Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thai to die for

THE big craze over here is power walking.
I thought this was something that was just done by a few people while the rest of us took the mickey, that judgment being made on the basis of an episode of the Aussie comedy Kath and Kim. Wrong.
Everywhere you go you get Aussie women and men charging past you, arms pumping as they make their way to work, or the shops, or just about anywhere.
I would like to say I've got the hang of it, but yesterday proved I am still way off the pace.
I found a beautiful walk along a pathway which follows the Brisbane River and decided to visit a pub I had been told about which nestles just under the picturesque Story Bridge.
No sooner had I set off, though, than I was having to dive out of the way of bell-ringing cyclists, keen marathon runners and the aforementioned walkers. Brisbaners are fitness fanatics.
When I finally reached the bridge I then had to climb an extremely steep hill. This is certainly not the only steep hill in Brisbane as there is one on the way back from the city centre to my hotel. And my lonely planet guide tells me the city is easy to walk because its "relatively flat". Have they got the right place?

When I reached the top? No pub. So I decided to stop someone and ask for directions. Impossible. Instead I ended up jogging alongside a young lady power-walking her way home, sweat pouring off me from my exertions. She didn't break stride as she gave me directions to the Story Bridge Hotel, which just nestles under this impressive structure on the other side of the river.
Having walked to the ground and back every day for five days of a Test match, plus this marathon expedition into the unknown, I should be as fit as a flea by the time I get home.

Last night the Kitchen designer and I found a fantastic thai restaurant just behind our hotel. Problem is that a lot of Brisbane shuts VERY EARLY. We arrived at about five to nine and had to rush in our order before the place closed up.
The starter was some terrific oriental fish cakes with a spicy touch and a clear but highly tasty dipping sauce. After that I had a red curry of beef, without coconut, while the Designer opted for a terrific red curry prawn dish with prawns each the size of a small shark! Having tried one, it was delicious too.
As it's our last night in Brisbane before flying to Adelaide at 6am tomorrow I think we shall be visiting it again tonight.

After dinner we went on the long search for a bit of musical entertainment. My guide book told me that an Irish bar called O'Learys wasn't too far away but unfortunately we took a wrong turning. Cue more walking up and down hills.
Eventually, though, we turned up at the right place to find it had been renamed Kitty O'Shea's. Put a whole new slant of "popping to Kitty's" for a lunchtime drink.
It was jam-session night and although the posters advertising the place suggested we were in for a night of diddly diddly music, the musicians were extremely good - and not an Irishman in sight.
The lead singer was a big Fijian with an acoustic guitar, the bassist an incredibly talented Japanese bloke, and there was also a Spanish flamenco-style guitarist, a Chinese lead guitarist and an Aussie on drums - quite an international mix.
And at last we found somewhere in Brisbane open after 10.30 on a week day (well, that's apart from Just Hooters). We shall probably pay it another visit tonight, too.
By the time we got back to the hotel at 11.30 the bar was already shut.
What's that all about?
Hopefully Adelaide, with an hour and a half time difference, will be a bit more lively.

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