Somewhere Along the Way Again

At home: I am watching the clouds roll in outside the window.  Cooking on the stove whilst trying to progress on a book.  The television is on, but being ignored by me whilst my on-going attention is on to a more mobile device. At times I wonder why there is a need for me to be in another place, when I can be doing all these things in the comfort and familiarity of home.  The price of petroleum has gradually but surely gone up in the past three months, and captive vehicle users like me suffer in silence. The human condition may have a wander lust, but also treasures knowing where things are, letting our own space nurture our inner selves and having the satisfaction that we can plant where ever we want (like I did, with a magnolia).  And nothing compares with the beam from a full moon shining into a corner of our own special space.
In Campsie, greater Sydney: The lady said she is a Chinese from Samoa. We were looking at the steamed pork dumplings (bao) displayed at a counter in a small shop in Campsie's pedestrian mall, south-west of Sydney CBD.  She asked me if these dumplings had sweet fillings - she was looking for something savoury, as she had them on the islands.  I reckoned it depended on the sauce they used. She asked further if these were like what they served at yumcha in Sydney restaurants. I give an affirmation. The shop we were in was run by China Chinese and the staff spoke Mandarin. I said to my Samoan acquaintance it may be better to source those dumplings she had in mind from a Hong Kong dominated suburb. I am reminded once more about the diversity and complexity of what it means to be Chinese or to be referred to as Chinese.  In a world of easier trans-migration, better availability of various foods and multi-cultural societies, what is homogeneous, what is traditional and what is perceived is not that easy to perceive, digest and realise any more.

Near Campbelltown, greater Sydney: The day has increasingly warmed up, till the sun was as radiant as in summer, even if that season had not offered many such blue sky days as this. I smelt like the lemon grass flavoured mixture I was regularly slapping on the grilling chicken satay skewers sitting over the hot beads.  There was an unsaid system going amongst the three of us - Anthony would get the thawed skewered meats going, I would transfer them to commence the crisping process and Jana would decide on the finality and readiness of the cooked meat. Each of us had to focus on what we wanted to achieve and became oblivious to what was going on around us - the passing crowds, the chatter and the music, the exchange of monies and the aromas emanating from various cuisines. Our throats longed for drinks which we knew can quench our very thirsts.  We moved the direction of the exposed wooden skewers used, we separated and we evaluated the cooking meats and we aimed for a memorable bite of the satay in the mouths of our customers.   Each of us knew we were somewhat contributing to an experience.  We may have put in place a personal expectation on what chicken satay should taste like, but we looked forward to a restful evening, even if we really may not know what was the perception of such satay in the minds of our customers.


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