Yum Cha

Yum cha is a Chinese style morning or afternoon tea, which involves drinking Chinese tea and eating dim sum dishes-Wikipedia

What is not to love about small portions of food, magical combinations of flavours, sweet and sour dipping sauces, steamed vegetables and jasmine tea?

What is not to love about a restaurant the size of a small football field, packed to the brim with hungry patrons,  with street style hawkers pushing food carts up and down the carpeted floor, stopping at your table to tempt you with their product?

Yum Cha at the Marigold, George Street, Sydney….It might not be high-end dining, but it is fun, fast, flavoursome and a sensory experience that you will not be able to forget in a hurry.

A meal that is this much fun is bound to unite those who sit around the table, and today I was privileged to dine with my Mum, Dad and Aunt ( I am hoping for brownie points with this post!!)

My parents had never experience a Yum Cha meal, but my Aunt was at east with the rapid pace at which our lunch appeared, the bartering, the refusing, the sampling and the down right weird ‘ No, we won’t take a serve of pigs ears or chicken feet’

We ate, and ate and ate, the soy sauce was dripped from one end of the table-cloth to the other, dumpling were devoured and pork buns gobbled up.

Yum Cha is food made fun, you get to sample an amazing array of dishes, some which you will like, others you will work out aren’t for you….And for a small amount of money you walk away a couple of kilos heavier, with a  smile stretched from ear to ear.

So grab a group together, take to your local Yum Cha restaurant and let the food circus begin…

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CUWAM- ‘ They had it all….then they ATE it all’

Late last year I joined the online writing group ‘ Write on Wednesday’…it was a great descision….Each week a writing prompt is given and you have 5 days to submit a short piece of writing. Last weeks prompt gave much joy…it encouraged us to listen into other people’s conversations, in the hope of hearing a ‘pearla’ of a one liner….A line of conversation that you could take away with you, and later, in front of a computer, with a glass of wine, write a fantastic story.

I was lucky enough to over hear the line ‘ My heart says’…and so naturally my head told me to write a story about love….Yet the Write on Wednesday prompt seemed to creep over into the everyday… I began to listen with great intensity to everything around me. My cat Flora snoring in the early hours of the morning, the bird songs, the muffled music coming through the headphones of the young school boy on the bus, the sound of my fingers hitting the keyboard, pumping out emails at a fast and furious pace.

Summer sounds also echoed through the television…that was on quiet frequently. The Australian Tennis Open, 2 weeks of high intensity, gladiator style encounters, where men and women do battle with racquets and green balls. Commentary provided some light relief as men and women staged epic battles, lasting for up to 6 hours….My favourite line from Jim Courier during the mens’ final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was ‘ The chair ( umpire) is on fire’ in reference to the accuracy of his line calls….Loved it!! I am sure there was plenty of other great lines, but I retired from the match at 10.30pm…and another 3.5 hours of tennis still to unfold!!

And then there was my favourite line that came through my car radio as I drove to Ramsgate, South Sydney for a catch up lunch for my wonderful friends, Al and Steph…Ramsgate RSL…It was a pleasure. Yes, I overheard a classic promotional line for the new series that airs this evening on Channel Nine’ Excess Baggage’…. A show about down and out celebrities who have all gained a few too many pounds since finding fame….The radio promo bolding claimed…’ They had is all…..Then they ATE is all!’….I just think that is pitch perfect….And sadly I can’t weight ( pardon the pun) to see K-Fed ( Brittany Spears ex) hitting the tread mill…Heart attack scares , time in Mount Druitt Hospital, some might say that K-Fed is accruing baggage of another type whilst attempt to lose the weight….But I am hooked…and I have not even seen one episode….As the billboards state…’The weight is OVER’…the show beings tonight….

I was privileged to hear to sublime sounds of Megan Washington and her band at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday night…The last hurrah in my Sydney Festival ticket binge….well worth it.

It was a week that I participated in a  casual hit of tennis after work, I took to the treadmill at Kings Cross gym and puffed and panted my way through a 30 minute workout.

I listened to barista’s frothing milk at my favourite Potts Point cafe, Cafe Hernandez, paying $4.50 for a coffee on Australia day and then tipping them 50cents…an expesnive but tasty brew. I spent the public holiday at home with Flora, watching tennis, cooking a lamb curry and generally lying horizontally on my bed.

The weekend came and went all to quickly….there was the birthday lunch, a catch up coffee with my friend Sarah, and a quiet Saturday evening at home, watching the splendid Australian movie starring Sam Worthington and Abbie Cornish ‘ Sommersault’….a movie I watched many times, I just love it….Whilst it is not the most uplifting film, it is beautifully shot, the acting mesmerizing, the  soundtrack pure bliss…

Sunday was spent lazing around on Coogee Beach with new Mum Elena, her bub Søren, and comrades Jane and Glen…We cramped ourselves under a single  beach umbrella, frolic in the sea and ate fish and chips on the sand…A perfect day….

On reflection, the week was near perfect….but I could not help but think back to my motto for 2012….Expect the Unexpected…The only time I questioned this approach to 2012 was on Saturday night, when I curled up with Flora on the coach for a DVD night…knowing full well that nothing unexpected would happen…I had even seen the film at least 10 times before…..

If I am to embrace 2012 will gusto I am going to have to up the anti…no more Saturday nights in front of the tellie…..This is my solemn pledge!!

CUWAM: Write on Wednesday ‘ My Heart Says….’

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- Wag

Pay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh and enjoy.

I was lucky enough to be privy to a conversation that included the line : ‘ My heart says’…a line I termed a real Romeo and Juliette balcony moment…Here goes…

 

‘My heart says’

Joe sat up on his unmade bed. It was 5.16pm and she would have started her evening shift at the corner store.

He got ready to move, to stand up, place two feet on the ground, walk toward his bedroom door, open it, emerge from his self imposed day of exile and enter the big bad world.

Caitlin had a hold on him. He could think of nothing else…and with the Year 10 formal looming, he wanted her to be his date.

Before his feet made contact with the floor, which was covered in dirty clothes, empty chip packets and a random selection of his comic books, Joe had dived back under the cover….this crush was crippling him.

‘My heart says go down the road and ask her out’ he mouthed into the pillow, whilst hiding beneath bed sheets.

‘But my head says NO, don’t be so silly, she doesn’t even know my name’

Over and over he played out the impending corner store rendezvous ….He felt sick to the stomach, racked with nerves, hot, then cold, everything all at once.

To make matters worse, the early 1990’s Roxette smash hit, ‘Listen to your heart’ was stuck in his head…it had been for days.

Poking his head out from the covers Joes broke into song‘ Listen to your heart, when it’s calling for you. Listen to your heart, there is nothing else you can do’

With a jolt, he threw the bedsheets to one side and stood upright. He rummaged around the floor, found his running shoes, laciing them up in record speed.

Roxette was right, oh so right, there was nothing else he could do, but put his pride on the line and ask the girl out. Joe swung open his bedroom, ran past his parents sitting in the living room, and headed toward the front door.

‘Matters of the heart Mum and Dad, be back soon’

 

 

Mojito Cocktails

What could be a better friendship firestarter than the classic cocktail, the Mojito?

What is not to love about cuban rum, fresh mint leaves, Tahitian limes, sugar syrup , soda water, shaken and stirred, served in a glass tumbler with ice cubes?

The post is dedicated to my favourite cocktail, a drink I think I was first introduced to in Lagos, Portugal at a beach bar called Bahia. This literally was a beach bar, an old shack was turned into a make shift watering hole , you literally sat on the sand and drank the afternoon away. Perfect.

Bahia Bar, Lagos, Portugal

In researching for this post, I stumbled across Bahia’s website. I was in Portugal in 2001, when the bar was literally a shack, and one that was falling apart at the seams. I have fond memories of drinking on the verandah and the palm leaf roof collapsing  on my head as I enjoyed my afternoon drink with friends. Times have clearly changed…the website details that the shack came down in 2003 and in its place an a architecturally designed beach bungalow has been erected. But back to my focus on Mojitos…for it was a Bahia on a balmy Sunday afternoon drinking sessions that I first treated myself to a Mojito…just one ( for I was a backpacker and on money rashions). It was the beginning of a life long love affair with lime, rum and mint….

Summer 2011-2012 has been devoted to Mojito making….Armed with a bottle of Barcadi and all the essential ingredients to make this fun-loving summer cocktail, I turn up at birthdays and Christmas/New Years Eve events to spread the lime and mint goodness. The cocktail just oozes summer fun and if it helps to ignite the party vibe, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be in the kitchen, mixing up the mojito brew.

So to inspire readers, make you and your friends a drink, a mojito, sit back and let summer take care of the rest!!

Check out the Bacardi Rum Website for step by step instructions on how to make Mojito’s:

Bacardi Rum Mojito Recipe

Or follow this receipe, taken from the About.com website

The mojito was born in Havana, Cuba. There are many variations of the drink. This recipe calls for the five customary ingredients of mint, rum, powdered sugar, lime, and club soda. If you are throwing a Havana or Cuban theme party, plan on serving these fashionable yet traditional mojitos.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 mint leaves
  • 1 lime (for juicing)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 60mls white rum
  • 90 mls club soda
  • 1 sprig of mint (for garnishing)
  • crushed ice

Preparation:

1. Put the mint leaves into a colins glass and squeeze the lime juice over them.
2. Add the powdered sugar and then muddle the mint, lime juice and sugar together. Add crushed ice.

CUWAM: A visit from the Toilet Paper Fairy

Toilet Paper Fairy

The week that was pretty spectacular….for many reasons which I will list in this post.

But by far the most fabulous thing that happened during the week was a visit not from the Easter Bunny,Tooth Fairy or St Nick, but the ever elusive Toilet Paper Fairy, who was in da house at a chicken schnitzel restaurant in Darlinghurst on Wednesday night. Two friends and I were dining alfresco at Una’s, our colourful conversation perfectly matched by the evening parade of people out and about on the city streets.

After my second wine, I left my friends and headed to the ladies….There was a queue, but there are queues in most places in Sydney these days! When a cubicle became vacant, I maneuvered myself into the  allocated space.

‘ There is not toilet paper in there’, remarked the lady who had just exited the toilet.

‘ Nevermind’, I replied, as I threw caution to the wind and closed the toilet door behind me.

I reasoned that there was a queue, the other toilet ( there was only one other) was probably paperless as well, and what that hell, I could cope with this situation…plus I really wanted to rejoin my friends as soon as possible…my meal, all that chicken schnitzel goodness may have very well arrived whilst I pondered the question to ‘paper or not to paper’

And then she appeared, well just her hand, a few fingers really that had snuck  discretely under the cubicle door….’ Would you like some toilet paper?’

The toilet paper fairy….She had come just in the nick of time…My savouir…what a women!!

‘ Thanks, thanks so much’

‘ Don’t mention it, I know the feeling’

And with such kind words the fairy handed over enough paper for me, and the next 10 toilet patrons!! What a women!! So very thoughtful, so kind, so simple a gesture…

I quickly went about my business, I wanted to catch the toilet paper fairy out, I wanted to thank her face to face….Yet even as I raced to flush the toilet, I knew I would not see her again…I stepped out into an empty washroom

On re-entering the dining hall, I glanced around, hoping to have an instant connection with one of the restuarant patrons, but alas….it was not to be…I rejoined my friends, said nothing of my encounter and began the epic task of eating my sumo size schnitzel.

So miraculus was my encounter that I am left almost speachless / wordless infact…But the week that was had many hightlights, and I will list them in point form:

An evening with my wonderful friend Steph at the Opera House, Sydney to see the one and only, IOTA….Amazing…Do yourself a favour, and if you get the chance, see this man perform…Extrodinary, out of the ordinary, with a voice that soars….

  • Drinks in the Rocks, Sydney, with my brother, his fiance and comrades which included a Brazilian Docter….His explanation of the medical reason behind hiccups was insightful!
  • A catch up 5 years in the making with childhood friends Alex and Leah, and Una’s on Wednesday. Dinner, drinks and ice cream…Good company and conversation…What more could a girl want…Oh, and a visit from the toilet paper fairy!!
  • A Saturday that was mine, all mine, cuddles with Flora, a gym session in Kings Cross, an evening swim at Coogee Beach, pototoe scollps for dinner and summer tennis on tv
  • A birthday BBQ for my little brother, a devine meal in Shellharbour with our newly extended family ( thats what an engagement will do!!) Wonderful food, drinks, company and entertainment ( thanks to 2 year old  Maddix, you are cricket star in the making!!)
  • A sneak peak at my sleeping god daughter at 8pm on Sunday night. Ms Mae, soon to turn one…And her Mum and I are already is disagreement of the birthday cake…love it!!

Write on Wednesday: The Stories a tree could tell

The stories a tree could tell

The Write on Wednesday spark: The stories a tree could tell.
Take a look at the above photo (by Story). Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links in the list. Enjoy!  

Pip slammed the kitchen door behind her and ran out into the garden. She was sick and tired of being the new girl in town, living in a new house, a new suburb, starting a new school. She was fed up and her Mother disapproving of her attempt to set the dinner table had been the final straw.

Pip stopped running when she arrived at her familiar resting point in the backyard:  The big cedar tree. It was a beauty, with its huge tree trunk, and branches that stretched past her garden, and onto the neighbour’s property.

Sitting at the base of the tree, Pip was unsure whether to laugh or cry, scream blue murder or roll her hands into a fist, and punch the ground beneath her. Being 12 was hard enough …and she felt that her Mother was underestimating how hard the move had been on her. She was trying to come to terms with her new life, but more often than not, she wished that things had not changed at all.

Pip relaxed, allowing the full weight of her body to be supported by the tree trunk. She stretched her legs and tilted her head skyward. The tree must have been at least 100 years old. She felt safe, as if the branches which sheltered her from the afternoon sun, were cocooning her from the world, with a big, leaf filled hug.

‘How many people have sat here just like me? ’she wondered.

It was a comforting thought, and she smiled,  sure that over the years, people just like her had sought solitude beneath its branches.

Pip could hear her Mother calling for her to come back inside. If she was honest, she did not want to move, but she had begun to feel guilty about running off.

‘I’ll be back soon’ Pip whispered as she hugged the tree trunk then turned in the direction of home.

Frienship Fire Starter: The Phone Call

The second post of the 2012  series ‘ Friendship Fire Starters’..the humble phone call.

For new readers of this blog, a Friendship Fire Starter’s are prompts to action…to encourage readers to catch up with those held near and dear to them , to partake in activities aimed at igniting all that is wonderful and unique about their friendships.

Life can be busy….to quote Flight of the Concords for the second time this week ‘ Inner city life, Inner city pressure, The concrete world is starting to get you’…Yep, city living, country living….just plain living, provides us all with a daily to-do list that seems endless…Often our friendships take a back seat whilst we get on with our busy schedules…Days, weeks, months pass….and we go about our lives failing to connect with the people we treasure most.

What better way to connect with someone when you are time poor than a phone call….and if you suffer from poor memory, ABBA’s oh so catchy ( some might say annoying tune) will no doubt play over and over in your head, making it impossible not to ‘ Ring, Ring’ that special someone…

I have a classic tale about phone conversations that I must share. Back in the late 90’s, when I was in Year 10 at High School, a new girl with red ringlets appeared on the school playground one day. This girl was from Victoria, she was a foriegner….very exotic in my home town of Wollongong. This girl was loud, vocal, expressive…all the things I was not but wanted oh so badly to be….This girl had to be my friend!

My behaviour borders on that of a school girl crush…It was slightly unnerving to recall this story….but here goes.

How could I get this fiery red ringlet haired  girl to be my friend? The answer came in the form of a phone call.

One Saturday afternoon I scoured the white pages for her family phone number…I knew the area they had moved to, I had her last name…How hard could it be? ( Remember this is the era before internet,  mobile phones, facebook and all other common place stalking devices)

I dialled the number that appeared most likely to be her.

‘ Hello, is that Jess?’ I whimpered down the phone…I did not even have a game plan….I was nervous…My heart was racing….What was I thinking…More importantly…What was I doing??

‘ Yes, this is me’

I had hit the jackpot!!

And I then babbled on about myself, stating who I was, describing myself as the girl with braces and bad skin, and asking her to a movie…which was declined because she had friends in town…from Victoria.

‘ But thanks for calling’ and the line went dead.

The End

But wait…there is MORE….

But the story strangely enough continues…continues to the present day!! That girl with the red hair did become my friend, and THAT phone call has become part of the folk law of our friendship!!

I look back on that moment in time and I don’t recognise myself……  I was racked with nerves.. unsure of myself, and  desperate for Jess to be my friend. This girl was like a life raft, at a pretty unhappy time in my teenage years, she was someone I hoped could drag me kicking and screaming from the  inner world of my thoughts and into the here and now.

And someone must have been smiling down on me that day…because it worked…That phone call made an impression…Jess did become my friend, the kind that sticks with you through thick and thin, who shares life’s ups and down, twist and turns, speed bumps and avalanches….

And while this is really just a tale of pent-up teenage angst, and not every phone has to have so much riding on it….ABBA, I think say it best ‘ Ring , Ring, why don’t you give me a call. Ring, Ring, the happiest sound of them all!’

CUWAM: Expect the Unexpected

2012 is the year I will adopt the following mantra ‘ Expect the Unexpected’….It is a new outlook that sprung to mind as I walked through Central Station train terminal on Friday morning…it is the well-worn path I take on my way to work each day…Ho hum, ho hum.

But on this particular Friday morning, at 8.23am , an Elvis Presley look-alike competition was taking place…a make shift stage had been erected and  middle-aged men donning rockabilly black wigs were all  performing ‘ Hunk of burning love’. It was almost too much to take so early in the morning, and my gut reaction was to walk in the opposite direction whilst covering my ears.

But before I could quick step it out of the terminal, a smile had begun to spread across my face…what was not to love about this scene….Grown men, with their wives and or girlfriends in tow, aka their ‘ Priscilla Presley’s’, in bell bottom pants , tight tops, drawn on side burns and wigs…It was actually quiet hysterical…There was pandemonium at the station, people were swing dancing and singing along, swaying their hips and dancing check to check…And all before 9am…It was a sight to behold.

Who would have thought eh, an Elvis Presley convention at Central station Sydney at 8.23am…..You would not have dreamed it possible….But it happened and I was privileged to witness this early morning spectacular…it provided great joy, a permanent smile for the whole day…and inpired the mantra that I will live by in 2012….’ Expect the unexpected’….

And while this mantra was closely rivalled by the slogan adorning one of the die-hard Elvis fan’s at the early morning convention ‘ Live the Dream’, by living by ‘ expect the unexpected’  in 2012 I am willing the the joy of the unknown to inspire some great blog posts….

The week that was did contain the predicatable….the mundane, dry and boring.

  • Work and the daily commute
  • Housing Keeping ( random intervals throughout each day)
  • Bad weather ( Sydney’s summer season has more often that not resembled thunders storms, rain clouds and puddles)

But it was far outweighed by the joy brought on by the following events

  • Sydney Festival Fun- With my friend Jill from Edinburgh in town, the pressure was on to maintain the party pace that had been established the week before….So we attended the show Circa at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night. To quote the Opera House website, Circa is a’ breathless cocktail of circus’ ,an awe-inspiring mix of acrobatics, gymnastics, aerobatics and out of this world performance stunts….On Thursday, Jill and I, this time accompanied by our mutual friend Aaron saw ‘ Son’s and Daughter’s‘, a Scottish rock band from Glasgow…who were hot, hot, hot….I always enjoy listening to live music, and never having heard this band before, on Jill’s recommendation, we had purchased our tickets….worth every cent
  • Dinner and dancing- When you have a friend in town, you play host…..Sydney took on the feel of a big summer play ground, and despite the poor weather, Jill and I travelled around the city in my little car. We had dinner at inner city dumpling houses, shopped for clothes at Rozelle Markets and had coffee in Balmain. Saturday was to be our last hurrah, for Jill was leaving Sunday. Celebrating 10 years of friend with fellow travellers Aaron and our friend Marty, we had dinner and drinks in Newtown and then danced the night away on Oxford street at indie hang out Sprectrum….We went out in style…calling it a night / day at 4am Sunday morning…Feeling fragile, Sunday was about bed rest, comfort cooking and DVD watching….

So here’s to 2012….and too unpredictability, throwing caution to the wind and going with the flow…whatever that may be….And I guess I should say thank you to the King for this sunny outlook….Thanks Elvis…xxx

Friendship Fire Starters : Summer Festivals

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Summer had arrived and there can be no better way to catch up with a mate that at a summer festival. It can be even better if the summer festival is FREE

I wrote yesterday about the joy that was the Sydney Festival First night, a night of free entertainment, both local and international artists and performers intent on getting Sydney siders up on their feet and dancing the night away. It only seems fair to therefore  dedicate the first of 2012’s Friendship Firestarters to the summer festival, for it has contain the perfect ingredients for a lovely catch up with friends.

Summer Festival Key Ingredients:

  • Guests ( the more the merrier)…do whatever you can, phone, text, email you nearest and dearest to ensure that they join you on a picnic rug, in the park grounds, for an a day, afternoon or evening of good times.
  • Picnic Hamper…You can NEVER over cater for an outdoor festival…cheese, biscuits, dips, salad, cold chicken…you name it, it will be eaten and enjoyed..There is nothing better that a meal outdoors with friends
  • Drinks…You can NEVER over cater on drinks for an outdoor festival….Sparking wine, Champagne, White wine spritzers, Lemon Lime Bitters…again is best enjoyed outdoors, with great company and in a festival environment
  • Cushions / Blankets…Compfort is important at outdoor events, and you might have to wait some time for the gig to start…And whilst I would recommend everyone invest in a hammock in a stand (for an outdoor festival this is not practical)…the picnic blanket and a couple of cushions will do the trick
  • Good Mood…Chances are you will be one of thousands of others making the most of the summer weather, and setting up camp at the free summer event…Bringing a good mood and a sense of community spirit is essential…chances are you will have you foot trodden on at least once, your picnic space encroached on etc…You are all there to enjoy together…that is half the fun

So if you feel inspired,and you are in Sydney for January 2012, there are loads of free events that you can take part in….Summer Sounds in the Domain on the Sat the 14th of January, Symphony in the Domain on the 21st…and the beat goes on…as does the list of things to do…I urge you to check out the Sydney Festival guide….Summer just got a whole lot better!!

Click here to see the Sydney Festival 2012 program

Readers out there, are there any Summer Festivals you would recommend? Love to hear about it…feel free to post your suggestions.

CUWAM- ‘ You are Crazy Sydney’ Manu Chao, Sydney 2012

Inner city life, inner city pressure
The concrete world is starting to get ya
The city is alive, the city is expanding,
Living in the city can be demanding.

Flight of the Concords , circa 2007

I am feeling the pressure of summer in city of Sydney…Crazy times!! Hence I pay homage to the Flight of the Concords brilliant song ‘ Inner City Pressure’….boy is this girl feeling it!! The pressure to PARTY!!

Today I resume Catch up with a Mate’s weekly summary, tomorrow Friendship Firestarters and so on…Oh the pressure…and all  while I hold down a full-time job, catch up with friends at every spare minute and conduct a life full of summer time fun.

The City of Sydney is awash with Festival Fever…though some claim not to be caught up in the party…I am well and truly immersed.

The week that was saw the return to work…BORING….and the hum drum of 9-5 starts again for another year. The week that was saw the return to the gym, for a 20 minute work out session, hopefully the first of many for 2012. The week that was provided much sorrow ie office administration and great joy ie catch up drinks at the delightful Darlo Bar with beautiful colleagues for work. The week that was saw the end of the summer series: ‘ The Twelve Beaches of Christmas’, with the final swim taking place in The Domain, Sydney at the Andrew ‘ Boy ‘ Charlton Pool.

The end of my summer ode to swimming means I can now focus on the events that will no doubt unfold, envelope and consume me in 2012…and if the week that was is anything to go by, it is going to be a ripper of a tale.

A good friend from Edinburgh, Jill is in town, and we spent Saturday afternoon park side, drinking wine and eating summer nibbles. Other friends joined the party, and by 7pm the entertainment started…Festival First Night, the city of Sydney’s free opening night spectacular swept us up into its magical spell, and we danced and sang along to the likes of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Meagan Washington and the one, the only Manu Chao.

I was introduced to the music of Manu Chao 10 years ago when I lived in Edinburgh as a backpacker…He is a French singer of Spanish roots. He has large South American and European fan base…but never before had he performed to his Australain fans…..until now.Manu’s sweet melodies and party tunes have long been favourites music of mine….Seeing him perform to an audience of 200,000  fans on Saturday night was truly inspiring….Manu…Come back to Australia  soon, we love you….and you clearly loved us ‘ You are Crazy Sydney’ you cried as we danced, and danced and danced….

And then there was Sunday….the effect of wine in the sun and none stop dancing had finally caught up with Jill and I. A late lunch was eaten at Jed’s in North Bondi, and we then headed on foot to the Sunday markets, strolled along the beach and then headed to Bondi Icebergs for a cool drink.

Picking up the pace in the evening, we headed to Oxford street, and whilst Jill had an apple cider,  I sipped on a water, at the very, very cool bar ‘ Shady Pines Saloon’…Dinner at Bill and Toni’s in East Sydney followed…and B.E.D soon after that.

Ah Sydney, I wonder if I can really keep up the pace you require in 2012…I am getting old, require a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night, 3 meals a day, periods of silence  etc etc…the  last week has seen routine go out the window,  dishes pile up and the house gather dust…I ask myself can I live this life, in this state of continual celebration??

The answer is YES…but ONLY  till the end of January….

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