Monday, December 12, 2005

A long walk in Brisbane

On Sunday afternoon, I took a long walk in Brisbane’s commercial district and surrounding areas.

My initial plan was to walk to the train station and catching a ride into the Central station, but my aunt offered to bring me to the station. Then she said, “why not I bring you into the city, it’s not very far by car.” So at about 2.30pm, I dropped off at a random location in the city centre.

As I walked around, I saw a book shop, Borders. Naturally, I got sucked into their magazines section. I spent close to an hour reading Racecar Engineering and Autocar, both imported from the UK and very costly to purchase, about $19 and $12 respectively.

With a not-very-detailed map in hand, I then headed in the general direction of the Story Bridge, a rather prominent landmark in the Brisbane cityscape. After several wrong turns (some major roads do not have pedestrian walkways) and rude phrases, I finally found the pedestrian and cyclist entry to the bridge. It was considerably inland from the riverside, since the bridge is high above the water to allow passage of river traffic.

A wide-angla shot of the aforementioned bridge [image source]

The Story Bridge is a steel truss bridge, a little like the Sydney Harbour Bridge- just a little. With my Olympus film camera, I took some (hopefully good) photos, including macro shots of a truss’ rivets with the sky and more trusses in the background. My usual style- macro subject in the foreground with a hopefully engaging background scene.

The reel of film ran out after several frames, so I had to reload. This particular camera is very, very difficult to reload- it does not accept the film tip readily. And the film, which has been rolled up for a long time, does not willing lie flat while I close the cover. I usually use a small blade to keep everything in place while I shut the cover, retracting the blade progressively.

I was unfortunate not to have a blade with me. I sat down on the bicycle pavement, in the shadows of the trusses to avoid the harsh afternoon sun. To one side, across a railing was empty space. Out of sight below me was the river, murky and muddy, with who-know-what lurking in its depths.

To the other side, separated by another measly railing, was heavy traffic. Trailer trucks thundered past, pairs of huge gleaming exhaust stacks standing erect in a phallic symbolism of manhood, turbo-diesel engines roaring and whining, 26 tyres rolling along towards their ultimate destination of serving the capitalist economy.

As the wheels thumped past expansion joints along the bridge, they made a grand, booming thud. The bridge reverberated with the booms as each axle crossed the joints, just barely noticeable, but enough to give one a fleeting sense of seasickness.

I solved the problem after I thought to use the cheapest, least important card in my wallet as a blade substitute. More film, more photos!

After descending the bridge from the other side, I walked along a meandering walkway on the bank of the meandering river (it’s almost a fractal!). A long walk later, I found out that there were no more bridges across after South Bank. I had to cross back over to get home to my aunt’s place, so I backtracked and found a reasonable bridge to cross on, walked inland to get to its entry point and walked across that. Nothing as eventful as the Story Bridge.

I checked my route on Google Earth, and it’s about 13 kilometres, without the finer scale meanderings. The Architect pointed out in no uncertain terms that it’s not even a marathon distance.