’s MUCH cheaper to eat out over here! Went out to lunch today at a little beachside cafe… of average flashness. Lunch was $9.90. I had a red prawn curry. There must have been about 12 large prawns. You would have paid more like $20 in Perth. And it was really tasty.

If anything underlined how expensive Perth has become that would be it.

But I don’t surf?

Busy nights

Here I am in my luxurious BrisVegas room at the Marriott in Surfers Paradise. My first ever foray into Queensland.

Surfers reminds me of Orlando or Miami or Atlantic City. Mile after mile of big multi-story hotels. A giant strip mall. I drove up from the Gold Coast Airport and scored a great taxi driver who was like a personal tour guide. Everyone has been very friendly. You can tell this town makes their money from tourism.

The Marriott has those huge cane fans lazily pushing air back and forth in the foyer, a massive curving stairway and a pool that looks like it’s been themed by Universal Studios – who knows – perhaps it has.

I’m here for a conference looking at crisis communications. The line up looks good and certainly the venue is lovely. Now if only I could get my multimedia devices to do what they are supposed to do.

Ah well – I guess I’ll just have to lie back and watch cable TV… 🙂

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dafydd359