So... Christmas! We headed up to Brisbane this year, first to catch Daft Punk then to meet up with my family on Moreton Island for a week.
We took essential supplies.
The first night up there we nearly headed to the Christmas party for my old Griffith team, but given a) they were bowling, which is not much fun for someone on crutches; and b) we were both deliriously tired; we opted for a quiet dinner at Castelli's before crashing out at the house'o'colinmo.
The next day we bolted off to the city to load up on reading material at Pulp Fiction, then headed out for coffee at Griffith. The coffee mission also provided photographic proof of the hot chocolate so thick a metal spoon stands up in it, for certain disbelievers who said it couldn't be true.
Unfortunately we had to call off going to the Daft Punk gig that evening, since L's foot just wasn't ready to deal with a huge crowd and standing for hours. So, her little sister got perhaps the Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. ;) It was disappointing to miss the concert, but at least the tickets went to a good home.
Having ditched the robot rocking french duo, we had the evening free to hang out at the house'o'colinmo! There was a chinese feast, there was retro platform gaming, there was linked Nintendo DS fun, there was a viewing of Hogfather and various YouTube hilarity (eg. episodes of QI, above;
they say of the acropolis where the parthenon is....). All in all a damn fine evening.
After a leisurely start the next day we headed to the ferry terminal, which is a fancy way of saying a big ramp and a surprisingly comfortable little bus shelter type arrangement.
Turns out the new Moreton ferry is a tad more civilised than the old Moreton ferry, not to mention totally beyond the old no-frills Stradbroke barge. Not to say I don't love the old barge, but the Micat (Moreton Island CATamaran) has a canteen, bar and Aroma's espresso. Plus, mobile phones work all the way to Moreton Island, allowing me to ring friends and Twitter my location from the middle of the bay. What a world we live in ;)
I think this is my favourite pic from the whole trip (grain and all, I know it's not the best shot I've ever taken). I've always loved getting onto the ferry/barge on the way to an island (Stradbroke, Moreton, Fraser...). Memories from childhood I guess - this was the start of the holiday.
There's also something deeply satisfying about watching your daily life disappear slowly over the horizon, amidst the smell of the ocean and the sound of the engines. It's an odd combination - the peace of the water, compared with the industrial noise of a vehicle barge.
Anyway, I love it. This is already on the wall at work.
So anyway... we got to the beach at Moreton and wrestled our bags off the ferry and onto the sand, where mum and dad came cruising in and collected us. We bounced off through the forest and up the hill to the holiday house; and settled in for a week of food, booze and doing as little as possible (fishing doesn't count).
I went fishing on the eastern beach (ocean side) with my dad, my brother and my brother in law. Once you're in the surf, it's basically you; your rod and line; the waves and the horizon. Occasionally a fish might intrude too, but it's not 100% required ;) Actually I caught 8 fish and was pretty happy with that, even if they were all tiny little dart which I caught and released.
Bloke point check: went fishing, caught fish, drove 4wd on sand, drank beer (in a "Bloke Island" stubbie cooler, no less), didn't shave. Yup, much-needed bloke point increase ;)
Christmas Day was the predictable mountain of food and afternoon torpor. But since our place actually overlooked Tangalooma we decided to head down and see the wild dolphin feeding in the evening. You'll just have to trust me, the grey blur in the photo is a dolphin. While the whole feeding bit was a bit tourist-resort-y (and only open to people staying in the resort itself, ruling us out), watching the dolphins was really cool. They actually live wild, even if they do cruise in for an easy feed every night. One in particular kept hunting fish - you'd see him bolting through the water with fish leaping out trying to escape.
Returning from the dolphins, it was clearly time for world domination. Segway? I don't need no stinkin' segway. The sacred ritual of RISK was observed. My forces did not fare well, but more importantly the night was my brother's first foray onto the battlefield - hopefully the first of many still to come.
On Boxing Day we went for a drive up the eastern beach. The weather was moody, hinting at the wild weather that was heading towards Queensland.
Eventually we had to go home, time flies and all that.
The crossing back was seriously windy, but it's always interesting as it takes you past the Tangalooma wrecks; and in this case we came surprisingly close to a huge container ship.
After a quick lunch at James Street, my parents dropped us off to the airport. Faced with a two hour wait in a packed departure lounge (with absolutely no way for L to elevate her foot) we did the honourable thing and booked into the Blue Lounge. It was very expensive for such a short wait, but I'd certainly recommend it if you can afford it and/or you have a really long wait ahead of you.
Cost aside, the Blue Lounge was a great move. I realise now that a big reason I am so stressed on planes is the endless, aggressive noise of the departure lounge beforehand. This way we sat around on comfortable chairs, L had her foot up on a padded ottoman, we read books, had a free coffee/beer, I checked email to pass the time. Plus, joy of travelling joys, the toilets were fully functional and spotless. I'd stop short of saying the wait was enjoyable but it certainly passed quickly.
Our luck was in on the plane and we got a row of three seats to ourselves, letting us spread out and get comfortable. Nice! Plus Virgin's new in-seat TVs have a map channel that shows your flight's location, altitude and air speed - very cool :) Considering we had to fly around and over a massive storm, the flight was pretty smooth.
....and that was Christmas 2007.
Heaps more photos: Christmas 2007 on flickr.