2 years.. 2 long years.. since I was last back in Brisbane. The city where I spent most of my high school/university and early work life, and the city that I have this love/hate relationship with throughout the time I spent there. I don’t have a strong feeling towards going back there (at least not permanently), but like a nagging wife, Brisbane dragged me back home this time in the guise of a company paid work trip.
Coming back to Brisbane for work travel felt a bit strange at first, given it was home to me for something like 12 years. For the first of the 2 weeks that I was there, I stayed right in the heart of the city (Meriton Suites), which meant I did get to spend some time walking around town. Glad that I still remember most of it. There’s certainly quite a few new buildings, but most are just face lifts than complete overhauls. I did get to have decent kebabs and burgers which I swear I can never find any in Singapore! Even managed to find Oasis juice bar on the mall, which must have been around for over 10 years now!
Wifey and Ethan didn’t join me for the first week, which meant that I did get to stay alone for once. Not that I did much given I was at work and by the time I got back, shops are closed and was generally too tired to do anything else apart lazing around the apartment.
My time alone didn’t last very long though, given they joined me 4 nights later. It’s Ethan’s second trip to Brisbane, but I doubt he remembered any of the last trip given he was only 6 months old then. My parents picked them up while I was still at work, and apparently they had Yatala pie on the way to the hotel from Gold Coast Airport!
As it was a Friday when they arrived, we actually spent the evening in the city having a nice dinner at Sono..
Now I was too poor to be a regular at Sono way back when I was still a student, and can only remember ever been to this restaurant once! Quite surprised it’s still here after all this time! And very surprised that you can get such good quality sushi at a decent price!
Then it was a stroll through the mall with the evening finishing up with a City Cat ride on the Brisbane River back to the hotel. It was definitely a trip down memory lane riding on the City Cat to remind me just how ‘pretty’ Brisbane can be. Just as happy, is Ethan enjoying himself with the relatively cold winter wind blasting his face all the way!
The rest of the week was actually spent back in my parent’s home where I got to make up for lost time with my parents and sisters. Typical Wong family gathering involved going out to restaurants for the ‘reunion’. The only difference I noticed these days are the choice of restaurants. Whilst it was standard to go to Chinese restaurants in Sunnybank (e.g. Shangrila or Landmark) back then, it’s now middle eastern cuisines.
Aside from that, Ethan got a nice surprise waiting for him at grandpa and grandma’s home..
And discovered his love of ‘hoodie’ this trip..
And lots of fun with his new toy from uncle and auntie
And even had ice cream (in winter) when a surprise ice cream van rocked up in front of grandpa and grandma’s house
The other big difference for this trip, is the addition of 2 x additional members to the family.. i.e. the twins Jacob and Matthew who I haven’t met yet in person prior to this trip!
Ethan officially has cousins!
On the weekends, we did go exploring Brisbane and Gold Coast a little. For Brisbane, we did a small family visit to the Botanical Gardens near Mt. Coo-tha.
And Mt. Cootha itself
For Gold Coast, we went to Australia Fair, Surfers Paradise and the rather big playground outside of Australia Fair
Of course, we had to pay Pacific Fair a visit, which have expanded significantly since I was last there. Ethan was happy just lining up cars in one of the toy store..
We even paid a visit to The Spit on the last day, where he gets to check out grandpa and grandma in action!
Before you know it, it was already time to head back to Singapore. For the flight home, Ethan and me got to spend some ‘alone’ time in economy, while mummy sits alone in business. He didn’t struggle at all through the 8 hours flight..
And even discovered a new sleeping position!
Anyway.. it was definitely a good visit this time round with an emotional end when my mum hugged us goodbye. Somehow this trip changed wifey’s perception of Brisbane a little, and actually said she wouldn’t mind coming back here in the future! It’s a “BIG” step in my shoes and perhaps may just pave the way for more visits to Queensland in the future!