I’ve had another wonderfully relaxing day in Brisbane, luxuriating in the familiar before I once again embrace transience and and hit the backpacker trail tomorrow. It will be hard donning my heavy rucksack again and heading for mixed-dorm and shared fridge life, but also exciting to be discovering more of what Australia has to offer. I’m off to Byron Bay – home of surfers, holistic therapists, all kinds of yoga and, increasing numbers of chic and wealthy ozzie holiday-makers. I can’t wait to get on a surf board and relax into the chilled-out vibe on the famous white-sand beaches, where rainforests tumble straight onto the sand from the adjacent cliffs.
Anyway, I made the most of my last day in Brisbane by heading back to West End, which is a place where I feel very hippy-happy and at home, and then onto the city centre, where I happened upon a wonderful farmers’ market – perfect timing. I spent a good hour meandering through the stalls, snapping photos surreptitiously and making the most of all the free food samples (spot the backpacker). I then finished the day with the awesome Wednesday yoga practice that I so enjoyed last week – one of the reasons I’ve spent so long here is so that I could attend again, and it didn’t let me down. At one stage we were discussing the importance of hooking your toes around your forearm in a particularly weird half-lotus arm-balance (one-legged heron?) and I confessed that I have weirdly immobile toes, despite years of trying to mobilise them, like Uma Thurman did in Kill Bill. I am so envious of people who can lift each toe separately and spread them out wide, which most serious yogis certainly seem to be able to do; mine barely move and are all moulded together like baked beans (a weird family trait). Anyway, probably far too much information about my feet but, as a remedy, one of the teachers gifted me the silicon contraptions below, which she said sorted her toes out, so we’ll see what happens.
They are blimmin’ uncomfortable though – perhaps I’ve not had enough pedicures in my life (actually, on that, I’ve had precisely two – on the second one the girl actually ‘flayed’ me with a razor-blade and left a bleeding weal on the side of my big toe – funnily enough, I’ve never had one since!). Anyway, apologies to any foot-phobics out there – time to change the subject…
It’s been so lovely hanging out with Abi and family for ten days and I am feeling very relaxed and restored from the break (I know I’m hardly going to generate much sympathy from this, but I have discovered travelling can get draining after a while!). However, it’s definitely time I left them in peace for a while, and let Esther have her room back (thanks Esther!).
Below are some photos of the bright and colourful market that I so enjoyed exploring this afternoon:
A macaroon rainbow.
And finally, I purchased some very pretty cupcakes from the market to say thank you to my hosts – just look at them there below, mmmm (flavours being: red velvet; lime and coconut; passionfruit and banana; and chocolate)…
Post-script later on: we very diplomatically quartered each one, and enjoyed a cup-cake tasting session, with earnest furrowed brows and pseudo master-chef commentary: “Yah, this one definitely has a hint of polenta flour or ground almond in it.” / “Hmmm, I’m getting hints of pineapple.” / “Oh, not as light as I would have hoped.” etc, etc. For my part, I couldn’t get the voice of Lloyd Grossman out of my head, nasally intoning “Who lives in a cup-cake like this?”, in a weird pastiche of his best-known presenter roles (sorry: target audience – definitely showing my age there).