Meeting Swagman


George Dunn, of Swagman fame, was in Brisbane for a couple of days and we’d made arrangements to watch the Fiji v. USA rugby world cup match. Unfortunately, those plans fell through, but he said the match was a good one.

Instead, I jumped on the train and met up with him, his brother Joe and Aussie girl Nikki at the Embassy Hotel in the city on Thursday night.

As I arrived I was handed a free drink coupon at the door and found George and co about to start a game of pool. Upon finding out about the coupon, he went to the front door, turned on the US charm and returned with several more coupons.

Making our way through the free beers, George asked about BootsnAll and its future plans and Nikki gave me the scoop on all sorts of new visa options for those wishing to spend extended amounts of time in the US. She also gave me a contact at IEP, which was very cool.

These guys were camping at a caravan park in an outer suburb of Brisbane and they weren’t too pleased to see the skies open and the rain lash down heavily. “We pitched out tent at the bottom of a hill too,” lamented George.

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In the hope that the rain would ease before they returned, we wandered into the Queen St Mall to another bar. I’d suggested O’Malley’s since I was there last week and thought it was pretty cool. It was a lot more crowded this time, be we managed to find a spot to sit tucked away in the back in our own little booth.

I don’t know at what point we decided that it would be a good idea to talk about politics, or what kicked it off, but we spent about 2 hours solving the world’s problems. Nikki was quite outspoken about the role of the US and the current state of world affairs; Joe was a vocal patriot; and George was the unlucky mediator and the calm voice of reason. After that, things got a little hazy…

The rain had stopped by the time we emerged. Everyone was hungry and so we all did a very bad thing and went to Hungry Jack’s. Shameful I know, but I defend it because I wanted to make our guests feel at home. Hungry Jack’s in Australia is the same as Burger King everywhere else in the world. But far from adopting some local flavour, the HJ’s (in Brisbane at least) have decided to go with US highway memorabilia and US classics on the jukebox. Still, we didn’t much care as we tore into the food.

It was great to be able to meet up with George, Joe and Nikki. Their next stop is the Sunshine Coast where they’ll jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane for fun. Joe will head home to New York shortly after and George will be staying on until about December. Follow his travelogue to keep up with where he’s at.

It had become a nice night so I decided to walk home from the city. Along the way I snapped a couple of pics of the XXXX brewery in Milton. Hopefully Mr. XXXX will forgive that I was drinking VB that night.