Childhood memories came flooding back on Saturday as we spent the day at Brisbane's Royal Agricultural Show which is called the Ekka. Apart from the familiar smells of cow dung, one thing different at the ‘Ekka' is an entire hall dedicated to the sale of ‘show bags' which is effectively a lucky packet. There is a large area with rides and games called ‘Side Show Alley' where the biggest thrill comes from surviving the spinning contraption mounted on a truck with some back yard engineering and the inevitable chance of human error by the operator who could frontline ZZ Top when he is not at the soup kitchen. Dinner was a cholesterol concoction from a makeshift canteen kitchen with everything on the menu coming out of a deep fryer using the previous years oil. The main arena presented a string of shows including a spectacular fireworks display concluded the evening's events before we trudged back to the car exhausted from a fun filled day. Sunday was fairly uneventful apart from our hair raising experience when Bianca gave each of us a crew cut. Luckily the boys look alright but I could easily be mistaken for a poof at the Sydney Mardi-gras.
The weekend was the official start to Brisbane's biggest festival ‘Riverfire' which is a week long party with many events around the river city. The Walsh's joined us in their boat and we cruised all the way up the Brisbane river from the mouth thru the port, under the Gateway bridge and through the heart of town until we stopped and watched some Dragon Boat racing near the old Regatta Hotel. We then moored near the Story Bridge next to Greg Norman's cruise ship and 340 other permit holders. Our boats were small but we enjoyed the space compared with the families packed in along the river banks and on high rise balconies. A formation of 5 Parlatis planes put on an unbelievable show overhead with loops, flips and summersaults as we enjoyed our sundowners and munched through a weeks worth of catering. At 7.30pm sharp a spectacular fireworks display was kicked off with a blazing F111 fighter jet fly bye. We were mesmerized for a full half hour as rockets where fired off barges, buildings and bridges before another fighter jet flew in low right over us with its burning tail before heading off into the night. After a superb effort from the planes, pyromaniacs, police and our pottie we headed home negotiating the huge boat swells in the dark. The next day we loaded up the bikes and headed down to the beach where we cycled along the Gold Coast esplanade and thru the popular Surfers Paradise where this years summer fashion was on display. (Unfortunately it looks like the bikini top is here to stay)
I spent the weekend with one of Australia's most lethal weapons, a hired nail gun. Armed with 1200 rounds of sharp hard nose 2 inch galvanised steel nails, I took on 300 CCA treated fence palings and won. Even though I was looking like Rambo and smelling like Sipho my faithful assistant never left my side and regardless of how dangerous it got I always watched her back – side. The Halloween weekend had us out to dinner to a smart BYO restaurant armed with a bottle of wine and two 800ml ‘Transkie' dumpies of VB which looked a little out of place. These Aussie have some other strange traditions like the Melbourne Cup horse race. This is like the Durban July but it is on a Tuesday and some States even get the day off as a public holiday, not to mention the Wednesday that is usually also taken as a sicky. Anyway fingers crossed (they don't hold thumbs here) for No.6.
Don't miss: Broken robots, slow trucks with faulty tail lights and Zimbabwe's cantankerous leader
Miss: Decent freeways to get around the city and Flings chips