Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From Near & Far

In the 26.5 months we've been here the only visitors we've had from abroad are Martin's family...and that wasn't very long ago.  In the three years we spent in Norway we only had a mere 3 visitors from abroad, so imagine the excitement (and house cleaning) when we had four visitors in two months!

::scrubs toilet on hands and knees::

First up, Susanna!

This is Susanna and a pokies (video lotto) machine at Brisbane's Treasury Casino.  I had never been there for gambling purposes before (I'm cheap), only dining (I'm a fat ass).  It's a big icon here in Bris, and the reason it is nicknamed Brisvegas.  It is something you should see when you're in town, so I brought Susanna here to play a game of traditional, classy pokies.

And I won $8!  Holler!  I only played $1, so that's $7 pure profit.  I am now all set to retire.

Another stop we made that I embarrassingly haven't properly "done" yet is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens:

They were super nice and totally worth a visit.

I'm a big believer in traveling through food (see: aforementioned fat ass) so I shove lots of local goodies down my guests - and my own - gullet while they're here.  Susanna had her first taste of kangaroo and emu thanks to me!  Since she is half Norwegian we also partook in a native Norwegian delicacy:

Norwegian waffles!  Complete with brown goat cheese!  It has been years since I've enjoyed this tasty dessert-not-breakfast delight and it felt good being back in the saddle.

Susanna is spending a semester studying in Sydney, and her action-packed blog makes me feel like I've spent the last 2 years on a couch eating Twinkies in a muumuu.  She's done so much!  It's so fun to follow and a great list of ideas for study abroad and exchange students spending a very limited amount of time here.  Stay tuned because next month I'll be going down to visit her in Sydney, because my first trip there was half eaten by spectacularly horrendous weather.

Next visitor, Emily!

This was an even shorter visit than Susanna's 2-day stay; I really only had one day to show off the sites of Brisbane.  About all we had time for during daylight hours was South Bank and the City Cat river ferry, so I had to come up with an evening-friendly activity.  My stroke of genius resulted in a picnic at the Kangaroo Point cliffs:

I had never done this before, which is a shame because 1) it's a very iconic Brissy thing to do and 2) the sunset is amazing!

I even brought my goon (boxed wine) bag, to elevate my enjoyment of the scenery.

This is exactly the sort of event I had in mind when I asked for this thing for Christmas a few years back.

The vantage point of Kangaroo Point cliffs offers arguably the best views of the city:

Hell yes I would like some scenery to go with my goon!

Final guests, a two-fer, James & Pieter!

Due to my funemployment of early 2014 I have, like, less than no vacation time.  So sadly the boys had to do without my presence the first two days they were in Brisbane.  As you can see from that picture, they did just fine without me.

We were fortunate to have a good chunk of time with these two, so we could show them not only Brisbane but the surrounding areas as well.  A rare treat for these Asian-dwelling-Westerners, we all saw a dingo!

This was our first sighting so far.  We didn't even see one when we were on Fraser Island, where they're pretty common (and renowned for getting all up in the business of humans).  So that was exciting for them!

We assembled Fort Kick Ass, also known as the most comfortable half-bed-half-fort known to man.  If I could transition from my regular bed to this makeshift one, I totally would.

We fed some exotic birds, in the wild, while looking wistful (apparently).

Saw a waterfall.

Humped some of the local flora.

And stalked British royalty!

These are the best shot I got of Will and Kate.  We (James & I that is, the other 2 weren't interested) stood outside in the hot sun for 3.5 hours to catch a glimpse.  And it was totally worth it!

I love, love, love those two!  By nature I dislike royalty because I believe in the innate equality of people (or because I'm American, whichever) but these two make me think, "Royalty, hell yeah!"

As we were leaving the area a motorcade passed right by us, so we figured out what was coming and got our cameras ready:

That's them, right there, in the back seat of that car!

I must say Kate is perfect in every way.  I immediately started following every Instagram feed I could find on her, and have become obsessed with reading whatkatewore.com.  She's just...perfect.  I want to be her!  Except for the whole stifling, caged bird lifestyle, that is.

William...poor William.  There was a long period where he was the crush object of every single female and confused boy in my generation, but nowadays homeboy is straight up bald.  And because he's royalty he can't shave it all off and go about it gracefully like the rest of mankind.  He has the warmest, most infectious smile ever, though.  He ain't out of the game yet.

I love having visitors, even though it's the one time per lifetime that I actually clean my house.  I'm happy to have more at any time - hint, hint, folks!

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