Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Brisbane

This morning was great. I surfed for some 3 hours and the conditions were just about perfect. On the Rainbow beach here, waves were glass-like and the Sun on the sky made everything even better. My third day into surfing here and I think I am getting a lot better -- it may have just been the conditions, but today felt great. The conditions gave me a lot of rights (the waves coming in from the right) that I caught all the way in. Awesome, awesome.

In the afternoon, I took a train to Brisbane. I had bought the Brisbane Sunday Mail, and I was overjoyed to find that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is playing here. And in Japanese version with English subtitles too! It wasn't something I could pass up on. I had written a long time back about the movie, and I knew there was no way I could catch it in India. It's a shame that there is no mainstream audience for international cinema, even in metropolis, in India. There are all kinds of small cliquish clubs that watch old cinema classics, but that's about it.

The latest from Miyazaki was beautiful as ever. Miyazaki's world is so enchanting. This time around, however, the movie itself wasn't as impressive as his earlier works. The story did not seem very well put together, and the characters seemed to be almost rip-offs from Spirited Away. Nevertheless, it was worth the afternoon.

The rest of the time, I roamed around in Brisbane, mostly around South Bank. Whatever little I saw of the city, I liked. I've always believed that a river, and to a slightly lesser extent an ocean, gives a city more character. Cities that have neither aren't worth living. Brisbane has both! In just the small area I spent time in was littered with several restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries. Over the next week I am thinking of checking out several more parts of Brisbane.

Some thing I learned about this area: signs of "XXXX" mark bars or beer shops. I am not sure if this is widespread across Australia, I believe it is something specific to the Queensland area. Apparently a joke goes that the sign says this because Australians can't spell beer. Also, the shops that sell liquor are called, very aptly, "bottle shops."