Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sydney Observations

On the way to work today I was waiting for the train and happened to look in the window of the station bookstore.  Of course the selection I could see was about trains.  The first book that caught my eye was "Forest Trains of Hungary."  Now I am no lover of train books, but I am guessing that "Forest Trains of Hungary" was not a best-seller in Hungary, let alone in a country almost literally on the other side of the world.  The rest of the books were just as esoteric, including my favorite in the narrow gauge train section, "4 Gauges in the  Czech Republic." I'm not sure which was more surprising, that there were 4 different gauges of narrow gauge trains in a country with 10 million people, or that someone was able to write an entire book on the subject, or that someone decided that writing an entire book on the subject was a good idea. Why someone in Sydney buys that book is an entirely different but equally puzzling question.

The tram broke down about halfway to my school. "No brakes," I heard the driver say.  So I jumped out and into Paddy's Market, the most wonderful collection of cheap stores imaginable.  Around every corner there was another surprise, a hat store, luggage, iPhone covers, helicopters, wooden toys, iPhone covers, purses, souvenirs, clocks, knives, army surplus, iPhone covers, factory outlet, vegetables, toys, lighters, wall hangings, massage, boba tea,  iPhone covers, etc.  I had to return at lunch to explore some more.  I found an OK kebab place, and tried the boba tea, which turned out to be fantastic.  Except they do not call it boba here, it is "pearls."

I got home and Katka and Misa were not home yet. Misa met her new friend Christian after school in Manly and they went to the beach.  So I packed for our trip to Queensland tomorrow and  when I was done I walked around the neighborhood looking for something good for supper.  I discovered salt and vinegar chicken strips, which of course were incredible.  I skipped the chicken salt on my fries, as I found regular ketchup at the grocery store and wanted to see if it actually was ketchup, and not the tomato sauce they give you everywhere here instead of ketchup.  It was 100% Heinz, and tastes like it was just off the shelf of Albertson's back home.

Work today was good again.  I go in to my office, close the door, write for three hours, go to lunch, go back to my office, close the door, write for four hours, and go home.  No phone calls, no email, no one stopping by to bother me, and amazing coffee, for free, from a $7,000 coffee machine from Switzerland.

Off tomorrow for Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, hope to have something to report besides rain.