bondi kites

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breakfast!

my eggs are never intentional

if i had it my way, all my eggs would be soft boiled

fluffy, yolky, inchoate beauties

this egg-pancake had no instruction

it became whatever it wanted to become

it was here, at the kitchen counter, that my plan for the day changed from Chocolate Festival at The Rocks, to Festival of the Wind at Bondi Beach

C, in a burst of goodwill, asked me what my plans today were

i think, at this point in time, i still hadn’t enacted the self-protective policy of being deliberately vague

so i told her about the Chocolate Festival, and she promptly informed me of the massive kite-flying festival that she was going to check out, being someone who used to enjoy/make kites in her past life in Hong Kong

i’m glad i decided to forgo chocolate for the beach

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above: EVERYBODY AND THEIR MUM was going to Bondi Beach

(this syntax, “everyone and their mum” is something i picked from J — J, C, and myself shared an apartment on ‘Rose Street’ in Istanbul; the first night i arrived, when the taxi driver and myself asked people on the perpendicular street where exactly Rose Street was, we were met with good-meaning shrugs)

i waited nearly 50min before being able to board a packed bus

i was in a good spirit, with my data on* and my New Yorker in hand

even a lady, who lied about being in the queue so that she could go home without waiting behind all these damn beachgoers, couldn’t compromise the cheer

when the beach was in sight, the busload of passengers sighed a collective “yay”

 

*i’m using a prepaid where $30 lasts about 200 days, or until you use it up; at time of writing, i have spent $13.50 on my phone bill, which comes up to $4.50 a month;

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this is my second time at Bondi, the first time being when b was here

the atmosphere, packed with sunshine and children, was so uplifted, i was surprised to see kites fall from the sky

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i took so many film photos, leaping and running (not exaggerating; i was running) from spot to spot, like a little scout

there were many families and many dogs

there were many tourists too, but i didn’t know who they were

(there are many tourists because there are lots of hostels in the area, ostensibly for surfer-tourists or young travelers from landlocked countries who want to live by the beach during their backpacking trip)

(i don’t know the tourists from the non-tourists because: the families speaking Asian languages to each other—Japanese, Chinese—might have properties and roots in Hurstville, Chatswood, Artarmon, etc.; the Caucasian boardwalkers, who might look like European Australians, could be tourists from Macedonia)

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muogamarra (nature reserve) and memory (lane)

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the sun rises early enough, that by the time there are a bunch of early-birds, roosting at Central Station, it doesn’t feel like dawn, and instead, “just” a bright-eyed morning

i’m comparing this to Singapore, where the sun rises at the same time, whether it’s 30 June or 2 Jan

JUST KIDDING

in Februaries, the sun rises at 7.17am

in Octobers, the sun rises at 6.46am

i never knew

(in Sydney, in September, the sun rises earlier and earlier, rising at 5.32am until finally, Daylight Savings brings sunrise to be 6.32am)

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above: EGGS AND BACON

this is the Visitor’s Centre of Muogamarra Nature Reserve

i’ve written a post about this on a baby blog, which will be ready to run/jump/play with more than a handful of us, in….another month or two

i think i’ve shown four or six other people this baby blog, which currently has about fifteen posts on it

each post is under 250 words!

no photos!

no bullshit!

JUST KIDDING

i know the caps are ANNOYING

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Hike Out is one of the MeetUp.com groups that i’ve “joined” (joining is as easy as clicking; when you actually attend for events, you’ved joined; but joining is a process, not a state — it is affirmed in its enactment..)

this is the first time i’m hiking out with these guys

the guys i went outdoor climbing with were the Outdoor Rock Climbing hangdogs

MeetUp.com has this feature where you can choose what you and your members call yourselves

the Indoor Rock Climbing members are called “Geckos”

Hike Out’s members are called “friendly & inclusive people”

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a week (or two!?) of food

this is a week of food because besides having fun with food, i don’t have much time to have fun with the other things that Sydney is dripping in

whenever i’m at any of the public libraries, the postcard rack is ALWAYS advertising a new film festival (i’ve mentioned this a few times; i’m still very impressed and proud of this city’s denizens)

if there isn’t something to do indoors, at night, there’s ALWAYS something to do outdoors, whether you’re into beach sand in your speedos or bike polo

(i do neither)

anyway, i don’t normally have no-time, i only have no-time because i’m sprinting uphill to catch up on three weeks’ worth of homework (see previous posts for: funeral and fun; ok i hate to alliterate like this; i know many people say that their grandfather is the coolest badass, but…that dude, whose carefree, content, Let’s Go Eat Satay Beehoon attitude i grew up with, was a rare gem of a man)

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grilled tuna steaks; i’m using the blue skillet on the left — the pot, pan-with-red-stuff, and white bucket were the remnants of C’s cooking earlier

(again, because i don’t know what you know: C is a mother, whose daughter i live with (but C comes along, free-of-charge, with the daughter, R*); C is taking adult learner classes to get accreditation in Australia, with the hopes of migrating here from Hong Kong; C works hard and works late into the night, using a solitary IKEA floorlamp to illuminate her 2am textbook-reading, saving the living room lamps from burning utility bills)

(*they share a double bed in their en-suite bedroom; this arrangement makes me wonder whether it ever gets awkward or unbearable, given that they occasionally raise their voices to each other (or rather, C screams and R replies), for matters such as: C is late for work, as a kitchen hand in a nearby mediocre (she says) cafe, but C insists on folding clothes/drying cutlery herself, which causes one or both of them consternation)

anyway, the power discrepancy in the house is such that: C can leave her dirty dishes in the sink and “it’s fine”, but if i were to leave so much as a spoon, you can bet a good dollar that she’d come knocking on my door, asking me out of my room, to tell me my mistake and that, “nevermind!, i’ll clean for you this time”

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this semester is the first time in my life that i am keeping a dedicated record of my expenses

the excel categories are: STUFF, LONG-LASTING FOOD, FRESH FOOD, FUN FOOD

so, it’s a new game, with myself, to see how cheaply i can eat per diem

i never used to do this in Boston because expenses never felt crazy, and i never had to write down my expenses to confirm that they were reasonable and good value

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biking to an outlet mall 7km away to get some hiking shoes

my selfies are primarily to show b what i’m doing

and/or to show that i’m wearing the same shit every day

anyway, i pick up a pair of non-waterproof shoes, a pair of hiking pants, and an embroidery hoop + thread + a big rectangle of fabric

all but the last few items were on sale

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Sydney is hopping expensive

i assumed that a city/country with a larger population and a larger market, would see cheaper goods

but there are many things that are cheaper in Singapore/Boston than in Sydney

if you were to ask me ‘would you recommend/promote Australia/Sydney as a destination for school?’, it wouldn’t be easy to say Yes or No

there are many international students though, and many fellow Singaporeans

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see you in a few months

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you there

yes, you

come closer…

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i think this lady is pretty cinematic

i wasn’t trying to take a photo of her (was i? don’t think so; her turn looks natural, which suggests that she hadn’t been standing like that—weight uncertainly spread between left and right, body half-committed to its half-turn—for more than a second), but i think she’d look great in motion picture

anyway, the first three lines that open this post were my first three lines for a promo video a very long time ago…in which i wore a Anderson Secondary School class shirt with a tasmanian devil on the back and vertical rows of names on the front (if it were up to the video producers, i would not have been wearing that T-shirt, but we were all well aware of my non-existent/negative-balance fashion sensibility)

i loved that shirt

like i love this shirt i’m currently wearing, one of two tie-dyes made in M’s bathtub at her place — i almost exclusively wear this rainbow shirt to fly: it’s 100% cotton! (the pre-requisite of DIY tie-dyes)

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we’re at Carriageworks, once the Eveleigh Rail Yards, today a cavernous space hosting its Saturday farmers market, as well as permanent galleries and food

this is my first time here, and because it is 1.7km, it clearly will not be my last time here

(Carriageworks is ‘along the way’ from my home to school, not that this enticing emptiness has anything for me on non-Saturday days)

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Carriageworks was breakfast, and Kings Cross Market was lunch

Kings Cross is where Chester White is, the best meal we had in Sydney previously, and the best meal in Sydney i’ve had so far

we also check out Kings Cross Library where some inadvertent Hide & Seek was played out

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there is no carpet on this (dust-trap of a) carpeted floor, but we make our fireless campfire and eat our beansprout-less homemade pad thai, and watch Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, (or was it Krisha, then?), since we’ve finished Stranger Things

b is leaving tomorrow, a sunny sunday

and we are taking the bus to the airport

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watsons bay & wtf dinner

i don’t even have photos of the wtf dinner

it was that wtf

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one day, i overshot the number of flights of stairs, and i emerged on the rooftop of our apartment block

(we have a lift serving basement 1, 2, 3, and floors 1, 2 — unless it’s for reasons of safety, i.e. you’re afraid someone will attack you in this soundproof stairwell, taking the lift seems like a waste of electricity and a wasted opportunity to get some stair-scaling done)

b and i went to the rooftop to experience a windy rooftop in the middle of the city

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this is part one of our dinner, forty-eight oysters

Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, in Sydney CBD, is having its Oyster Hour during its Oyster Festival, where oysters go for two-a-dollar

if you passionately love these cold-blooded molluscs, get them elsewhere, like at the Sydney Fish Market, where Pacific oysters or Sydney rock oysters sell for around $15-18/doz.

b and i managed to sit down and share our two platters only because a tourist couple had waved us over — we had been holding the heavy, icy plates in the middle of a squeezy seating section

it was only after a while that i recalled the disastrous after-effects of eating one too many oysters with J’s fellow naval academy boys in Boston

spoiler-alert: there will be projectile vomiting

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for part two of our dinner, we fill up on even more animal protein

we’re back at ‘The Sparrow’s Mill’, a very cafe-sounding name for a Korean restaurant with chickens, whole and halved

if i didn’t have quality company whilst in Sydney, there’s no way i’d be able to eat out so much

the next day begins and ends with smashing food

and a forest fox in between

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we walked over to the Sydney Opera House to kill time, since the next ferry to Watsons Bay was fifty minutes away

we see Chinese tourists doing headstands, more tourists of unknown provenance, and the same buskers from our previous days at Circular Quay

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we cook

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i got this $10 sweater at Paddy’s Market in Chinatown, Sydney, because i had underpacked when i arrived in Sydney (the winds…)

it’s actually a thin sweater

it’s actually not a sweater

that’s why i have on my arm, my waterproof windproof This Means Business jacket!

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on a whim, when we were in thai town, i got tamarind paste, fish sauce, rice noodles for making pad thai

we’ve been using C’s massive skillet, a heavy beauty whose handle gets hot enough to bring out the baking gloves

the recipe from thaitable.com advised to undersoak the rice noodles; it also used a wok, which would be much better than a lousy pan from Kmart, or this excellent skillet

if i remember correctly, our second attempt was the best

oh and this below is our dessert

R gave us a big bar of toblerone that a friend had given her, and it’s DELICIOUS (so that’s the thin pyramid in a shallow pool of chia seed pudding)

the golden kiwi here was probably cheaper than the $7/kg price it has right now (in October 2016!)

i love (my) food enough to spend 200 words on it

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at night, after my 6-9pm class is over, we eat spaghetti at a popular store for $16-18

with prices like these, and food quality like that, spending hours each week cooking is more than justified

i don’t have class on tuesdays (or thursdays. or fridays) and we’re heading out out out tomorrow

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entry to the Museum of Contemporary Arts is free

it’s no MoMA, but it is nice

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famous German artist works with famous Australian actor to create thirteen monologue-manifestos in ‘Manifesto

each monologue is inspired by artist/social groups (Surrealists, Suprematists, Futurists, etc), delivered via a completely different persona by the same person

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we head out to the Royal Botanic Garden, which has a path traced by signboards that account for the ‘white invaders’ of Aboriginal Australia

this honest admission of harsh history isn’t something that one sees much in USA, except in (in my experience) the Pacific Northwest

Vancouver, BC was also relatively excellent

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tomorrow, a Wednesday, is a Dendy Student Wednesday

all movies all day are $7 a ticket (compared to the usual Adult price of $20)

and we’re going to watch two

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b meets me with the lunch he cooked: stir-fry veggies and chicken

we save $10 at the very least, and possibly up to $25 total, depending on where we would have otherwise eaten lunch on King Street

i had class earlier in the day (10am-12nn), and if it weren’t for the fact that one of my classes, Social Marketing, is a half-semester intensive course, we wouldn’t have been able to watch both ‘Sausage Party’ and ‘Kubo And The Two Strings’

it’s great fun to watch film (albeit animated, which i just don’t really love but at least still like better than drama/rom-com) with a film student, especially one as intelligent and astute as b (b you should’ve stopped reading)

he doesn’t mention my tearful reaction to Kubo

i don’t mention how the familial deaths in the movie remind me of my first funeral in the immediate family

but we both know it without having to give it words

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fish & dogs & surfers

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i used to joke that i wanted Ya Kun to cater to my wedding

the real joke was that i even had ideas for my wedding

i don’t know what the specific ingredients are that contribute to my not-very-excited view of my own wedding, but they surely must include:

  1. the belief that marriage is a (staid) institution that we think we choose…but really don’t have full autonomy over (it’s not something that takes into account your individual preferences, or the preferences generated between you and your partner(s))
  2. weddings, like diamonds and cars, are a bad use of cash
  3. the belief that a happy marriage does not need a wedding at all, much less an expensive bank-busting wedding
  4. oh and that marriage was proposed and promulgated as a way to keep inheritances (of property, etc.) within “the family”

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there are lots of dogs and dog owners in Sydney (especially in Newtown, where i live, which is also known for its profuse hoards of vegans and vegan gelato stores!)

there are also lots of greyhounds, whose painful history i recently learned about, from an octogenarian called Joan

however, ‘history’ means that it is a thing of the past from which to draw lessons from, and unfortunately, greyhound racing and its associated cruelties is still a thing

also unfortunately, i am not an active animal activist, and this isn’t going to be a section about how we should immediately condemn greyhound racers and anything that supports this institution

actually, if i were an active animal activist, it would be GREAT if i could ‘humanize’ my enemy, and then go on to calmly share why their actions and beliefs are still misguided

i am typing with a left hand that is a little strained from bouldering

sadness + grief!

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ok back to the past:

THIS WEEKEND is a glorious one, yes another glorious one, and not only because of the generous weather (thank you, odd august “winter”)

we’re hitting up Glebe Markets, one of many Saturday markets that host many visitors in Sydney

markets are not only about food—if this were Singapore, there’d be more than ten food stalls

markets also showcase local makers and producers, of anything from resin-made jewellery to water-color paints, from gluten-free cupcakes to vintage typewriters

a 3m x 3m table for the day will cost you $104, so you better sell enough soy candles/crochet cosies to post a profit

also, to be a stallholder, all you have to do is book online

the process is very similar to booking a movie ticket, with a full-color “seat” selection page

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and after Glebe Markets, we’re headed for the Sydney Fish Market, which is a daily thing, conveniently northwards of the Glebe Markets

so yeah, that’s the ‘fish’ in the title

the & dogs & surfers comes tomorrow, on Sunday

possibly the prettiest photos of Sydney so far

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if you’re at the Fish Market, don’t get anything from the main building, which targets tourists

“behind”, encircling the carpark/parking lot (tomato tomahto), are several buildings owned by different companies, like Musumeci and Claudio’s, that sell “to locals”

get your doz. oysters here

and your live urchins / scallops / yellowfin tuna!

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