Suwati and I are both huge fans of The Amazing Race so it was a no-brainer that we would enter the Brizmazing Race; a matter clinched by the excuse to wear costumes. Being team Whoops WITCH Way, our costume choice was easy. Fortunately, the annual American festival of Halloween is becoming more popular here (well, amongst retailers desperate for any chance to generate extra sales) so it was easy to find some ghoulish costumes for less than $15 each.
It was already 36’C (97’F) when we arrived at Kangaroo Point to start the race. At 1pm the Lord Mayor of Brisbane sounded the hooter and costumed teams scattered to the winds. We would bump into each other when we arrived at various checkpoints around the city to complete activities. But, for the most part, we blended into the Friday afternoon city rush.
We started at a semaphore flag challenge. Suwati waved the flags around while I translated the three paragraph long message. I am glad we got it right the first time because it took us 25 minutes to get through the whole message. But by the end I was recognising some letters without needing to check the chart.
We followed the semaphore challenge by completing a Sesame Street jigsaw puzzle and getting a random guy to take photos of us imitating some statues. It was a long hot slog around to Southbank where we got some bonus points at the buoy outside the Museum.
At Southbank Beach we tried to swing a hula hoop around for 20 seconds. Clearly neither of us have any rhythm in our hips because we just couldn’t do it. Though Suwati was much better at it than me; my hoop kept dropping almost straight down from my chest to my ankles without so much as an obligatory spin. Fortunately, it was much easier to put foam letters of the alphabet in reverse order under the Wheel of Brisbane.
Across the river we ran, masks on and hats in hand to stop them blowing away. It’s amazing how people try to avoid eye contact when you look different – they see you and then look quickly away, pretending they are shocked when really they are jealous of your sense of freedom and lack of shame.
In Brisbane Square we donned tutus and took a short ballet class. After memorising steps to 17 beats we took our 20 points. At Queens Park we smashed out 20 crunches, 10 push ups, 10 burpees and 10 jumping jacks. I’m glad we’ve both been doing body weight work 5 nights a week; otherwise this challenge might have been more challenging.
Back on our brooms we ran fully costumed-up through the Queen Street Mall (Brisbane city’s main outdoor shopping mall) and into the Strike Bowling Bar where we failed to bowl a strike in the ten bowls we were allowed. Mind you, I don’t think it would have mattered if we’d had 100 bowls given that I bowled each of my 5 balls into the gutter.
A quick history lesson of Brisbane in Anzac Square saw us apparently muddle up two dates (though we copied them directly from Wikipedia) before we ran down to Eagle Street Pier to get a cross-river ferry back to Kangaroo Point.
The best challenge of the race took place in the beer garden of the Story Bridge Hotel where Suwati entered a Tardis-like red phone box to do a quick costume challenge. I had call out the names of the clothes Suwati had to put on and she had to pull them from an old trunk to put them on. It was right up our alley, given we love dress ups, and Suwati was messing around putting the clothes on in all sorts of silly ways. We had plenty of time by now with just one challenge left and an hour to spare.
The final challenge was a remote control car obstacle course. I am so glad Suwati has a tribe of kids because I was useless at this activity too but she smashed it out easily and methodically.
We finished with an hour to spare after running around the streets of Brisbane in our silly costumes. We managed to scare a few people as they lifted their heads when rounding corners. We made a few people laugh. Some were perplexed. But most pretended we weren’t there; almost as if we were an intrusion on their day.
We didn’t come close to winning the race but we did win the best dressed competition and had a brilliant time.
Total: 9km circuit