Thursday, 25 October 2012

Noodles at Night and the Case of the Missing Dumplings

Follow the light
I've been in Sydney for a week but it feels so much longer.  Maybe because the jet lag has almost dissipated or maybe because I have crammed so much stuff into my first week.  My first trip into central Sydney was for the sole purpose of buying running shoes and seeking out more good sushi. Town is a 15 minute walk away from Jen's apartment and I was guided by the tower of Westfield shopping mall like the star of Nazereth leading the Shepherd's to the baby Jee.  People are always surprised to learn that I love shopping malls but I'm not ashamed to admit it.  The first time I saw one was when I was living in Tokyo.  It was a tourist attraction to me then; all the weird and wonderful Japanese items all under one roof.  No one quite does shopping malls like the Japanese, but the Aussie's Westfield comes pretty close. On the way I pass some incredibly large birds. Later Jo informs me that these are called 'Brain Suckers' and I'll come across them as regularly as pigeon or crow.  He also told me it is 'swooping season' in Australia.  This is when the crows in the trees swoop down upon unsuspecting pedestrians and peck their heads.  The motorcyclists even wear special helmets to prevent being swooped on.  I find it hard not to stop and stare at this brain sucker bird in wonder and am perplexed as to why nobody else is doing the same.
There is actually wildlife here on the streets, like the kind you see on the TV!

I stop at a small coffee shop on the way (but won't name and shame it in case I get sued for libel) and have the worst coffee and chocolate croissant I think I have ever had in my life.  My croissant has been microwaved within an inch of its life making the pastry stale and the gooey chocolate inside deadly hot.  The coffee does little to make up for this and so I slump off into the much yearned for world of shopping mall heaven.  Jen told me that Aussies are real coffee snobs so I'm not looking forward to telling her about this culinary shitstorm.

Now, I've always like shopping. Partly, I imagine, because it's inherent in the fairer sex but also because it's always more interesting abroad.  You get different shops, different food and here you get summer shopping because "'tis the season to be jolly".  But after spending the best part of 2 hours deliberating over two pairs of trainers, jet lag got the better of me and I staggered out of the mall and into the burning sun. Ouchy!
Noodle Market
The next day I'm up at 6.30am and wide awake.  I spend the day mooching around my local area. Head left out of the apartment and you pass some lovely cafes and reach Woolloomooloo Bay. Beautiful.  Head right and turn the corner and you hit the red light district.  This street is full of strip clubs and bars that stay open till 10am. I pass an old beggar man holding out his hat for coins.  A minute later he is rolling all over the street, shouting at his hat and kicking it like it was his pet dog that had just shat on the new carpet.  These are the scenes I will come to know and love.

Winged Phallus
That night Jen and I meet up on Oxford street, yes Oxford street.  It is not at all like Oxford or Oxford street though. Why? Because it is better than both of those things. It has lots of cool bars and art galleries, one of which we meet at to listen to an installation by the musician Sarah Blasko.  Sadly she didn't turn up to play, which is what we were hoping for, but there was another gallery next door with a winged phallus in the window (pictured) so it wasn't a complete wasted journey.  We then head towards the centre to 'Hyde Park' (seriously guys, stop copying us) where there is a big Noodle Market in full swing.  It's more of a mini festival really with live music and a noodle theme.  I wait for some dumplings which seem to take forever to arrive and we sit on the grass slurping noodles and listening to a Jack Johnson look-a-like play Michal Jackson covers. What a great place this is.

I can't possibly fit my whole week into this blog so stay tuned for more ramblings soon and answers to such questions as: Will I ever shift this jetlag? Will I get a decent cup of coffee? And will I be swooped upon by a brain sucker?

Music to shop to:
Karine Polwart: His Earthly Spell
Agent Ribbons: On Time Travel and Romance

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