Showing posts from May, 2007

Breakfast at Berry's

Juice: Getting there was as refreshing as a sharp dose of spunky tomato juice on a lazy Sunday morning. It's only a couple of weeks here before the official arrival of so-called winter, but at least there were some brown and yellowing dried leaves waiting to take off some trees along the drive south of Wollongong. The surrounding landscape still looked like the Swiss countryside - in summer.

Cuppacinno: We chose a relatively warm table under shade and with small potted plants surrounding us. At 9am, the crowd was just right at this cafe - a mix of locals and tourers, families and couples. The coffee was one of the best I have taken, Italian but serevd by Anglos, with a thoughtful design of the froth on top. Lots of reading materials to browse while we waited, with reasonably quick service with a smile from the staff of Hedgehogs, a gem along the main road of Queen Street. Many items to choose to eat, but the big breakfast is always a winner.

The Bacon: There are competing outlets, a…

How to drive at 500 km a week, and not for work

Stay outside a central business district, because the shopping, cafes and distractions will ensure that you won't even have a chance to get out of there.

Cancel all pay tv, internet downloading and home cooking, as these are fierce time competitors.

Convince yourself you have to get that nursery plant or check out this deli - and they are all at least an hour's drive away.

Chalk up the mileage on Monday and Tuesday nights - when most feel they need to stay home to watch the best tv shows, catch up on emails and rest from weekend driving.

Attend that evening talk after work - and ensure it's held as faraway as possible.

Get the dishwasher going and the laundry spinning - and when you come home after all that driving, the house work's done. Positive association between driving and getting the reward of auto housework!

Plan an appointment in between the required bouts of long-distance driving. Catch up with a friend, eat much loved food in between to break the journey and…

The Immigrant Shop

It was what long time residents would call an “immigrant shop”. For most of this shop's customers, it is a slice of home, a reassuring place of what they knew from childhood and where they can be fully themselves. It was also a sort of McDonalds for them, where you know you can get what you want. This happened to be a Hong Kong-styled eatery I was in that day.

The owners had to encourage business to compete with similar outlets surrounding them. The staff tried to greet every person who stepped inside, past the plastic sheaves vertically hanging down at the entrance, placed perhaps to discourage insects. It was obvious this was originally a butchery business now expanding to sell food.

So on a typical day at what would be lunchtime, there are steaming bowls of egg noodles in soup graced with roast chicken or duck. The so-called fellow countrymen and women knew what to order – hot pots with chicken and mushrooms – without having to refer to numbers. The mainstream society customers…

Wonwin, or where shells lie

A suburban outing, of getting the marketing and groceries done on a lazy weekend afternoon, turned out to be special in Shellharbour on the South Coast Coast of New South Wales.

I aimed to buy prawns and salmon, followed by some fruits like mandarins and plums, and then come home fast. I planned to spend the least time as posible on clearing what was seen as shopping chore and was more looking forward to clear my garage of stored stuff and get the evening cooking done. Then I saw the extraordinary cuts of chicken fillets, the bright orangy salmon streaks and the extra friendly air of shop assistants who need not be so cheerful on this Sunday afternoon.

Wonwin, the Aboriginal name for Shellharbour, has a seafront and an inland shopping centre nestled amongst the houses built on hilly slopes overlooking the ocean. The coastal views offer sea kelp on its rocky outcrops and sandy beaches, apart from the abundance of shells that give the place its English name. The inland shopping precinct…