Monday, December 10, 2007

The Brisbane Chronicles: Shark Biscuit and Other Tales of the Bizarre

On Saturday (12/8), I hopped on a train and headed down to the Gold Coast.

I've heard a lot of talk about the Gold Coast, and with it so close, I figured I should head down and see what all the fuss was about.

Plus, my compadre in crime, Jack, threatened me with physical violence if I didn't go surfing while I was in Australia.

"Dustin, I will NEVER be able to go surfing in Australia, so if you don't go while you are there, I will inflict a thousand years of pain on you."
Alllllllllrighty then. A-surfin' I will go.

I made reservations through the International House and was all ready to go. A quick stop off in Harbour Town to pick up a rash vest and visit my friend Ashley's mom, and then it was on the bus to...


Let's just say that the name fits.

A gorgeous beach, gorgeous sun tanners, and too damn many surfers in a small area. It was nice, but I wish we could have spread out a bit more and not had to deal with all the bloody galahs (see: idiots) who couldn't figure out where the swimming area was.

I stood up on my board for about one thousandth of a second before the board went one way and I the other, but all in all, it was a fun experience.

By the way, the words "Shark Biscuit" in the title refer to people like me. It's Aussie slang for new surfers.

I always thought Japan had the market cornered on all things bizarre, but today I found myself proven wrong. It's pretty bizarre Down Under as well.

I was shopping for some souvenirs at an Australian Souvenir shop in the Queen Street Mall today, when I heard a familiar song come over the radio.

Bam-bada-bada, bam-bada-bada, bam-bada-bada, badabadabadabada...

(Trust me, it'll make sense in a minute.)

A bit of a country-fried intro, if I do say so myself...

Then the lyrics kicked in.

Big wheels keep on turning,
carry me home to see my kin
singing songs about the southland.
I miss ole bamy once again and I think it's a sin.
Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her.
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down.
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
a southern man don't need him around anyhow.
Hold on...


Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue.
Sweet home Alabama, Lord, I'm coming home to you.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, in an Australian souvenir store in Brisbane, they were playing Lynrd Skynrd's "Sweet Home Alabama".

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Australia.

Japan, you've got competition.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Brisbane Chronicles: Kicked Outta The Bar

"Sir, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Well, this is a first. "May I ask why?"

"Well sir, you see..."


Let me back up to the beginning.

Last Thursday, I headed out on the town with some friends I'd made here. We decided to hit one of the local pubs for dinner and drinks.

I'd found a place called The Union Jack in the downtown area of Brisbane, and I figured that would be a fun place to go. Besides, you're pretty much guaranteed that you'll be able to find good whiskey at a place called The Union Jack.

So we met up at 7, and headed over to the pub. We ordered some drinks, some fish and chips, and my personal favorite, shepherd's pie.

Oh, and a whiskey.

Thursday nights at The Union Jack, you can buy a card for $10 that gets you four drinks. The only problem is that they sell the card every OTHER hour, and we'd just missed the cut-off for the card. No big deal, just wait until 8 and then go to the counter and get one.

So we sat and talked and enjoyed our dinner, and when I checked my watch again, it was after 8.

$10 drink card time!

I headed to the front entrance to buy a card when a rather burly-looking bloke stepped up to me and said:

"Sir, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Well, this is a first. "May I ask why?"

"Well sir, you see, we have a dress code, and I can't let you in if you're only wearing shorts."

But I've been here for the past hour?

"I come on at 8, and that's when our dress code starts. You're going to have to leave."

Can I at least go back in and get my stuff?

"Oh yeah, sure mate."

Be right back.

So I head back to the table, explain to my friends that I've just been kicked out for wearing shorts, finish off what's left of my whiskey and the shepherd's pie, and head back out, telling my friends that I'll wait for them to catch up.

"Hey mate, sorry about that, but it's the rules."

No worries. It's just kinda funny. Who in their right mind would wear pants when it's as hot as it is?

"True. Most places around here have that rule though. Nothing I can do."

Like I said, no worries. I enjoyed the place though. Maybe I'll come back for lunch sometimes.

"Right. Dress code doesn't start until 8, so you'd be good then."

Yep. Well, here come my friends. Take it easy.

And then we headed off to another outdoor bar that wasn't as strict in their clothing requirements.

Thus ends the tale of the first time I ever got kicked out of a bar.

Oh, and in case anybody out there reading this would like to get a hold of me directly, my e-mail is yoshiwatari (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hope to hear from you, Sebastian. Thanks for the comment on my last post, and thanks for looking me up!