Well, we’ve landed! The dreaded 14-hour flight turned out to not be too bad. By sheer coincidence, we were lucky enough to visit John’s cousin Graham on Thursday before we left the States; he was flying through Atlanta with a layover just long enough for dinner and a chat. He gave us the advice to just sleep the whole way from LAX to Brisbane. No screens, just a glass of wine or two at dinner, and we were unconscious off and on for 14 hours. After travelling from Sunday at 4:00pm Atlanta time, we arrived in Brisbane at 8:00am Tuesday, their time. The challenge then was to stay awake through all of Tuesday to get onto a normal sleep schedule as soon as possible.
With a little help from our good friend coffee, we headed to the highest point in the Brisbane city limits, Mt. Coot-tha. The view was perfect, and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. Apparently, winter in Brisbane is more like a perfect spring day back in Georgia. We spent some time on the lookout on Mt. Coot-tha, and then headed down to the Botanical Gardens on the mountain.
The botanical garden is a free, city-operated garden, much like the state botanical gardens in Athens. The garden is filled with gum trees, citrus groves, and loads of unfamiliar plants and birds. Cockatoos squawk noisily overhead; bush turkeys and ibis pecked at the ground, and ducks paddled around the pond. We visited the fern room, which exhibited Australian tree ferns (growing outside, even!), and the conservatory dome with water lilies floating serenely in the central pond. We didn’t get to see the whole garden; we’ll have to go back to see their North American section!
We went on a driving tour of the city that afternoon, and John fought valiantly against the heavy eyelids, only losing in the final rounds. We managed to stay awake for most of the day, sliding into a nice, deep sleep around 7:00pm (eh, maybe 6:30) after dinner with Graham and his family.