Pic from here

So I have been subconsciously dreaming of Brisvegas the last few weeks, in light of my quick trip "home" next month.  As I hinted in my last post - having been away for so long,  the city has taken on a bit of a legendary character for me.  The quality of the light, the humidity of the air, the memory of bare feet on hot bitumen when you hop out of the car, the sound of cicadas chirping in the bush at dusk.  You know, all that stuff. It all has a dream-like quality, and its hard to believe I will get a taste of it soon.

I also am yearning to go for a wander around my old stomping grounds - but goodness knows there will be no time for that!  I really wish I had a day or two to go walking the crooked streets of Rosalie and West End, drive down to Pinjarra Hills and out to the green lushness of Brookfield, go and see if there are still pineapple fields in Moggill, if the Valley still has that industrial low-fi charm.

And on that note - I have  a sad, yet cathartic confession to make.  I can't say I'm proud of this - but one place I really, really wish I could visit is Indooroopilly shoppingtown.   Now, as a disclaimer: I have read the articles in anthropology that described how shopping centres are becoming the modern-day town square.  And I totally understand that these gigantic retail monsters suck up small local businesses and permanently change the physical and cultural landscape of city suburbs.  I have watched this process happen quite recently in Riga.  I know the theory on why these places are popular and like magnets for the community.... but I never thought any of that theory applied to ME.  I am usually so "above" shopping centres.  In Riga, we only pop in to our local shopping centre to occasionally do grocery shopping - but that is rare.  Usually we go to the market, or the local grocery store.   Other times we might go to the sales, or to the food court for a bite to eat, but it is not a regular thing, and they are usually short "get in-get out" trips.

But every time I imagine special places in Brisbane, "shoppo" sneaks right into that list when I'm not looking.  Its a no-brainer I guess - I spent lots of time there in my formative years:  having lunch at the Myers cafe with my mum, going to sales and buying fabulous 80s fashion, working in my first after-school job, meeting up with friends there, watching the Tina Arena talent school performing on stage there.  You know, meaningful childhood experiences.  I'm getting teary just writing about it.

And sadly, I have realized that things are just like Charlie Brown (or someone) concluded - you can never go back.  "Shoppo" is all totally different now.  The rocket in the rocket park has been gone for ages.  The Myers cafe isn't on the top floor anymore.  I'll even bet Woolies has been changed around so I can't find anything anymore, and Tina Arena has been replaced by some other Australian starlet who I've never heard of.  So I'm not sure I will include shoppo in my "Brisvegas nostalgia" tour.   You said it, Charlie Brown.  You can never really go back.

Pic from here

The thought of blogging the past few weeks has made me feel....  kinda.... "meh".  Is that a word?  Is it included in any slang dictionaries?  Well I'm hoping you get what I mean anyway.  I guess it could be described as a contemporary form of "blah", I guess.

In my thoughts and dreams I have been travelling down under - I'm flying to Oz for three weeks in November for work, visiting people in all the capitals.  Amazing. I haven't been "home" in five years, and am wondering if Australia is really there after all.  It's been so long, that it all seems like a mirage.

Kookaburras are at the forefront of my dreaming, for some reason.  Maybe because they seem like mythical creatures to Mikus, who was asking me about them - whether I had ever seen one in the wild, or only in the zoo.  So I described to him how they used to laugh in the bush next to our place, and my dad used to kill brown snakes and feed them to the kookaburras when I was little.  My tale seemed  a little mysterious and nostalgic, in a Karen Blixen "I had a farm in Africa...." kind of way.

Then my friend Anita blogged this photo:
from here

...and last night I dreamt  that I was in a suburban acreage part of Australia -  where people have big wooden houses with verandahs on large blocks with manicured lawns and networks of roads with concrete curbs all along the sides.  And I was sitting in an easy chair on this one deck, unable to move, with kookaburras swooping, swooping, swooping all around.  And I was sitting there pondering how quiet life in the 'burbs seemed to be, and how neat, and how easy and sunny it all seemed.  Luminous and warm, with swooping kookaburras. I wonder what it all means?

It is strange to be returning to Oz in this way, on a super-quick work trip, without my family.  The brevity of the visit, and the fact that the boys won't be with me, means I won't be able to enjoy the visit the way I would like to - but hey, I'm not complaining!  It will still be incredible to do face-to-face catch up with dear friends and family.  And to go for a wander in the streets of my town. And visit Perth as well - where I have never been before.

Back on this side of the globe, in the "real world", things are getting cosy.  The temp has dipped in the last week.  Its not freezing yet but moving in that direction, and its been raining and raining and raining some more.  The autumn leaves are circling down outside, it's dark when we get up in the morning,  and downstairs is the jangle of wood pellets heating the house.

We spent the weekend consciously avoiding the urge to invite friends over or meet up with people - we so rarely have days where we just hang out at home and don't do much.  We read, watched tv, did odd chores around the place, and generally hung out - apart from going out at Mikus' urging, to a Soviet-era health spa at the beach, for a swim in their pool.  We ran the gauntlet of grumpy pool attendants (see this post for a detailed description of post-Soviet pool trauma) to find ourselves in a very pleasant and super-warm, non-regimented pool, where the boys splashed around for ages.  Apart from having my towel stolen (surely, must have been a case of mistaken towel-identity, found it later in the men's change rooms), the visit was delightful.  I must be getting super thick skin living here all these years.  Or maybe its from the mineral-enriched therapeutic sea water? Or perhaps it was the purposeful social realist bathers-in-bronze out the front?


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