26 January 2010

Australia Day 2010

26 January 1788 - the day Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Britain, sailed into Sydney Cove.  The raising of the Union Jack on this day signified the occupation of the Eastern half of the continent by the British.  This date is not the date the continent was discovered by Captain James Cook - that was 22 August 1770.  Incidentally, Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of New South Wales.

It's only since 1984 that all states have been observing 26 January as a public holiday and celebrating Australia Day.  It's become a tradition of backyard barbies - with plenty of prawns, backyard cricket games, fireworks, Australian of the Year awards and a day when wearing the Australian flag as a superhero cape while slugging down a couple of cold ones is actually cool.  :-)  For the rest of the year, that kind of overt patriotism would label you a bogan.... 

So we donned our Aussie gear - of which  we seem to have accumulated a fair amount! :-)  And off we headed for South Bank where that festivities for the day seemed to be happening.

Just arrived - watching the Raising of the Flag ceremony, big gun salute & F1-11 flyover

 One of the cannons blowing smoke rings over the river

  Decked out!

The local rock radio station, Triple M, had been running a competition on their morning show (The Cage)  for a few weeks in the build-up to Australia Day - The Cage's Prawn Star.  A prawn peeling competition to take place live on air on Australia Day at South Bank.  So we headed on over for the fun!

They even got a sound bite off Scott which they play every morning on the radio.

The Prawn Stars at the starting line! (see video at the end of the blog for more)

Jambezi were playing at the South Bank Piazza - we'd actually seen them before at the Fete de la Musique.  Great vibe and a good place to escape the sun (but not the heat!) for a while.

Wrapped in my Aussie flag sarong - it was great for keeping the sun off the shoulders!

Streets Beach at South Bank was absolutely packed!  Hrm.....  luke warm pool water with so many people....  didn't really appeal to us.  

  In the afternoon we headed over to the lawns in front of the Cultural Centre for the best viewing spot for the fireworks at 7.30pm (click on the pic for a larger view)

I absolutely love this building - it's the State Law Building.  Very Gotham City  - just needs some gargoyles. Funny, I've just found out that it's known locally as "Gotham Tower" or the "Batman Building".

Chilling out on the lawns

The Treasury Casino across the river which is lit up at night

A panoramic shot taken from where we  were sitting (click on the pic for a larger view)


The Brisbane Wheel at sunset

01 January 2010

NYE '10 @ Cloudland

Last year we celebrated our NYE in spectacular style on the James Craig on Sydney Harbour.  Brisbane's NYE is basically just a repeat of Riverfire - fireworks, music, etc at South Bank.  We figured that if there was nothing that grabbed our imagination & we couldn't be in Sydney, we'd rather just spend a quiet night at home, just the 2 of us - maybe our neighbor, Dearna, joining us for a bbq.  I know that sounds rather boring, but we'd had an absolutely fabulous Xmas with family & friends and didn't mind having a quiet one.  So that was the plan.....

I was browsing the 'net on the evening of the 30th, looking up a local band who we'd seen at the Multicultural Festival.  One site led to another, and I came across this advert....

“When the first dark had fallen around them
And the leaves were weary of praise
In the clear silence Beauty found them
And showed them all her ways.
At midnight in the heavenly garden
Where the angels played with the birds,
Beauty, before their hearts could harden,
Had taught them heavenly words.
And when day wearied and night grew stronger,
and they slept as they must,
Then Eve waited a little longer,
And blossomed from their dust…”

New Years Eve 2010 will see Cloudland transformed into a Utopian ‘Garden of Eden’- showcasing a symphony for the senses that will shine through to the next decade.
Our gorgeous garden nymphs, striking centaurs and a Utopian Adam & Eve will be at your beck and call – serving a decadent package of cocktails, canapes, midi meals and the heady delight of French Champagne at the stroke of Midnight!
Performance artists will rove Cloudland’s gardens all evening – sometimes in awe inspiring aerial displays - showering you with laughs, gasps and jaw dropping, spine tingling moments.
Musical pleasures are an exciting mixture of sultry salsa sounds from live bands and funky and electric DJ’s all night long.
New Years Eve 2010 is the time for a new year, new beginnings and a refreshing new style of party…
Please join us for other-worldly delights in a celebration that embraces all things wonderfully natural and pure with a temptingly wicked edge!

 Now THAT had my imagination doing pirouettes on the high wire!  On the spur of the moment, I booked our tickets!  The following pics are ones I took of the internet 'cos my pics just didn't do the place justice.

The front of the building - we actually had seen this place before when we went to the Valley Market.

I love all the organic shapes...

All the plants are living - no fake plastic dust gatherers!

The whole roof is retractable and is quite amazing when it's open



The China Bar downstairs is made from 14 tons of creamy marble from China.
Upstairs this Glass Ball Bar is made of 19,000 hand strung glass balls.  Absolutely spectacular with the light shining through.

Dress code was smart.  A bit of a scramble at such a late date, but fun getting dressed up for a change.

The front again - that centre glass piece has water constantly flowing down like a waterfall - beautiful!


We'd been at the party for a few minutes when these two wended their way through the crowd.  The scary guy on stilts came up to me and with a great flourish, handed me a beautiful shiny red apple.  I took it somewhat shyly, thanked him and put it down on the table in front of me because everyone was watching.  He wouldn't leave though, he kept gesturing and miming for me to take a bite.  Eve and the evil serpent in Eden crossed my mind....  That was when I decided to jump in with both feet & get into the swing of the party.  Life's too short to be self conscious!  I took a great big bite of the shiny red apple and he made a great show of applauding and getting everyone else to applaud me.  :-)   
A great icebreaker if there ever was one!  

There was always something happening.  All night. 


What skill.....  what muscles....  mmmmm......

We heard drumming from upstairs......

With salsa carnival dancers...

Scott upstairs - enjoying one of many glasses of champagne

Ah!  I love parties where they just keep topping up those glasses!

Looking towards the door from the China Bar

Scott ordering a cocktail at the China Bar

There was a mermaid!


Scott liked the mermaid

Scott really liked the mermaid

She was gorgeous!

Champagne anyone?

A hooluhoopin' bunny wabbit

The mermaid dancing in a sea of bubbles


The nymphs, the bunny wabbit & the bed of nails...

The scary guy on stilts, the nymphs, Adam, the bunny wabbit & the bed of nails...








Very scary! 


The scary guy giving out more apples

The revellers

Adam & Eve...



....  did a whole aerial show which was really hard to capture!  

After all the champagne, I headed to the ladies.....  I felt like Alice in Wonderland!!!  If you look carefully, you can see the hand dryers about halfway down - the mirror wall is just after that.  The person at the end was standing behind me!  Figure that one out!

Inside the cubicles were these beautiful wall tiles with a curved mosaic ceiling.  Absolutely stunning!

Scott on the dance floor with the scary guy & his temptress

His makeup was absolutely incredible!  The detail was astounding - look at his fingers.  His tongue had also been black - this must've been quite late because it wasn't as dark as it had been.

She was gorgeous - reminded me of Tori Amos with that red hair



A lovely couple who had been at a dinner in the private dining room upstairs.  They cam down for a bit of dancing and we had a great time with them.