Monday, September 3, 2012

Having a Ball in Brisbane

After a terrible move - blog to come - I was happy to get away to Brisbane for a 24 hour vacation with no children.  As I said in the previous blog, we had been invited to the Defence Charity Ball.  Proceeds benefitLegacy, an organization that provides support to families of military personnel that have been wounded or killed in action - quite a worthy cause.  This is an annual ball that is put on by a high ranking member of one of the branches of the armed forces and sponsored by several groups, including one business that Brian works with on a daily basis.  We were looking forward not only to supporting the organization, but just having a fun night dressed to the nines.

Saturday morning I dropped the boys off with our friends and headed out to the airport to catch my flight.  It felt very odd flying by myself.  I always at the very least have the kids with me.  After a little over an hour flight, we landed, albeit rockily, in Brisbane.  Brian met me at the exit and we were off to check into our hotel and have a quick bite for a late lunch on the river.

After lunch I headed out to get my hair fixed.  My hair has gotten significantly longer since we moved here, but not quite long enough for me to put up easily by myself.  I had my hairdresser recommend somewhere close to my hotel, so I only had to walk for about five minutes.  I explained what my dress and jewelry looked like to the stylist, and off she went.  When she finished, it took me a few minutes to decide if I liked it or not.  It was fairly curly and for some reason I was assuming it would be straighter.  Since there wasn't much I could do about it, I decided to just go with it and it grew on me.  I felt like it was big (it was) and possibly 80's-ish (yes, but not in a bad way), but I decided to just rock it.  Here are some pictures from the side and the back -

This view shows off my earrings as well

We had more time to kill then I thought, since my hair only took about 30 minutes.  We decided to order a cheese plate from room service since we were unsure of when dinner was going to be served, but assumed it might be later.  That ended up being an excellent choice since our main was served a bit after 9:00.  Afterwards, I started getting ready.  I haven't fixed myself up that much for awhile, and it was fun to do again.  I think the end result was pretty decent!

In the hotel room

At the convention center
 We quickly found our group and were seated.  It wasn't too much later and the night was underway.  There was an Aussie comedian emceeing, and while I don't remember his name, he did an excellent job.  There were many ways you could donate to the cause, including a silent and live auction with some serious items being auctioned off.  There was artwork from Australian artists, a guitar signed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, very cute puppies, and a signed shoe worn by Usain Bolt. 

Since those were worth more than we were able to spend, we chose to participate in the "raffle" to win a gorgeous tennis bracelet.  There was a dive tank with one of the Navy divers in it.  You could buy submarines that were numbered and toss them in the tank and at the end of the night he would put a blacked out mask on and chose one submarine.  Sadly, I do not own 30 more carats of diamonds.  Happily, a servicewoman won the bracelet and looked like she could have been knocked over with a feather.

Hey Suz, how's my form?

There was lots of entertainment as well.  We were able to walk a red carpet and have our pictures taken.  You could also chose to have your picture taken in front of a helicopter or Navy speedboat.  There were other props to play with as well.

Even dressed up, I'm still more of a tomboy

I'm still convinced I could've gotten up in heels, but I'm nothing if not obedient -
at least when a man in uniform is talking to me!

View from the Light Armored Vehicle, not Tank!

We had a great time and even stayed out past midnight!  There was music provided by the Army and Navy bands, a casino and "funny money" provided, tap dancers, and a quick change act that had been on Australia's Got Talent.  We walked back to the hotel tired, but having had lots of fun.

The next morning we were met by one of Brian's coworkers and his wife for a quick tour of Brisbane before our afternoon flight back home.  They picked us up in their convertible and we were off for a lovely time.  We headed up to Mt. Coot-tha for a lovely look at the city.  That's is where the first picture in this post is from.  It is in a lovely national park and the weather was perfect.  The sky was a bit hazy as they are having controlled burns to hopefully prevent, or at least limit, bush fires.  You could see the Brisbane River curving around and we were given a good explanation of where and why the floods happened recently.  They were devastating to the food supply because the floods wiped out the storage for the produce.  That explains why bananas were $13.99 a kilo (about $7.00 a pound) when we first arrived!  That said, they still average around $4.00 a kilo!

After some time up on Mt. Coot-tha we headed down to Queensland University and onto a Rivercat to head into the CBD.  I love being on the water and enjoyed our time on the boat.  The sun was shining and the air was warm, which helped with the cool breeze!

Bri thought the white bridge was unfinished the first time he
saw it.  I'll let you decide what it looks like!

Lots of bridges together
We hopped off and walked for a few kilometres, along the river, through the Botanical Gardens, over a bridge, and down the South Bank.  The South Bank has lovely weekend markets, a beautiful arbor, lots of good looking restaurants, and either a beach or a lagoon, depending upon who you talk to about it!

After a quick bite at a Souvlaki stand, we were off to the airport.  Our mini-vacation was drawing to a close as we boarded the plane back to Newcastle.

Once we landed, we picked up the kids from our friends house.  Incidentally, they are the parents of Nath's best mate here.  They've actually decided they are brothers!  The boys had just as much fun as we did and were worn out when we picked them up - good job Amy and Wayne!  We feel incredibly blessed to have made lovely friends here - not just Amy and Wayne, but others as well.  It was so nice to know that the kids were well looked after and having a great time - we didn't worry a bit about them.  Next it's our time to watch your children guys!

I probably should have put this first, but Brian went to the Bronco's footy game on Friday evening, and apparently had great seats.  The group was 6 rows behind Kevin Rudd- the Prime Minister previous to the current PM Julia Gilard.  He had a great time and even made a few appearances on tv!  All in all, a great weekend by any account!