Monday, 1 September 2008

Monday 1 September: Spring has sprung

Today is officially the first day of Spring in Australia and just to prove the point, it was the first day that I’ve been able to walk to work without a jacket and the first morning that we’ve not put our little gas heater on straight away when we got up. My body is a bit confused by all this as it’s gearing up for its annual retreat into winter hibernation mode, but I’m sure I’ll adapt!

Highlights of the past week…

End of luggage saga
Finally getting our bags from the UK! The three bits of luggage that we last saw at Edinburgh airport after being presented with an astronomical bill for excess baggage, and shunted back in a taxi to my mum’s for shipping by freight, have finally made it into our possession again after much paperwork, hassle and delay. It’s good to have a choice of clothes again and even better to have my ipod back!

A new abode?
Finding an apartment that we want to rent and, fingers crossed, being top of the list for getting to be its tenants. K did all the hard work on this and spent a few days last week trekking round various places. I’ve not seen the place he’s settled on but it sounds great and has views over the harbour including a glimpse of the Opera House! It’s far more common to use estate agents here and there are very few places for rent through the classified ads, so we’ve had to learn about the whole application process, which basically seems to involve a ‘points mean prizes’ approach where we get more points the more we earn, and the more proof of ID we can provide. It’s a bit strange but there you have it. We should find out later this week if we’ve got the place or not.

More fabulous food
Two stand-out meals from the last week. First, the Nepalese Kitchen, a 25-cover place in Surry Hills, which we went to on Sat eve after having been to the gym (how smug and virtuous!). I was ravenous so insisted on going for an early dinner at 6pm, which was just as well as we hadn’t booked and by the time we left, the place was full. Amazing food. Mild curries, packed with fresh spices and herbs, with flavours that woke up all my tastebuds and stayed with me for a lovely aftertaste. We shared a bhunta (aubergine, tomato and potato) and a house special chicken & pumpkin curry, with really nicely textured dal (not too thick, not too runny), a couple of ‘achars’ which are chutneys and relishes designed to bring out the flavours, a couple of rotis and some rice. All washed down with a lime soda. Fabulous.

The second meal to mention was vegan yum cha at Bhodi, in Hyde Park. We met an old friend of K’s and his family for lunch there before going to watch the football (see below). It was their choice and a great one it was. We were a bit early and they were running late, and as I’d just been for a long run (smug and virtuous again!), we started without them. We didn’t really know what we were doing though, as we’d never been for ‘yum cha’ before. But we watched and learned and basically the way it works is that you sit down and wait for a constant procession of staff to bring all kinds of little nibbly things to your table. We kept saying yes to things without knowing what they were and had soon stuffed ourselves silly!

“Who do we support? We support Sydney!! Who do we support…” and so on
Along with about 11,000 other people who are in the vast minority here who actually understand and appreciate the value of the beautiful game (most of them expats or offspring of expats), we went to see Sydney FC in a mighty tussle with Perth Glory. It was a seven goal thriller, well not really, but it was quite amusing and about a third of the price of an equivalent game in the UK. The most impressive part of the whole thing was the diehard section of the crowd behind the goal, who kept up their singing and drumming and chanting for the whole 90 minutes and seem to have developed their own particular habits including synchronised scarf-twirling and synchronised scarf-throwing-in-the-air-and-catching-again. Not sure how long they’d last on the terraces back home, but it was good entertainment! Bizarrely though, there were almost no away fans so the vitriol of the chants was a bit unfocused and this seems to have led to a splinter in the home support, between “The Cove” and the “Sydney Soccer Crew”, who amalgamated for most of the match but then split into their separate factions at the beginning and the end. Strange.

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