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Tuesday 1 Jul 2003
Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, Bisbane

Well, I arrived into Brisbane yesterday afternoon after tackling the immensly bad drivers of Queensland (they REALLY are bad... almost within minutes of crossing the border all the Queensland plates start braking suddenly and overtaking in the left lane... yadda yadda)... I also used almost a quart of my petrol trying to navigate Brisbanes badly-planned streets in order to find my hostel (cum "parking space"). Brisbane, it seems, has suffered the same fate as Sydney in that it wasnt planned with automobiles in mind and sort of "grew" from a central point. Another thing I found immensly annoying in this city is that there are hardly any petrol stations to be found.. whereas in Byron Bay, for example, there were 4 in a row despite the town having a population of around 3,000!

On the upside though, Ive got a place near the centre of town where I can park my van for only 12 dollars a night - its a hostel and I can use the facilities as all the others guests do: TV, kitchen, showers and *cough* "free" internet (well its not REALLY free... but the owner is rarely here to make sure people pay!).. the others in the hostel are the usual backpacker types and theyre a friendly bunch.

Today I had my first real walk around Brisbane (there definately aint no way Im DRIVING around!) and my first impressions are thus: Brisbane feels like its trying to be Sydney, but not in a good way. There are more suits walking the streets per capita than Ive seen in Sydney and everybody seems to be in a rush (in Sydney most people seemed to take life in their own stride), plus Ive heard mention of the word "stress" for the first time since Ive arrived in Oz. Theres a slight feeling of pretentiousness in the air and the city seems to revel in its own crapulence: there aint no poor people on the streets here, just a lot of people in designer jeans parading around the main streets...

Ah no Im being a bit harsh, but really this city comes the closest simulating a large city like London or New York, than any other city Ive visited on my trip. There are a lot of big name companies here: Oracle, IBM and Quantas have their HQ here. It would be a good place to get a job and, I get the impression, the salaries would be good too... Its just such a change from somewhere like Byron Bay where everybody is chilled and I think this may be because there is no beach in Brisbane... Brisbane is about 40 km inland on the River Brisbane and so does not cater for tourists nor does it have the recreational outlet that Sydney has - hence probably why the city seems to exude stress. Stress as we know is contagious, so I started to feel a bit of it as I walked around...

Theres not much to do in Brisbane. Its a "working" city rather than a place to visit so doesnt have too much on offer for the intrepid tourist... I *DID* however go to see "The Hulk" in the cinema in town and its a great flick.. highly recommended if you like some action!

Ill probably hang around Brisbane tommorrow and see if there is something Im missing about this place, cuz it doesnt seem terribly interesting (although it IS fairly pretty... just not quite as stunning as Sydney, say)

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