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The tall spires of Gallipoli Mosque rise majestically above Auburn, one of the most culturally diverse sections of Greater Sydney. We went there to fetch [livejournal.com profile] miladycarol's mother-in-law. Before we left the district, though, we walked a little ways to the shopping center. On the way, we passed a fun little cafe called Sweets on Queen. It was not a candy store or bakery, but a hookah cafe! In the evening it is generally packed with both men and women smoking diverse tobaccos from hookah pipes and drinking tea and coffees.

Milady explained that the Big W here generally had lower prices than other stores in town due to constant pressure by the asian women to make prices close to what they would pay from street vendors in Cabramatta. The shoppers were worth watching themselves in various stages of covering from headscarves to full burkas, chattering in a dozen different languages.

We then made our own way the Cabramatta, aka Little Vietnam. Never having been to Vietnam, I likened the place to a city in Thailand, with numerous small shops and stalls filled to the brim with bargains from shoes to laundry detergent. We proceeded down a little alley to a vegetarian restaurant and had a fantastic vietnamese meal.

The next day found us in Newtown. This district is a bit Haight Ashbury, a bit Robson Street and a lot Australian. I felt very much at home amid the hippie clothing shops, the scent stores and the natural foods stores. I scored a copy of the German Serenity poster at a poster shop!! There were numerous vegetarian cafes to choose from. We found a Thai place for lunch that served a tofu version of larb along with green curry with tofu and massaman curry with gluten chicken. A visit to the Froot Store rewarded me with a rainbow kitty sticker for my Prius. I swilled beer at a real Pub before dining on veggie green papaya salad (almost as good as mine) at a vietnamese place, and finishing it all up with black sesame vegan ice cream from the shop next door.

*sigh* Life is good.
lurkitty: (Default)
I learned yesterday that the chinese word for basil means "would not trade it for gold". I hereby declare that Tuesday was a Basil Day. We went to The Koala Park. I highly recommend it. As wildlife facilities go, it is a nice one. I'm not in favor of keeping animals all locked up. But many of these animals were once pets and have no business in the wild. Some are injured and rescued and the rest are captive bred. The handlers are knowledgeable and let the animals wander off when they don't want to be handled any more. Better that people come to a place like this than try to approach genuine wild critters.

[livejournal.com profile] miladycarol tried to further improve the life of the kangaroos by teaching them a game.

"This means rock"

Read more... )
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Looking out the window of my room in Sydney, I am greeted by sights that are not so foreign as I had imagined. First, I should explain that I am not really in Sydney proper, but in West Ryde. Only an Australian would recognize the distinction, however, in much the same respect as only an Oregonian would really recognize Hillsboro as separate from Portland. It is an important distinction, however, when navigating homeward on the train.

As large cities go, Sydney strikes me as similar in many respects to Vancouver, BC, save for the lack of mountains. Lush greenery abounds, and the city sprawls like a fat man on a barstool. What is most striking is the constant presence of wildlife. From tiny skinks to flocks of birds, all you have to do is choose a direction and you will see a living creature when out of doors. Even in the city proper, I was hard pressed to find a time when I could not see an animal.

Sydney is similar to Vancouver in other respects as well. Since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule at the turn of the century, Asians have dominated the population, becoming the largest ethnic group. The city is extremely ethnically diverse. Then there is the harbour. Both great cities possess lovely harbours. Gazing out over the sparkling water in the cool autumn air and watching the sailboats and ferries go by, it could have been the same city.

I realize I was quite wrong in my preconceived notion of Australia as a hot, dry, desert-like environment. The weather is cool and the grey clouds above presage rain.

That, in itself, says home.
lurkitty: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] miladycarol and I had a discussion the other day. It concerned the difference between the mentality of living in scarcity vs. living in abundance. To live in scarcity means to adopt an attitude that you must obtain your needs/desires before the next person gets them, because there is always a limited amount of "x" and if the next person gets it, you will not. It is a fiercely competitive way to live. If the stakes are high enough, any means are justified to obtain your needs/desires. You may be motivated by the best of goals, eg. feeding your family, and nothing will get between you and that meal.

Life in abundance is a different approach. It means having a basic faith that "x" is not scarce, and the you need to move yourself closer to the source of "x" if your needs are not met. If anyone uses "x", it doesn't matter to you, because there will always be more "x". Life in abundance is not competitive, and is less rushed because it is not necessary to always act upon the opportunity to obtain a commodity. Sharing occurs more frequently.

I came into Australia in abundance mode. I have no desire to wear myself or anyone else out using every last minute seeing all the sights at once, because there is time in abundance. I want to absorb Australia. It is as important to me to awaken to the birdsong in the morning, to gaze out over the skyline and observe the differences between the tree canopies here vs. home, as it is to walk the tourist shops. Some people may think I am crazy to spend thousands on a ticket and spend time in a living room knitting. But the living room is in Australia.

The hospitality shown me by [livejournal.com profile] miladycarol and [livejournal.com profile] george1shop is a beautiful example of life in abundance. They share all that is theirs, there is never a question. If the concept of abundance of all things is too difficult to conceive, apply it to one. Love. Love exists in abundance in their home. They are not frugal, and it is a tonic to a slightly battered soul.

Enough mush. I give you pic spam! Lurkitty photoshopped into Sydney Opera House pix (for those conspiracy theory lovers out there):
Yay picspam!!!! )

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