As I begin to write this blog post I have about 2 hours before I tap away on my phone to request an Uber ride to Brisbane International Airport where I will sit around for a number of hours before getting into the first of two gigantic metal tubes that will transport me through the air, back to the UK.
Since booking my flight last week I have attempted to make the most of my remaining time here, and after my final day wandering around the city I feel that now would be a good time to tell you about my last few days in Australia.
It was Wednesday last week that I booked my flight and announced my decision to leave the country, so let's start with Thursday. Not a lot happened during the day, but later on I accompanied a friend from back home (who happened to be visiting Brisbane whilst I was here!) to an entertaining evening of musical bingo where I managed to win this attractive, but not very effective bell.
Musical bingo works in very much the same way as normal, number based bingo, but instead of having numbers written on your card, you are presented with a 5x5 grid of song titles (with artists as well). The bingo caller, in this case a remarkably entertaining young lad, played snippets of songs over the PA, if the song was on your card you could cross it off. The idea is to get a line, or two in some cases in order to win a prize. I managed to win the bell by being cheeky, on a game where we were required to complete two lines, I was one song away from completing the task. However, the song I needed had been played, immediately before the game officially began, so I asked if I could count it as a win. The answer was a no, but I got given a prize anyway. So maybe that does count as a win. I don't know, but it was fun!
On Friday, I bought myself a souvenir, a permanent reminder of my time in Australia; a tattoo. I've wanted some more ink for a while now, had my eye on a studio up in Fortitude Valley, and even had a design idea (which is normally the thing I lack).
It's a camera design, based on my own Fuji X100 T, with an aperture graphic inside the lens. I opted for no shading, instead just keeping to a simplistic line art design which I am fond of, positioned (as you can see from the image on the left) on my inner left forearm.
Don't tell my Mum, but I already have some ideas for extra pieces to keep the camera company. I'm in no hurry to get them yet though.
The studio I went to was Valley Ink, up in Fortitude Valley. Thanks to Gorky there for bringing my design idea to life and permanently embedding it into my flesh. Although I'm no expert in these matters, I'd recommend the studio if you're ever in Brisbane and fancy getting a tattoo.
And once you've done that, nip up the road for a haircut at Crown & Co. Barbers. It's a really funky shop and they give you free beer (or coffee, or soft drink) with your trim! Please excuse the blurriness in this iPhone shot, lets blame the free beer for my unsteady hand!
On Saturday I went to a small music festival in a hotel up in The Valley. The aptly named Dead Of Winter Festival, hosts five stages playing a variety of horror themed music. This boiled down to a multitude of heavy rock genres, including punk, metal, progressive metal, death metal, and drunken pirate metal amongst others.
Before I stopped recording my podcast last year, I found an Australian band called Hobo Magic who are rather excellent, they happened to be on the bill and I thoroughly enjoyed their heavy prog set. Another band I particularly enjoyed were the crazy Brisbane based pirate metallers Lagerstein. They aren't quite as good as Scottish band Alestorm, but their punk fuelled pirate antics were a highly entertaining thing to witness.
I spent quite a lot of my time upstairs at the GBH stage, listening to a host of Australian death metal bands, although I did make the rounds enough to discover a slew of new bands to investigate. Two in particular that top my list to find out more about are Smoking Martha, and Totally Unicorn.
I ended up leaving the gig relatively early because I had an early start on Sunday so I could get up to Australia Zoo with another friend. This place was a priority as soon as I decided I'd be coming home, I had to visit before leaving Oz.
It did not disappoint.
For those unaware, Australia Zoo was owned by Steve Irwin, is now maintained by his family, and is possibly the best zoo you can ever visit! There are so many animals there, some that I'd seen before like kangaroos and koalas, and some that I hadn't like the Rhinoceros Lizard, and the Alligator Snapping Turtle.
I managed to catch the Wildlife Warriors show at around midday where some of the staff show off various animals. The audience is treated to an excellent display from trained birds, including scarlet macaws, blue and gold macaws, yellow tailed black cockatoos, and even a condor. There were snakes taken around the audience, and of course a demonstration from a salt water crocodile.
I didn't take a great deal of photos during my day at the zoo because my camera isn't optimised for wildlife photography, even captive wildlife. I did get a few shots though, here's some of them in a nice gallery thing for you. Make sure to spot the baby koala and the baby kangaroo because they were both positively adorable!
After Sunday, comes Monday! And on this Monday I exhausted myself. My Peterborough friend and I decided to visit Sky Zone, a warehouse filled with trampolines. The prospect of bouncing around for hours excited me so much that I managed to put my finger in front of my iPhone lens!
It turns out that trampolining uses a lot of muscles that I wasn't aware I had, and is a very strenuous activity. Within 15 minutes of starting to bounce around I was already sweating profusely and out of breath. But at Sky Zone, Monday comes with a promotional unlimited bouncing session so I was determined to continue.
And continue I did. By the time we stopped I had managed to perform a few successful (although not very graceful) front flips, raced around a large portion of the trampolines in one go, and bounced off the walls a lot. I also had an enormous amount of fun bouncing into the big foam pit.
I've seen promotional videos of people jumping into these huge pits filled with foam blocks, whether they're for practicing parkour, for safe stunt performer use, or part of a trampolining park they have always looked like great fun.
Having now spent hours flinging myself into one (superman style, front flip style, high jump over stacked foam block style, and wilhelm scream stunt performer style) I can assure you that they are fantastic fun. Although I should warn you that the part the videos do not show you is the getting out again bit.
If you ever end up buried in a large pit of foam blocks, with your legs higher than your head, you will quickly discover how awkward it is to manoeuvre yourself into an upright position, and then how much hard work it is to half walk, half swim through a substance that isn't entirely solid, and is very unpredictable. I found myself putting in more effort to remove myself from the pit than I did getting into the pit in the first place.
After finally succumbing to trampoline based exhaustion we bought ourselves some food, munched on that and then paid up for a game of laser tag. I haven't played laser tag in years, and even though there were only the two of us in the arena it was grand fun. Larger teams would certainly have made it more entertaining, but I enjoyed running round the excellent 3 tier arena, complete with giant chess set, playing cards, books, toy blocks, and robot, in search of my opponent and the 3 stationary targets (each worth a 1,000 point bonus).
And that was Monday sorted, I spent the remaining evening chilling out back at my accommodation, ready to move out the following day.
I would tell you about that, but it's now 7pm where I am which means I have to start thinking about getting to the airport. This blogging thing takes quite a long time what with having to upload images and such, so I shall have to split this post into two.
You can have this first part now, and I shall endeavour to piece together a second post that wraps up my final adventures whilst I am at airports. I can't guarantee that airport WiFi will allow me to succeed in this task so I might have to wait until I'm back in the UK.