Trip to Manly Beach

trip to Manly Beach (17 of 18)“I must go down to the seas again; to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” ~ John Masefield, Sea Fever

Opera House (1 of 1)I got my first glimpse of the Opera House last Sunday, as we rode the ferry to Manly Beach.  Unfortunately, there were too many heads in the way to get a good photo.  This will do for now!

trip to Manly Beach (1 of 18)My favorite “fellow-rover”. He got some great photos!

trip to Manly Beach (4 of 18)The view from the ferry was lovely.  On Sundays, you can travel all over by bus, train, and ferry for a maximum cost of $2.50 with the Opal prepaid transport card.  That’s a good deal!  Many others were traveling to Manly that day, as it was the Australian Open for surfing.

trip to Manly Beach (9 of 18)This little guy is inspecting a pile of jelly fish.  Another helpful young man was going around with his shovel, picking them up and placing them in a marked off area so people wouldn’t get stung.  Luck was definitely on my side; as I stepped from the water, I felt the slightest sting, just as I glanced ahead to see this collection.  I think one must have just barely brushed my foot.  I got away easy; I saw what happened to a small child who didn’t.

trip to Manly Beach (13 of 18)These guys were fun to watch with their soccer ball.  They bounced that ball off their heads, hips, knees, and never touched it with their hands.

trip to Manly Beach (14 of 18)

trip to Manly Beach (15 of 18)I couldn’t help but notice a relaxed attitude toward beachwear.  I saw women much older than myself, and not what I’d call fit, wearing bikinis.  It got me wondering about how body image issues are experienced here.  After asking around and paying attention to what I saw in the media, it became apparent that while the same media messages are being sent, and people do have body image issues, with the beach culture here people are simply more relaxed and uninhibited.  I will not be putting on a bikini any time soon and most likely never.

trip to Manly Beach (18 of 18)“And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.”
~ John Masefield, Sea Fever

I may or may not disappear for a few days if I lose internet.  We may or may not be moving into our new place this weekend and apparently it will take awhile to get the internet hooked up.

Anyway, you have a great weekend!

A Coffee Lover’s Paradise

coffee (4 of 10)I admit, I judge a city by the accessibility and quality of its coffee.  Based on availability alone, this place beats any other city where I’ve drank coffee.  Walk down the street and it seems that every other door is a cafe and espresso bar.

These guys are serious about their coffee.  You will not find brewed coffee; in fact, they like to make fun of the (American) diner style restaurants with their never-ending pours.  They go on and on about the “nasty stuff, sitting on the burner for hours.”

coffee (1 of 10)The coffee here is entirely based on espresso.  I’ve made it my personal mission to try every coffee drink available, and to drink coffee in as many spots as possible, without becoming overly caffeinated.

coffee (2 of 10)The problem with drinking coffee in cafes is they always have so many pastries to tempt as well!  This is a flat white, a drink that was developed right here in Australia.  It starts with espresso and adds steamed milk with very little foam.  It’s similar to a cappuccino, but smaller, with a higher proportion of coffee to milk.  This one came from Sappho Books Cafe & Wine bar.

coffee (3 of 10)This lovely, little cup is a piccolo latte from Glebe Deli Cafe.   This begins with a ristretto shot, ristretto being the first extraction of the espresso, to which is added the steamed and textured milk, and served in a tiny little glass.

coffee (5 of 10)We’ve returned again and again to Twenty8Acres for their coffee, not only because they’re next door, but because we are guaranteed a superb cup of coffee, delicious food, and fun conversation from the staff and owners.  This petite cup, with a cute little face, is a macchiato, similar to the flat white, but with less milk.

Chef Brendan Nolan talked to me a little about Sydney coffee culture.  He said that it began as early as the 1970s, and over the years more and more cafes were popping up.  Sydney coffee drinkers were keen for a European style coffee drink.

coffee (7 of 10)Latte Art, the pretty hearts, flowers, and faces drawn in the milk, also began to gain popularity, with the most passionate baristas attending specialized schools to learn the art.  At Twenty8Acres they are proud of their baristas and the coffee they serve.  They use only beans from Numero Uno, a boutique roaster in Sydney.

coffee (6 of 10)I’ve come close to trying all the coffees on their menu.  I branched out one day and had a Dirty Chai, hot chai with a shot of espresso added.  It did not disappoint!

coffee (8 of 10)Today, I decided it was time to try the technically challenging ristretto.  It takes a talented barista to get the right pour on this.  It is the first half of an espresso extraction, using the same amount of coffee, but half as much water.  The flavor is richer, nuttier, and sweeter than an espresso.

coffee (9 of 10)I seriously did not go there to get pastry.  It just showed up on my table.  Thank you, Chef Brendan:)

coffee (10 of 10)The gluten-free orange poppy seed cake is to die for.  Just look at the attention they pay to detail, the board dusted with sugar and the shadow of the fork.

I should probably stop thinking about coffee now and start thinking about what I’m making for tea.  That’s dinner:)

Eveleigh Farmers Market

Eveleigh Market (1 of 6)We discovered the Eveleigh (pronounce: Everly) Farmers Market this last weekend.  The market takes place every Saturday throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas holidays.  North South Wales growers, artisan food producers, and hungry shoppers fill the Blacksmith’s Workshop, a heritage listed building.

Eveleigh Market (2 of 6)I tried not to squeal too much at all the fresh produce,

Eveleigh Market (3 of 6)and the eggs from happy pastured hens!

Eveleigh Market (4 of 6)I’ve never heard of most of these varieties of potatoes.  We chose some Pink Fir Apple potatoes.

Eveleigh Market (5 of 6)Beautiful mushrooms.  I don’t remember what he told me the variety was.

Eveleigh Market (6 of 6)There were a couple flower stands, and another stand that sold potted herbs and some garden plants.

This market had everything you could imagine: pastured organic meats, fermented, cultured butter, cheeses, Australian olive oil, wine, bread, bread, bread and pastries, sauerkraut, kimchi, meat pies… oh my the list goes on!  I saw a couple varieties of fruit that I’d either never tried and/or never heard of.

Everything in the market is grown or produced in NSW (New South Wales).  I’m having to re-learn and probably re-define my idea of local foods.  I’ve done a little research so far; generally local food enthusiasts consider “local” to be within 160 km (almost 100 miles; I’m trying to learn, and think in, the metric system).  Tropical fruits like mangoes come from farther out than that, and are grown in the more tropical areas of NSW.

Back in the U.S., the bulk of our food came from within a 100-200 mile radius.  Still, I made exception for things like olive oil, coffee, wine, and other liquors.  Bananas and the occasional mango came from many more miles away from us than what we’re getting here.  I have to say, I’ve really never had a serious mango until now.  The difference is amazing.

I’m thinking seriously of signing up for the Local Harvest Eat Local challenge in April. If I’m going to do that, I need to decide how I’m going to challenge myself;  I need to push myself to rein in my exceptions a little.  I am looking forward to getting to know local growers, where they grow and what their methods are, as well as explore some of the other Sydney markets (there are more than just one!)

I’m still not giving up coffee, but I’ll keep to local roasters and baristas;)

100 Points

100 points (1 of 1)
Before you do anything here, you have to have satisfy the 100 point check.  This is a list of documents you must produce in order to prove you are who you say you are, it came about as a result of the 1988 Financial Transactions Reports Act in order to limit fraud.  You’ll need this verification to rent an apartment, start a phone service, obtain a driver’s license, open a bank account, and I’m sure there are many more that we just haven’t run into yet.

When we first got here, we hiked over to the shopping center to get my phone set up, forgot all about the 100 points until we sat down to sign the contract, and had to hike back home.  That hike is nothing more than a quick jaunt now, but we had jet lag that first day.  Now we remember our points.

Each item carries a point value, depending on the particular agency you are working with.  You have to have enough documents to add up to 100 points.  The passport generally carries the most points, with birth certificates, driver’s license, bank statements, employer letters, utility bills, and credit cards holding fewer points.  A driver’s license from another country often doesn’t count for anything.  Each entity has its own list of which documents they will accept and which are not worth the paper they are printed on.

We managed to pull together our combined 200 points to rent a lovely townhouse that we get to move into eight days from now.  I can’t wait to post pics!  Of course, we don’t really have anything to put in it.  Our stuff is on a boat somewhere between here and California.  I hope I get to see it again someday.

English As a Second Language

new words (7 of 8)
Prior to coming to Australia, Craig and I often joked about how we needed to get Rosetta Stone for Australian English.  There was a lot more truth to that than we realized.  He has had some moments of confusion when asked if he had written about meetings in his diary.  We’ve both had some funny interactions with people when one of us has used a word the other didn’t understand.  Even looking up places or things on the internet has proved difficult when I put the search term in.

new words (3 of 8)
These are thongs.  You slip them over your feet, not your fanny.  By the way, the fanny is on the front, and it’s considered rather crude to say.

new words (4 of 8)
This is not a restroom, bathroom, or ladies’ room; it’s the loo or toilet.  I know the photo is fuzzy; I felt embarrassed to be caught photographing the loo.

new words (1 of 8)
This is still an escalator,

new words (2 of 8)
but this is a travelator.

new words (6 of 8)
The steps flatten to an incline/decline.  When traveling (or is that travelating?) down, this can induce a feeling of falling.  I’ve been told it’s extra fun with high heels on.

new words (5 of 8)
This is a bottle shop.  They are all over the place and not run by the state.  You can buy liquor on Sundays and public holidays.

new words (8 of 8)
And these are bickies.  I like to eat bickies for breakie (breakfast), even though I should at least wait until tea.

I’m In Heaven

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (7 of 18)
I am happy and don’t remember the last time I felt like this, with so much serotonin pooling in my brain.  I’ve found my home.  Not the bricks and sticks of it, but the tree lined lanes, the sun glinting off the cerulean water, the green expanse of park, the sloping, terrace house banked streets, and the smell of the sea on the breeze.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (1 of 18)
I went out walking again today.  Each day I go a little further.  That is something I wish I’d done before I left Utah, strengthened my walking muscles.  I meant to, but it was cold, and the air wasn’t breathable, and, well, you know, excuses.

Today I went to Glebe to see if it’s where we’d like to live.  I fell in love.  The main drag through the suburb is Glebe Point Road.  It’s lined with cafes, flower shops, bakeries, bottle shops, fruit and vegetable markets.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (2 of 18)
I had to laugh at myself when I was looking at a display of potted herbs and it occurred to me that I could buy a basil plant and keep it for my very own.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (3 of 18)
It’s a quaint and quirky place.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (2 of 2)
I’m not sure I’d want to hike up these steps every day, several times a day!  But I love that tile and the tiny green plants growing in the cracks.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (16 of 18)
As the street begins to slope down toward the bay, rows of terrace houses replace the shops and restaurants.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (15 of 18)
I like to make up stories in my head about who lives in old houses; they usually involve insane women locked in the attic.  That’s an archetype that has stuck with me throughout my life.  At times I’ve felt like that woman.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (4 of 18)
At the end of Glebe Point Road is Rozelle Bay.  This is Anzac Bridge crossing the water.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (12 of 18)
Bicentennial Park borders the bay with green lawns, a walking path, and a palm tree lined lane.

Glebe Point Road and Rozelle Bay (13 of 18)
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Join me next week for some language lessons, a look into Sydney coffee culture, and who knows what else I’ll be up to!

Wandering the Streets

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (1 of 10)
The bright, sunny day here in Sydney called me out early this morning.  It’s been rainy since Monday and it’s so funny how everyone keeps apologizing for Sydney not putting on better weather for us!  I rather enjoyed the rain.  And the sun.

When you’re out walking, it’s important to remember where the cars will be coming from so you don’t get run over.  Look right, left, right before you step off that curb!

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (2 of 10)
At first, we wondered if we’d lose our bearings without the mountains or a temple spire to guide us.  We kept a map handy the first couple times out; now, though, it’s all starting to make sense.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (3 of 10)
The city is filled with gorgeous, old architecture.  Pay no attention to the lady in the window.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (5 of 10)
Beautiful flowers blooming in the gardens.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (6 of 10)
This is a place we’re becoming very familiar with!  It’s the Broadway shopping center, with four or five floors of almost everything you might want or need.  Get a haircut, a massage, and deck yourself out top to toe.  Then pick up a new phone or computer, and stop at the reject shop, which is like a dollar store.  When you finish that, sit down for an amazing coffee and a pastry before you go do your grocery shopping.  Our friends clued us in to a gem of a market in the basement.  It’s called Harris Farms; you can get fresh produce, baked goods, organic meats, cheeses, and lots of imported yummy things in jars.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (7 of 10)
I only just noticed the skull on the tooth!

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (8 of 10)
When you’re walking on the sidewalk, remember to keep left just like driving.  This also goes for escalators.

Glebe Point Road and Broadway (10 of 10)
I ventured up Glebe Point Road a bit and found Sappho Books, Cafe & Wine Bar.  This almond flour cake found me.  And more coffee.  I thought it might be too early for wine.

First Days

We’re here.  Down under.  Sydney, Australia.  I think it’s finally starting to sink in that we’re here.  Even as I pulled the door closed for the last time on that dark, empty house back in Salt Lake, I couldn’t quite grasp that we were never going back to our beloved bungalow.

The journey down here was blessedly smooth and easy.  Yes, the flight was long, fourteen hours from Los Angeles, but we’ve driven so many miles over the past month that this was a piece of cake.  Customs too, was a breeze.  We’d heard so many horror stories about how they were going to go through all of our luggage bit by bit and throw away our shoes.  No.  That doesn’t happen.  We declared my three month stock of thyroid medicine and the kefir grains (no dairy products allowed).  They had the dog sniff our bags and contico boxes, and sent us on our way.

We did our best to sleep as much as we could on the flight.  We left LA Thursday night, and arrived in Sydney on Saturday morning.  That missing Friday was weird for just a minute; mostly when I looked at my pill box and thought I’d missed a dose.

We got to the apartment that Adobe is providing us for the first month, freshened up, grabbed a map, and headed to the streets.  We had to keep moving in order to stay awake the entire day!

On Sunday, we continued to explore close by, shake off some more jet lag, and get our legs used to walking more than we’re accustomed to.  Another horror story we heard in the states was about how much everything was going to cost here.  So far, we’ve found it comparable to what we paid for things in the US.

Yesterday was Australia Day.  That’s like Fourth of July in the U.S.  We spent a wonderful day with our new friends Merrolee and Lindsay, who introduced us to the subway system and showed us around the city a bit.

The first three days here felt like we were on vacation, or I guess I should say “holiday” now.  Today, Craig is off to his first day at work, and I’m here at the apartment creating a new routine.  It’s starting to feel more real.

Here are a few pics of our new life:
First Days (2 of 3)
We’re at the Adina Apartment Hotel in Chippendale NSW.

First Days (1 of 3)
That’s my new kitchen, that as yet still has no real food in it, and the table is my new workspace.

First Days (3 of 3)
I don’t make the bed as nice as the maids do, but I feel really uncomfortable having maids come clean up after me.  The balcony that goes across from the bedroom to the living room – er, excuse me, lounge – is something I’m very comfortable with!

Sydney Australia Day (9 of 14)
Australia Day

Sydney Australia Day (10 of 14)

Sydney Australia Day (11 of 14)
Darling Harbour

These next few weeks are going to be all about finding a more permanent place to live, settling into a new rhythm, and learning how to shop, drink coffee, speak Aussie, and where to find almond flour.  Stay tuned!