Showing posts from June, 2008

Contradictory Reality

A supermarket chain offers you petrol discounts at its associated network of stations, provided you buy more liquor from them. Does it mean we get to drive more for our petrol expense budget, only after getting more alcohol?

Binge drinking is currently perceived as a serious problem amongst Aussie youth. It should not come as a surprise to anyone in the community. Liquor store outlets are as accessible as fast food retail chains, are easier to get into by car than gyms and fitness shops and are often adjuncts to family-orientated grocery supermarkets. Sporting events are liberally littered with intense alcohol-related advertising and promotions - try finding big time salad and fitness banners in sporting venues. The urge to fulfill high levels of alcohol consumption cannot be left to market pricing alone. Chilling out after exams or having life's celebrations mean the compulsory dosage of drinking - and let's not worry about having food during the same social occasion.


Wintry Windsor

An American visitor remarked that it suggested to her of a small town in Oklahoma. The wind was bitingly chilly, but people moved about in a purposeful manner all rugged up, especially in the central pedestrian mall which happened to host a craft market. The outer approaches to the suburb heralded farming country, and I was not surprised that we saw signs of trucks, tractors and other agricultural machinery - real sized or in the displayed craft - as a possible main stay of the economy. Welcome to Windsor, New South Wales.

It was not the best of weather we had to put up with that middling Sunday in June.

However, there was a crispiness in the air in Windsor that afternoon, which made the camellias, hibiscus and other blooms even more of a sight. We were fortunate to come across a couple displaying their rather healthy nursery plants for sale - and I could not resist obtaining their parsley, mint and succulent jade. Hand painted plates, wooden receptacles and household knick knacks in ot…

A Place in Our Hearts

1230am, middle of a long weekend. I was taking another route back to Wollongong after a long day in the Sydney suburbs. The Hungry Jacks joint beside the road jolted my memory - that was where Dule first arranged for me to pick him up when we first went out after work. The Cabramatta Golf Club was across diagonally at the set of lights. The surroundings to me were like flat plains, but the Cumnberland Highway was undulating and meandering. These suburbs were like in middle America, but we were far removed from that. Two Olympics ago, through Dule, I had learnt to appreciate life growing up in Sydney's sprawling residential corridors.

I thought that maybe I was in a time warp. A holiday night, and I passed by two sets of police patrols checking for breath analyser tests. Most of the drivers still on the streets were Gen Y. Things have not changed much on such evenings when Dule was still working in Sydney. I saw the miniature Sydney Harbour Bridge facade of an overhead pedestrian b…

Two Gems in the Meadow

I pass by them most days and yet have not fully realized their shine.

Just a twenty minute walk from my house north of the Wollongong cbd is the Jam Shop Cafe. It has red coloured wooden tables outside on the pavement, and more seats inside, but more importantly it is reminiscent of a Parisian scene with a touch of NSW Southern Highland countryside charm. It has an eye for detail, in the way it has delightful surprises on its shelves and walls, and in unexpected corners. The shiny red radio seems out of step with souvenirs from an enchanted past. Standing out in this cornucopia are Julia's home made and lovingly crafted preserves and jams, which are the anchor of this ambient cafe's offerings. Julia has a delightful boisterous personality and whose passion for her cooking shines through her offered menu selections. Add to all these is a view straight towards the hills of Mount Pleasant and Mount Ousley.

I was introduced to this gem of a place by Wendy - and we had a light lunc…