Tropical Brisbane

For the last couple of days, Brisbane has been living up to its reputation of the kind of tropical heat and humidity that just gets to many people in the southern states. Although it’s not really been so hot… yesterday it was forecast to reach 35° and only got to 31°. But the sun is filtered through a thin layer of cloud, and the warm, moist breeze envelopes you in the streets.

Yesterday as I took a walk at about 5pm, I looked around me at the thick, green, tropical foliage in gardens and on the branches of the poincianas lining the streets, and I thought how idyllic everything felt. It was about 27° by that time, and the breeze off the river was just a degree or two cooler, but the sultry zephyr just wraps around you like a hug.

There was barely a sound in the streets, other than the normal street traffic, the constant buzz of the cicadas and the gentle thug-thug of air conditioner compressors. The ibis had taken refuge in the uppermost branches of the figs, eucalpytus and pine trees, avoiding the baking asphalt below, and hooting querulously amongst themselves. Their dirty white wings flapped occasionally, acting as their own personal air conditioning, while their long, black legs, beaks and necks glistened in the sunlight. Even the crows were quiet, only lifting their beaks and croaking out their calls to catch the odd breeze.

But the temperature didn’t get much cooler from the time of my walk last night, and at 5am we reached our overnight low of 25.8°. So now at 9am it’s 30° and today will be another warm, wet day. We are all holding our breath for the tropical storm to tear through Brisbane late today, bringing with it the torrential rain and cooler, oceanic draught that keeps our temperature bearable, and our flora so lush and green.

Living in Australia really is a privilege. Living close to Capricornia is almost obscenely utopian. I really am exceedingly lucky.

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