Australians really ARE that friendly!

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Brisbane February 18, 2013

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We didn’t see the sun shine in Brisbane for three days, but the misty rain and warm breeze sure beat the ice and cold of Wisconsin.

Brisbane is a stunning city of 1.6 million; the central city, with its gleaming skyscrapers and bridges,forms a peninsula in the twisting Brisbane River. Access to major city attractions is provided by inexpensive ferries called Citycats and CityFerries. Upon arriving, we took a cab from our Pegasus hotel to Brett’s Warf and jumped on a Citycat to the Eagle Street Pier and the Riverbar for a snack.

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Then a couple more Citycat stops took us to the South Bank 1&2 area, the showcase of the city with parks, river walks, and museums and the site of the World Expo in 1988. Kids played in a giant outdoor pool. We browsed around in the weekend market.

We walked a few blocks from our hotel to the Hamilton Bowles Club for a cafeteria style dinner, and prided ourselves for staying up until the local bedtime after such a long flight (14 hours from San Francisco to Sydney and then an hour and a half to Brisbane).

Monday Feb. 18. We both had coffee and an egg sandwich at the Coffee Corall down the street and caught up on emails in the hotel’s pool gazebo – the only place at the hotel with Wifi. Then John went off to work visiting distributors and I headed off via taxi and Citycat for the Queensland Museum and Science Centre to see the exhibit on Aboriginals and another on 60’s Brisbane fashion designer Gwen Gillam. Oh dear – the clothes we wore growing up are now museum artifacts!

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I had a snack at the museum and headed back on the 45-minute Citycat ride to be surprised by John greeting me at the Warf “Looking for a taxi mam?”

We had dinner with Larry, Jeff, Geoff and Tom at the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel, known for its steaks. John had a 60-day aged beef rib. Talk at the table jumped around the world; always interesting to be with people who know the global issues, which countries are coming up, which ones are sinking into recession.

Homeland. We have the DVDs along, and each night we’ve watched an episode together on John’s laptop, sharing a single set of earplugs.

Tuesday Feb. 19. Quilting: A Global Sisterhood.

At 9 a.m. I headed off by taxi to the APatchy Quilt Shop, 40 London Clayfield (www.Apatchyquilting.com.au) I had arranged this visit yesterday with a phone call to what appeared to be the closest quilt shop to our hotel. On the phone, the owner, Kaye, said that Tuesday would be the better day to visit and invited me to join the “sit and sew” session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that day and meet the group. When I told John I had arranged a morning with quilting ladies in Brisbane, he said, “What is this, some kind of cult ?”!

The shop was in a home in a quiet, hilly neighborhood with leafy branches arching across the streets. Kaye greeted me as though I was a celebrity of sorts, coming all the way from Wisconsin. All of the women were friendly; and everyone shared their hand-work projects around the table and the eight or nine women offered suggestions about Australian quilt magazines and fabrics and quilt shops in Melbourne and Sydney. They were very complimentary about my three table runners (quilters are always so nice to new quilters) – and Kaye even took pictures of them and of me for the shop blog!

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My aboriginal print fabric. This is Kaye, the shop owner.

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tea and coffee in the garden

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The “sit and sew” table

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My fabric – to become a souvenir quilt!

We had tea and coffee in the lovely patio opening to the garden filled with jungle-sized palms and plants. I bought some gorgeous Australian-made Aborigine print fabric, some locally made buttons, and some magazines and patterns. When I asked Kaye to call a taxi for me, she offered to take me home – and then gave me a half-hour tour of the residential area. Huge mansions in varying styles – from island style on stilts with the big rounded porches to tall English style brick to modern – perched on the bluffs with fabulous views of the city. When I told the lady at the hotel desk where I’d been, she said, “Oh, you saw where the rich people live.”

To see a mention of me (and photos too!) as the visiting Wisconsin quilter, just click here and then click on the blog! Goes to show that to be an expert, all you need to be is from out of town! http://www.apatchyquilting.com.au/

Later, Kaye emailed me to say that when her husband heard John’s comment about quilters being a cult, he said, “Doesn’t the bloke know that’s exactly what you are?”

A few Aussiei expressions:
G’Day Mate
Ow much is it – Pronounced as one word: owmuchisit?

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4 thoughts on “Australians really ARE that friendly!

  1. Martha—-what great fun. I so look forward to your blogs. Enjoy the trip and keep those blogs coming. I am ever so envious. We are in indianapolis—long story which I will relate to you on your return. Home this thurday—- to glorious warm weather. Have a great trip. Love to John. Larry says hi. All the best— I will await the next update. Marybeth

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Wonderful: I was with you all the way (except for the quilting). Thanks for the vicarious return to the land of Oz! PS. You may not know that Bob Leverenz died on Monday morning — service on Saturday. Love, Alice

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