Sport. Australia has many strengths, the weather is generally warm, if more variable than the picture postcard version suggests, the people are friendly and there’s a good energy to the place. But it may do sport best of all. I was here for the Ashes anyway, then happened to check the website for the Rugby league world cup to see what was going on, only to find the first semi-final would be on in Brisbane while I was there. The final is here, too, but not till next week. And England are playing in Auckland, so I couldn’t so easily see that one. Those minor what-ifs aside, I figured why not go to the semi-final as well as day 2 of the cricket.
So I did. It’s now day 3 of the test match, and we’re no clearer as to who is winning, though Australia have their noses in front. The rugby was a clear win for Australia, as expected, and with the fervent Fiji supporting sections unable to change the tide, much as occasional bursts of creativity from Fiji were yelled at. A fair few English accents in those yells, too.
Both the Gabba and the Brisbane stadium are great. Easy to get to (I think – actually I walked to the Gabba and then from there to the other), friendly police keeping traffic and people separate, friendly security checking for aerosols, alcohol and those oh-so-dangerous unsealed water bottles, and friendly stewards welcoming you in. Each stadium is modern, easy to navigate and welcoming in any case, but so much friendly help doesn’t half make a difference.
A great sporting day. My favourite memory was the Fiji team’s pre-match song, which was beautiful and has me dreaming of Pacific Islands.