Hot Dog Rescue (Toronto)

http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/209803–2nd-pet-found-in-sweltering-car-at-mall

On a more hard-hitting topic than my usual travelblog, today’s entry reports that Brisbanebabe’s brother (DSBN) helped to rescue a stranded chihuahua from a hot vehicle. See the link above for the news story video, showing a team working to achieve successful retrieval of the hot dog.

Here’s to my brother, DSBN, and all of our wonderful emergency services workers, doing their utmost to save us and to save us from ourselves.

So, until next time, do not leave your dog in the hot summer car.

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The Honesty Box (New Zealand)

Brisbanebabe was lucky enough to take a recent trip to New Zealand’s beautiful Northland.  Visiting with family, eating farm fresh, free range produce, fishing and swimming in the ocean there made for an unsurpassed experience.

It is a rural and beach paradise.

Pigs can be purchased at the market.

A handsome yet mature rooster was for sale on the supermarket bulletin board. Brisbanebabe was tempted to buy him.

Aside from its aesthetic beauty, Northland has beautiful inhabitants.  Honesty is still a central value.  Fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are sold at road side stands.  No one supervises these stands, unless they happen to be nearby dropping off tasty new fruits and vegetables for sale.  Pukekas roam in the nearby grasses.

An  honesty box sits at each roadside stand.  It is usually a small tin with a closing lid, but no lock or latch.  Buyers are asked to leave the appropriate amount of change for the produce they take, and they do.  The system is relaxed and refreshing.  Brisbanebabe wishes the honesty box could be in more widespread use in the world.

There are some downsides to the system, mainly around supply and demand.  More than once, Brisbanebabe and pals discovered signs like this one, advertising that there would be no free range eggs until the chickens resolved their job action.

So, until next time, remember that patience is a virtue, especially in the search for free range eggs.

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Kiss a Koala

Bbabe and G recently ventured to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on the outskirts of Brisbane. It has been a while since we posted an update, so here are a few of our favourite photographs.

Founded in 1927, Lone Pine is rated among the top 100 zoos in the world, according to AOL. It is home to over 130 koalas and an assortment of other amazing animals.

While at Lone Pine, we learned that koalas have two opposable digits each hand. They have sharp claws, so hugging/kissing koalas is discouraged without strict supervision. Though social, they spend over 18 hours sleeping each day.

You can see this fellow nodding off.

Trying not to play favourites, Bbabe and G spent part of the afternoon with the kangaroos.

Koalas are not keen on having large  snakes placed on the railing of their enclosure. The snake, a beautiful constrictor named Kalamata, showed no interest in the terrified koalas above.

So, until next time,

if you see danger,

stay up in your eucalyptus tree. 🙂

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Gold Coast Day

After buying a suitable surfmobile, G and Brisbanebabe made the one-hour drive to the Gold Coast over the weekend.

Surfers Paradise is a tourist-driven, high-rise tower laden stretch of beach.   The scene reminded me of Miami, or the photographs I have seen of Abu Dhabi.  Fun but modern – not a quiet, relaxing spot.

The Gold Coast will host the upcoming Quiksilver/Roxy Pro surf contest that will reputedly feature Kelly Slater, the 12 time World Champion.  These beaches are hot in February.  Regular beachgoers bring tents or beach umbrellas for ready-made shade.

We found a nice quiet stretch of beach and enjoyed a 30 degree day of sunshine and surf.  The ocean is salty, turbulent and warm.  After photographing G for less than an hour Brisbanebabe is delighted to  to jump in the waves.

The life guarding in Australia is extensive and very competent.  A low-flying helicopter patrols the beach to put out shark alerts if needed.  Life guards will also warn if blue bottles are nearby, hoping to save swimmers from their nasty sting.  We returned to Brisbane later that day, exhausted and unstung.

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Departures and Arrivals

Six cities, five airlines, twenty hours of flight time and a few taxi rides later, brisbanebabe has arrived in Brisbane, Australia. 

A year ago, Brisbane was under water, having been devastated by floods.  Things have dried out.  The day we arrive is the hottest day in Brisbane in the last four years, at 37.5 Celsius.

Brisbanebabe is greeted by a lizard whose tail is longer than its body, tropical birds, and lots of riverside walkers, runners and cyclists.

While unpacking, brisbanebabe wonders if she needed three toques, after all, and is thankful that she brought more than one pair of sandals.

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Flat Hunting

Today is Australia Day.  People are using their holiday to barbeque, wave the flag, and race cockroaches.  Brisbanebabe has taken some time to reflect on our recent hunt for a new (temporary) home.

Flat hunting anywhere can be frustrating.  Our temporary Brisbane accommodation is convenient and luxurious;  a painful  contrast with some city flats available for rent.

In Vancouver, rentals generally include major appliances.  In Brisbane, fridges and washing machines are not standard.  Major appliances are called “white goods”.  (Initially, we thought “white goods” meant bed linens, causing some confusion.)  Dryers are usually included, to keep people from hanging their laundry on balconies in an unsightly way.

A one-bedroom we inspect sports only two stove-top elements, and a fridge (remarkably) sputtering on its last legs.  Some studios are advertised as including a “kitchenette” complete with hot plate; no stove at all.

Apartments are viewed by “inspection.”  Inspections are scheduled by agents.  The first flat advertises that brisbanebabe will “be the envy” of  friends and family, if she moves in.  The inspection reveals an unused pool filled with dirt and leaves, carpets beyond the saving power of any steam cleaner  and a noisy, portly neighbour, clad in only a tank top, blasting his stereo from the next balcony.  No need to apply to “be the envy” after all.

Another one-bedroom is advertised as “SCREAMING PERFECTION.” Certainly, if by “screaming perfection” the agent means no parking spot and the tiniest of floorplans.

Prices are high for any clean, reasonable rental.  Share accommodation is a good option to save costs.  We briefly consider living with Avi, who has a downtown flat for share.  He describes himself, online, as having a busy professional and “dynamic social” life.  We decide that “dynamic social life” is  code for staying up past 10 p.m., something brisbanebabe does not do regularly.  An incompatible match.

After days of searching, on foot, in near 30 degree heat, brisbanebabe accepts a pricey but nice, air-conditioned one-bedroom, with complete stove top and balcony, that requires white goods.

During the search, brisbanebabe’s relatives and friends have come to her aid, offering support, suggestions, temporary accomodation (thanks P!) and Aussie contacts.  [A real estate agent even went out of her way to drive us home from an inspection of a nice Queenslander.]  It is great to feel loved, in the midst of moving chaos.   Thank you everybody!

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