Sybil’s Leaves: Sydney, NSW, Australia (Part Six)

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Day 7 – Saturday December 15th, 2007 – Markets
Location: Glebe and Paddington, NSW, Australia

Still a rather late rise yesterday, but not as bad as some of our other days. We left the flat by 11am and walked to the fish market where I was overwhelmed by the many different types of fish and seafood. Unlike in Venice, where I would arrive early to see them packing the products in ice, nothing but the lobsters and the occasional crab seemed to still be alive. I know understand what Rosario was talking about when he said that his family owned a king prawn farm in Goa. To think, I might have been Empress Prawn in India for a couple of months and I let that pass me by.

We didn’t know what type of prawns we should be using in our prawn cocktail sandwiches, so we stopped to let me have a chai latte in a little café and people watched. Seafood makes a lot of mess. Watching people eat baby octopus turns my stomach.

After Kylee kindly messaged us back, we picked up our own prawns, bread and prawn cocktail sauce and sat shelling for a good ten minutes before satiating on seafood. I thought the meal was lacking an essential food group and added cherry tomatoes to the mix. I love cherry tomatoes.

After, we walked to Oxford Street in the CBD and took a bus out to the Paddington Market. The merchandise on sale there was gorgeous. Jewellery, bags, LOTS of clothing and some housewares – but very much a woman’s market. There were no ties or men’s hats to speak of, which I found surprising. I still have some souvenir shopping to do, but the women on my list are now all accounted for and I got a chance to chat with quite a few shopkeepers. I did NOT buy anything for myself – I know you are impressed.

At 3:30, I met Ilyusha outside the market and we walked down Oxford St. through Paddington to the Victoria Barracks, a five-block complex still in use to house the military in Sydney. Of course, we could not get in, but the walk around the outside walls itself was worth it. The security guard at the gate was kind enough to let us stand in the doorway and stare in to see what the inside looked like too. I believe there was a picture taken by Ilyusha of me, but I am afraid to check out the result.

We discovered a lovely bookstore called Ampersand (isn’t that a great name for a bookstore?) and I was shocked as they had, in stock, four Nabokov’s I had never seen for sale used before. I left them (like I need more books and even used books are very expensive here), but Ilyusha bought quite a bit and we generally enjoyed a very well laid-out store with a good selection and great ambience. We didn’t sample their cafes wares, but I cannot imagine that they would not be good for they looked scrumptuous. I thoroughly recommend Ampersand.

We hopped a bus back to the Town Hall and walked down Broadway back to Glebe, but first, we encountered a Chinese bakery. Now, I am the founding member of the Cult of Zach on facebook and if there is anything more “Zachian” than consumption of BBQ pork buns, I don’t know what it would be. I HAD to eat a BBQ pork bun just to let Zach know how it was, however, I have never had a BBQ pork bun before. I have no comparison. I imagine Zach will fix that when I get back to Montreal. LOL. We also bought some pastries for Sunday morning breakfast before Church.

We dropped off our stuff in the flat and went to pick up some Thai at Ilyusha’s favourite place on Glebe Point Road. It was PACKED. We ordered Pad Thai and sat on the Church grounds across the street waiting. The Thai was brought back to the flat and consumed while drinking the restants of the Connawarra Valley from last Monday and watching Sneakers. I think I was asleep by 10pm.

Today, unfortunately, was filled with a lot of verbal sparring between Ilyusha and myself. We are very hard-headed people and when I am in close quarters with someone for a long time I get snappy. I am doing my best, but we end up on these deep philosophical arguments sometimes and it’s very difficult not to get into a very heated debate. I love the challenge, but I think I am getting out of hand. I will provide an example: Since I got here, I have heard the word “cunt” used more times than I think I had in my entire life up until this point. The term is SO vulgar at home that it just isn’t the go-to word to describe someone (except in the case of describing a long-term girlfriend who cheated on you, which is, actually, the only time I think I have heard it used back home). In Bondi Friday night, I was trying to explain to the people around that I don’t actually know what they mean when they call someone a “cunt.” This resulted in much laughter as apparently I needed a human anatomy lesson (of course I know what it means physically). I gave up (considering there was too much drinking going on to really get into a deep conversation about a swear word without it just degrading into potty talk), but Ilya and I returned to the subject last night. My lack of understanding stems from a lack of contexts. Unlike other words, vulgarities require contexts to get their true range of meaning – a definition never really can catch that level of nuance an expletive is adding to a sentence. Ilya was trying to explain to me what “cunt” meant. I was getting frustrated because I KNOW what it means and I understand how it’s being used. I just don’t know WHICH horrible qualities it is supposed to be emphasizing in each given scenario. We agreed to let the discussion drop after some frustration. I felt like a bitch for being so argumentative. I am hoping today is better. We are starting off with a eucharist mass – hopefully it will be inspiring.

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