I’m on a Boat

At the start of the year when the river’s level surged
among the first things to become submerged
were the docks supporting the City Cat’s and ferries
but now it it looks like finally there is
an effort to get operations back underway
as I discovered by chance the other day.

I was quite happily trudging home from my last class,
watching the students who owned cars go zooming past,
when I took a quick detour through a nearby park
which happened to overlook the river and, hark,
down on that filthy water what should I see?
If you don’t read my title, you’re not getting an answer from me.

One last hint for my slower readers

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I decided to seize this rare chance to catch a boat home.
It’d be awesome to arrive at my street on the back of spray and foam.
But as I’d half suspected, right from the start,
my plan was always doomed to fall apart.
Turns out they’re only running at partial capacity
so they cruised past my nearest stop with total impassivity.
Still, catching a boat home remains at 10 on my awesomeness score
even though walking back up-river took me seventy minutes more.

Image from here

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Brisbane – More of a Zoo Than a City

I’ve come to a conclusion, a thesis, a manifesto
(actually just the first two terms are accurate, the third one less so.
But I’ll wait until another day to complain about my thesaurus
instead of wasting time now on a topic that could only bore us).

Anyway, to get back on track
what I wish to point out is actually the fact
that although Brisbane has a high level of human habitation
it seems like every time I pass a patch of vegetation
there’s some sort of wildlife waiting to spring out
and this observation has left me with little doubt
that contrary to its image of being civilised through and through
Brisbane’s actually more like a giant, open air zoo.

If I may present my first piece of evidence:
both at the uni and my student residence
there’s bush (or brush) turkeys running around
a phenomenon that can be observed all across town.
They build their big nesting mounds out of leaves
and rotting debris that can be found under almost every tree.

Example two comes from when I was walking down a main road
and I could hardly go a dozen steps without stepping on a cane toad.
They’re all over the place, big, ugly, toxic and amphibious
and even in my home state of WA they’re making an insidious
advance slowly across our northern borders into the Kimberley
(See, I’m not just amusing. I’m educational apparently).

Example three would have to be the swarms of bats,
for those who don’t know, they’re like giant flying rats.
Every night as the sun dips beneath the horizon
anyone who resolves to keep their eyes on
the sky can see them criss-crossing the troposphere
searching for food and colonies far and near.

At the university there’s a pond I found
with a bale of turtles (yes, that’s the collective noun)
and eels as well ( but they were harder to photograph).
As well as a lizard that almost bit me on the calf
(although with good reason I must admit,
I was busy looking at the turtles and almost trod on it)

There’s possums running up and down trees and power poles too.
The first time I saw one from a distance I thought it was a roo,
but then it ran straight up a branch when I got a little nearer
and that made its true identity a whole lot clearer.

Smaller creatures – although getting less attention –
also deserve their own special mention.
Big orange-black spiders build webs between any objects close together
and despite some reassurance I’m still not convinced whether
they’re poisonous or completely harmless.
You know what? I think I’ll try to avoid a bite regardless.

Anyway, I’ve outlined the fauna of the sub-tropic
and in the process I’ve pretty much exhausted this topic.
I feel I’ve achieved what I set out to do,
that is to demonstrate that Brisbane’s like a giant zoo.

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Review: Vapiano Italian Restaurant

Oggi, ho un’opinione un ristorante italiano
a place in the city operating under the name of ‘Vapiano’
which I went to dine at with some people on Sunday night
and about which I will now proceed to offer my insight.

The front of house staff seemed competent and able.
The ambience was nice with basil plants potted at each table,
in the middle of one they had (what I think) was an olive tree
and the room’s lighting and arrangements were everything you’d hope they’d be.

Vapiano attempts to differentiate itself from all the rest
by utilising local, fresh produce which they claim is the best.
Their pasta is fresh made daily, their herbs are grown right
in the restaurant and nothing travels far (according to their website).

The ordering systems a little different to what we’re used to
instead of ordering from a waiter you have to wait in a queue
then speak to the chef about what you want and whether
they should add extras like chilli or garlic when they mix it all together

I’ll be the first to admit my choice was far from exciting
but I thought the smell of carbonara seemed inviting.
It was mildly interesting to watch them making.
My only criticism is that it could have used more bacon.

I tried a piece of someone’s pizza too,
a vegetarian construction dominated by mushroom.
It lacked cheese so I had some trouble as I ate
with it falling apart. It was tasty but not great.

The only other issue which I’d like to point out
is they don’t have bottles of water which without a doubt
becomes extremely annoying when you must repeatedly pass
across the whole restaurant each time you want to fill your glass.

Value wise, it’s fairly mid-range
inevitably you have to exchange
some of your price expectations for the ingredients and atmosphere
but it’s more or less on par with the average cafés here.

On the whole, it was decent though not my favourite
but if you’re looking for a nice meal then go ahead and try it.
I liked the ambience, the food was average but our
experience there was ok so until next time, ciao…

Brisbane Floods

Originally I’d intended for this post
to be about my recent holiday up the coast
but today, as is sometimes the case,
I’ve found something more urgent on which to base
my contribution to this blog and its collection of rhyme
(perhaps I’ll write about the holiday later if I get the time).

You see for the past couple of months it’s been raining
and although it seemed that most the water was harmlessly draining
somehow various factors must have come together to comprise
a situation in which the level of our city’s rivers could rise
quickly, dangerously to a near record height
with much of the city underwater by Tuesday night.

I was there during the evacuation of the CBD
right before the banks broke and I was there to see
businesses sandbagging, and the rush to reach
trains and cars before the river could breach.
But people were suprisingly rational despite the worry and drama
(except for one crazy guy on the train who told me the disaster was karma).

The water continued rising throughout the next day.
My family were trapped in an apartment not too far away.
Fortunately they were situated up on the third floor
so the water only made it into the lobby and nothing more.
Personally, my residence is up on high ground
so despite the nearby waters I was safe and sound.

They cut the power, some stores ran out of food
but nonetheless, out on the streets the mood
remained largely positive with the only complaints
gawkers in the way and fears that sewage could taint
the extensive area now comprising Bribane’s newest lakes.
By Thursday they were discussing what the clean up would take.

So now it’s pretty much the end of our city’s flood
everyone’s gone home to wash out the silt and mud
but spare a thought for the rest of our state,
the many areas in which the waters are yet to abate
and those who’ve lost or are missing loved ones
pray for their parents, siblings, daughters and sons.