I woke up to the sounds of a family having breakfast. I woke up to the sounds of two parents trying to get their kids ready for school.
I walked out into the living room and greeted everyone; then I sat down on the couch and enjoyed the show.
Then, just before the gang has to leave for school, out of nowhere, the son appears with a birthday cake! I still don’t understand where and when they managed to get this cake! I’m pretty sure I only told Pat that it was my birthday AFTER I’d arrived the previous night and we were drinking in his man cave. Dez eventually arrived from work and joined us in the man cave, and then we went back in the house and went to bed.
It literally just hit me now.
While we were in the man cave, my mom had Facetimed me to wish me a happy birthday. During that call, Pat went outside to take a call from Dez. He was gone for a while. He must’ve told her to buy a cake on her way home from work, because I had just told him about my birthday.
It caught me completely by surprise. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to dig into the cake, because the kids had to go to school, and I wasn’t about to enjoy the cake without sharing it with everybody. So we put the cake on hold until the afternoon.
Once the kids were dropped off, Dez, Pat, their youngest, and I went out to enjoy a cloudy day in Brisbane. (Trevor slept in. I think he had too much to drink in the man cave.)
It looked like it was going to rain hard, but the clouds were holding. At least for now.
We arrived in the Southland Parklands area and started walking around. It looked like it must be a really fun area in the summertime when the weather is nice. There are little cafes and restaurants to enjoy, a man-made beach, and a nice outdoor area for concerts. Not to mention the downtown skyline across the Brisbane River.
Unbeknownst to me, we were walking in the direction of the huge ferris wheel. But first we stopped by the Nepal Peace Pagoda, which was introduced during the World Expo in 1988. It is only one of three Nepal Pace Pagodas outside of Nepal. The other two are in Munich and Osaka.
As the ferris wheel came into view, Dez mentioned how absolutely terrfied she is of heights and that the last (and only) time she went on the ferris wheel, she had a bit of a panic attack.
Then the next thing I know, we’re standing in line, and they’re buying three tickets for the darn thing!
We got on, and Dez was doing great, but the little one seemed just a bit nervous. Mom and dad did a great job of keeping her distracted though.
Then we posed for some shots in front of the Brisbane sign. (Ironically, I haven’t even taken a picture with the Toronto sign yet.)
I had so much fun hanging out with this wonderful loving family.
At one point, she grabbed my hand in her tiny little hand, and I could hear my heart go “awwww.” She was such a cutie.
Before calling it a day, we went out for some traditional New Zealand food for lunch, since Dez and Pat are Kiwis themselves.
Hangi is a traditional Maori way of cooking food. It involves digging a pit in the ground, placing some hot rocks in the pit to cook the food, and then covering the pit. The food is left to cook for several hours.
While the food at this restaurant tasted similar to Hangi food from their motherland, Pat and Dez said it doesn’t taste quite the same on account of the fact that Australian food regulations don’t allow restaurants to bury their food in the ground. Thus, it’s missing that “earthy” taste. It was a hearty meal of potatoes, rice, meats, and veggies, and it was served in a very generous portion. There was also a delicious pudding of some sort.
Once we got back to the house, I crashed hard and took a nap.
I napped so long that I woke up late. I had to leave quickly to meet up with Holly and Doive for dinner. We didn’t even have time to cut the yummy cake. I still feel bad about that–not only because they went out of their way to buy a cake for me, but because I love cake!
We agreed to meet at the nearby Sports Club, which has absolutely nothing to do with sports, aside from the fact that you can bet on horses. It’s a restaurant/casino. The name really confused me.
Holly is a family friend. She’s the daughter of a hilarious gentlemen whom I hold in high regard. When Gerard informed me that Holly had recently moved to Brisbane, I said I’d absolutely love to meet up. The Reynolds are good people.
What I didn’t know was that I was also going to meet Doive’s lovely mother and Holly and Doive’s two little boys, Gawain and Jack Jack. The boys were awesome because they could were a hoot and full of energy in that typical little boy way, but they could also be proper gentlemen. On our way out, Jack Jack escorted his grandmother out to the car. He held his arm out for her and everything. And Gawain was keen to educate me on all of his dinosaur and Transformer toys at home. Classy gents, they are.
Grandma is a classy dame herself, and funny as hell. I loved the whole gang.
After dinner, we drove back to their place, and watched the first two episodes of season two of Stranger Things, wine in hand, before calling it a night.
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how this story ends! The next day, Trevor and I flew to Toronto, my brother picked me up at the airport, and I got to go home.