Yesterday, I went to Brisbane for a work thing – it wasn’t all work – I managed to snap this rather fine bit of 1890’s architecture in Edward Street just down from QUT in the old core of the city – but it was interesting.
As it was a work thing I didn’t have time to goof off and take a gander at the quasi romanesque building that so fascinated me last time I was in Brisbane and the QUT art museum was closed – it was a Monday – but I saw enough of the old core to see that there’s quite a number of interesting vernacular buildings, including the old State House in the middle of the QUT campus – again, like the old parliament building in Sri Lanka – one that’s most definitely out of the nineteenth century parliaments – colonies for the use of design book.
Being November the city was heading into it’s hot sticky tropical phase, and as part of the run up to the G20 summit, the centre seemed to be crawling with cops, all checking that the drain covers had been properly secured and not tampered with.
On the other hand the city was quite fun – where else would you get someone with a bit of entrepreneurship selling bananas and cold bottles of water at a dollar apiece out of a streetside stall outside of the botanic gardens and nicely undercutting all the franchises and takeways clustered round QUT.
Journeying in from the airport I shared a cab with a colleague but on the way back I rode the train, which was cleaner and faster than Sydney’s equivalent and I was quietly surprised at just how good the on board wifi service was.
I’d brought the recently resurrected Ookygoo with me to write up my notes and I was also quite impressed at just how fast it was and how well it performed. The only gripe I had was that when I got to the airport, Qantas’s free wifi service for customers was truly borked, and instead of letting me login, the authentication web server just continually looped – on my personal Android mobile and my work iPhone, as well as on my laptop – so it wasn’t that it had been traumatised by the appearance of iceweasel.
The last few time I’ve flown, it’s been with Virgin, and I’ve been impressed by both the quality of their catering and their provision of useful things, like standup desks, in the departure lounges to let you get a bit of work done and recharge your laptop battery. Qantas are obviously trying to lift their game, and with things like the (borked) free wifi and there can be no argument they’re on track. Certainly the inflight catering was better – dinner on the way back was actually edible, even if the offering for morning tea on the flight up was some fairly disgusting looking white chocolate confection.
As I don’t usually eat morning tea, that was no hardship, but it did remind me of the time many years ago when I was on a flight to Melbourne with J and we were offered a ‘light refreshment’ which turned out to be tepid instant coffee and something made of coconut with flecks of something brown in it.
J took one look at it and said ‘I wouldn’t eat that if I were you’, and ever since I’ve tended to view airline nibbles with suspicion. I quess that shows that the old maxim of ‘do a good job and people forget, stuff up and they remember‘ still holds …