27 March 2013

Hiram's Visit

I grew up as a missionary kid in Ghana, West Africa. One of the other families we worked with over there was the Rings, from the US. Among their many children were Ethan (my age) and Hiram (my brother's age), and we've been friends pretty much ever since. When I got married in Seattle back in June 2007, Ethan flew most of the way across the country to be a groomsman, and Hiram also flew across the US to attend as a guest.

I hadn't seen Hiram (other than keeping up with his worldwide travels, and music, online) since our wedding day. He's currently spending a couple months in Canberra doing research as part of his PhD studies in Singapore, so arranged to spend a weekend up north visiting the Davies families. He's now the second Ring to stay in our house, as Ethan was here on a work visit not long after we moved in to this place.

Friday, 22 March

He's here!

Friday afternoon, Mum left school early (she only had a half day), and we drove out to the airport. Mum and Kara did some DFO shopping while I waited at the airport for Hiram's flight. With a quick detour to Evan's grave to leave some Easter flowers, we were soon home. Thus the opportunity for the above photo, which went straight up on Facebook to let everyone know he'd arrived safe and sound.

While giving Hiram the tour of the house, including the "library", I found out he likes Sci-Fi movies, so we found one of my favourites that he hadn't seen - "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" - and watched it.

We'd been invited out for dinner that night, and our hosts were more than happy to make room for one more seat at the table.  I already had a ticket to Saturday's Mutemath concert, and asked Hiram if he was interested. He was, and had money for a ticket as well, so we bought that online once we got home.

Saturday, 23 March

Hiram and I got picked up by my brother Alastair and his daughter Erina, for a trip into the city. First up on the agenda was a cruise up and down the river on the CityCat ferry.

Boarding the CityCat.
Waving at other boats.
Brisbane City.
Cruise ship at the terminal.
Enjoying the boat ride!
We took the ferry eastward from South Bank all the way out to the end, and then disembarked once it got back to Riverside. From there we walked up the Queen Street Mall to find something for lunch. Hiram had asked about "typical" Australian food. We ended up having fish & chips.

Panoramic view: Alastair taking a picture of Hiram on Hiram's iPhone.

Our printer is out of ink, so we ducked into the city Officeworks store, to print out the tickets for our concert that night. The City Council libraries charge 20 cents for B&W printing. Officeworks charges 10.

The Easter Bunny making an appearance in Officeworks.
By then it was after 2 pm, so Alastair and Erina returned home by the bus, leaving Hiram and myself to explore the city a little more.

Posing by sculpture outside the Casino.
We crossed the bridge and spent a little over an hour in the Queensland Museum, and then went next door to the Art Gallery until it closed at 5. We didn't get time to see any of the Gallery Of Modern Art, other than the elephant sculpture outside it.

The sign says "don't climb". It doesn't say "don't lean".
As it was 5 pm, that seemed an appropriate time to have a beer. We stopped into the nearby Fox Hotel, where many varieties of James Squire are on tap, and had the "Nine Tales" amber ale, which met with Hiram's approval.

Dinner was at a small American place on Boundary Street called PJ's Steaks, which specialises in Philly cheesesteaks. Pennsylvania is the part of America where Hiram lives when he's over there, so this seemed a good choice for our evening meal. This place had been recommended to me by a former colleague of mine (also my sister-in-law's cousin), who rated cheesesteak his #1 food during his visit to the United States.

Original Cheesesteak, Sweet Potato Fries, and Brooklyn Brown Ale.

For not being in Philly, it's pretty close!
I am a convert. Next time I have any reason to be in West End, I am definitely having another!

After our American food and American beer, we stopped in at a very old-school kind of pub, the Boundary Hotel. Here we watched the opening of the Broncos/Roosters rugby league game, while enjoying another James Squire, the "One Fifty Lashes" pale ale.

The next stop was across the road at the Archive, where we joined several of my IKEA coworkers in farewell drinks for a couple of our team. We hung out there, enjoying a 4 Pines Stout this time, until it was time to go over to the Hi-Fi in time for the support band.

Local band The Cairos. I bought their CD.
Mutemath made a great entrance, coming into the venue from the back, and making their way through the crowd to the stage. Hiram got some video of it.

Paul Meany stage-dived out onto an inflatable mattress strung with lights, then crowd-surfed on it.

Video of the finale:

Mutemath played for two whole hours, which was great.

Thanks, bus station.
The only thing was we had to wait half an hour at the Cultural Centre for a night bus back to Springwood, followed by a half-hour walk home. We were back just before 2 am, but it was worth it.

Sunday, 24 March

Mum picked us up on Sunday morning for church. After the service, we went to the nearby Jolly Swagman for lunch, so that Hiram could have an Aussie meat pie. Steak and bacon is a great combination. After that we went to the supermarket to buy some kangaroo steaks for the night's barbecue, and to visit the local bottle shop for some more Australian beers.

From there it was to Mum and Dad's house, to just chill out in the lounge for a while until later that afternoon, once it wasn't so hot. Then Hiram and I walked to the nearby Daisy Hill Koala Centre, to see some wildlife.

Sleeping koala.
The koala stirred later to have a scratch.
Bushland in suburbia!

We didn't see any wild koalas up trees, or any wallabies. Back at Mum and Dad's, we opened up the pool room and had a couple games of pool. We also sampled the first of our selected Aussie beers: Sail & Anchor's amber ale, "Boa's Bind". A storm that had been coming up from the south hit, with lots of wind and rain.

Rain on the driveway.
Alastair challenging Hiram to a game of pool.
About to taste kangaroo for the first time.
Kangaroo steak and beef sausages were on the menu, washed down with Endeavour's 2011 Reserve Amber Ale - a nice amber ale, with a porter-like chocolate flavour.

Three Missionary Kids.
Sunday's Sci-Fi movie of choice was "Serenity". Shiny.

Monday, 25 March

Hiram's flight back to Canberra wasn't till after 7 pm, so the plan for Monday was to sleep in and hang out at home. We watched another of my favourite Sci-Fi movies, "Sunshine", followed by a bit of Aussie culture with "The Castle". These were accompanied by James Squire's "Jack Of Spades" porter, and "Chancer" golden ale.

Then after a bit more Whedon wackiness with "Dr Horrible's Singalong Blog", it was time for the airport run.

This has been a bit of a long post, but...
A) the weekend was packed
B) we're heading out to Easterfest, so wanted to get this posted!

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