A Greyhound to Brisbane Friday 25th November 2011


Greyhounds depend on their owner! These buses take on the same characteristics as their driver. Today we have a driver who is brusque, “There’s no toilet on this bus, so you’d better go now.”. I think he loved driving because I could see his face in the mirror, smiling as he went down the highway, but customer liaison probably could do with a bit of work.

His clients, our fellow travelers were different, so was his coach. There were older people, some with families, some quite old, all sitting silently for 4 hours.

You could tell we were reaching Brisbane. The countryside changed to a gentle roll, the trees became, as John called it, ‘recognizable shapes’ and then the suburbs began, acres of them.

With the notable exemption of Sydney Opera House (I bet you could tell me some more!) Australians are unlikely to win many architectural prizes. It’s kit housing, if you are lucky with good decorative iron work or an attractive arch on domestic buildings. These suburbs have a lack of civic status or public art, plenty of billboards, of course, loud and garish mostly. The entrance of Brisbane strikes me as a Spaghetti Junction which is still being constructed.

It’s not helped by the flat we have chosen. It is definitely the most grimy, the carpet makes me feel itchy, the sofa is sticky with grease and dirt. The lighting is atrocious and creates a dimness even when the sun shines. Over the kitchen units an unprotected fluorescent light of 1.5 meters length glares at face height. But it has a washing machine and tumble drier and I set to with our clothes.

We’ve just heard that our Byron Bay accommodation had fallen through too, but we are looking forward to melbourne where an ex-colleague of mine, a guy I trained as a Graduate Teacher, has offered me his house for a month. That’s amazing!

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