Wednesday, June 9, 2010

End of the Siege

About five weeks ago we heard someone on our back balcony / fire escape. That was the first time we saw the painters. They told us they would be painting the outside of the building, and expected that it would take about a week.


We put up with these chaps in cherry-pickers and on scaffolding for two weeks (including the weekend) less one day.

By then they had finished the back of the building, but done very little around the front. On the Thursday as they packed up the young chap downstairs who is part of the "body corporate" told us that the next day they would paint the front, and then they would be finished.

But the next day it rained.

And we didn't see them at all for the next two weeks.

And then last weekend we were watching TV and we noticed this (bear in mind we are on the top floor.)

Peter went outside to take a look.

Sure enough - the painters were back at last!

And in a couple more days they finally finished.

Well, it does look rather lovely. Apparently they investigated the layers of paint on the building, and have returned it to its original colours. There are three shades of brown, and the lovely pale yellow on our "penthouse" apartment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Deja Vue - living the MERry life

Mabo Day - June 3rd

When we were in Townsville in 1982 we met the now famous Eddie (Koiki) Mabo - he was teaching an evening class in the Meriam language at the university. In the course of conversation, he mentioned that he was thinking about mounting a High Court challenge for land rights on Murray Island.

Which he did. And when we were on Murray Island, we say the whole thing happening. He was successful, but only posthumously. So now he is celebrated by Islanders on June 3rd. (In the Islands it is a public holiday, but they couldn't persuade everyone on the mainland to do the same!

Mabo Day Celebrations in Brisbane

We have only just discovered through a friend at church that there are 6-8 Murray Island families living in Brisbane. He told us they would be holding a Mabo day celebration.

Island rules: if you know about it, then consider yourself invited.

We weren't too sure of the directions, but driving around the area we stumbled upon the Buffalo Hall with Islanders milling around.

Looking inside, the place was crowded, and people were doing island dances, and eating, but we couldn't see our friend from church ... so we weren't sure what to do.

It was strange. So many people looked so familiar - but we were there more than 20 years ago, so we were looking at the wrong generation. We knew that all or most of our old friends long since passed away.

Then we saw a chap who looked like a cross between
this chap (George, my 'brother') and this chap. (Wilfred - sadly even Wilfred passed away last year.)

Seemed like a good place to start. So Peter went and talked to him, and of course found him to be a close 'relative'.

Then we got to meet Jackie, Peter's youngest 'brother'.

Kab Kar and Island dance

It was so strange, after 20 years, being among these people again. The relaxed family feel, and the sounds - except a lot of them (having been born and grown up in Brisbane) spoke fluent English.

There was dancing, of course, and the men's feet pounded on the wooden floor - a bit different from the sandy ground on the island.

The songs and rhythms and dances were all the old familiar ones, and people were walking among the dancers dousing them with talcum powder and perfume.

They had the proper drums (instead of a kerosene tin they often used on the island!) and the old singers were familiar faces.

There were women's dances too. The lady with the green dress and red around her head is a funny dancer - mimicking but making fun of the dances to make the others look good - it takes skill to do this well.

And the food! I haven't had 'sop-sop' in 20 years ... mmm-hmmm! It's a mixture of pumpkin and root vegetables such as potatoes and yams, cooked with coconut grease in an earth oven. I suspect this was cooked in a regular oven because it lacked the smokiness of the real thing, but it was so yummy!

July 1st is "Coming of the Light" when they celebrate the first missionaries coming to the Island - on Murray there is usually a re-enactment. I gather there will be another get-together here in Brissie. Hope we can be there!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Little Church in the Valley

There are some magnificent churches in Brisbane city, especially in Ann Street near Cathedral Square.

It is an interesting mix of old and new, with the mighty glass towers casting wobbly reflections of each other.

In amongst all of these, squeezed between one of the tallest and a chunkier yellow block, we found this little old church, the city Church of Christ.

So we have started going there on Sundays and sometimes on other days too.

The building is quite lovely, despite being crammed into a city block.

But the best part is of course the people. Not a very big congregation, and lots of foreign students - as you'd expect in the city centre - most of them Korean.

And the other interesting thing for us is that some of the church members are our long-lost 'relatives' from Murray Island. So we are looking forward to catching up with more of them as time passes.

On the city skyline

Every day, every time we walk around our apartment, we look out over the city skyline. The buildings stay the same, but the mood changes with the weather and the light.

Brisbane has a lot of rainy days, but also a lot of sparkling days like this one.

And then one day I did a bit of a double take - hang on! What on earth is that? I'm sure that wasn't always there.

Over the course of the next few hours it changed position, until finally it returned to its original position.

We talked about what it could be. Maybe an observation deck, or a revolving restaurant - but it didn't seem to have any floor to it. Maybe some sort of radar thingy .... or ??

We went and asked Mr Google - though it was hard to know what to ask. "What's that thing on the AAMI building?" didn't yield any useful results.

Then we discovered it's not really just the AAMI building, but Central Plaza.

That's when we discovered what it's for! It's so that they can wash the windows!!

Can you imagine dangling from that thing?

The other day we saw this thing, and expected to be able to see it move lower - but it never did, and the bar moved the full 360 degrees and popped back into place.

Maybe it's so new they have never had it in operation properly yet.

Enough said

Beer in the sky

Thirsty cranes