What is it about Queensland? Both days I've been here have been endlessly amusing.
Yesterday I took a quick day-trip to Brisbane for some museum-hopping and churros - both terrific. On the way back, a man got on to my bus which was about halfway back from the train station. 'Do you mind if I sit here?' he said. Sure, fine. Nice of you to ask. I was engrossed in my book anyway.
I don't mind chatty strangers but this one seemed very eager for conversation, which put a full stop to my reading. In the first two minutes it emerged that he knew Japanese (when a non-Asian male stranger drops knowledge of [random East Asian language] into a conversation with me it is occasionally a hallmark of yellow fever - DING, on went my warning light) and how long had I lived in Australia? When I said I was from Singapore - oh they don't speak Japanese there do they - and in town to do the marathon, we talked about running.
- Which one are you doing? The 10k? The half?
- No, the full marathon.
- How many km?
- All 42. *polite smile*
- How did you get into running? Stole a wallet?
- Ha, no I'm not that fast.
Now he could just have been chatty, but it's not really promising when someone asks you 'So if you're doing the marathon then I guess you won't be having a drink' in a tone that suggests they'd like to buy you one.
Eventually I re-engineered the conversation over to Japanese.
- Did you live in Japan?
- Oh yes, five years. Teaching English and then running a small business.
- Wow, that's amazing. Teaching English? Oh, JET? My husband did that for a while.
Finally we got off - at the same stop, which was a stop or two late for me because 1) it was dark and I couldn't see where I was, gee thanks winter and 2) frigbiscuit if I'm going to let a total stranger know where my stop is! I paused to get my bearings and he'd gone off in the opposite direction.
And then I fast-walked all the way back to my apartment.