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April 2006

arnott my favorite

I need to thank a little buddy of mine back in the States for sending a few care packages to me.  I'm stocked up on Smarties, Dove caramel chocolates, Twizzlers bits, and also some purple peeps for Easter.  Thanks Syd!

I'm trying to beat my addiction to large flat whites and Arnott biscuits.  Speaking of which, Campbell's owns the Arnotts biscuits company.  After doing a little research, I found out Armott's tried marketing a favorite biscuit in North America with a different name, Double Trouble.  But unfortunately it never got the proper marketing and audience to become a big seller.  Another thing I noticed is how everyone here calls them biscuits instead of cookies. For Americans, we're use to biscuits being a very soft, fresh out of the oven, bread like food shaped like a scone.  If you don't know what a scone is you'll need to google it.  Otherwise I'll be here explaining all day.  Back to biscuits and cookies.  So I've gotten use to calling cookies biscuits in public, but when alone can be heard to stammer out "cookies" excitedly when I sit down to have them. 

As I was checking a few places on the web I found a site by an Aussie in America.  Just reading a few entries made me laugh in unison with how funny they find things in America.  Occassionally, I think of Outback Steakhouse back in the states.  It's a franchise of resturants that can be found across the country.  Not until I arrived here have I thought of it in more detail.  I didn't recall what was on the menu at the Steakhouse but after reading her site,Aussie in America, I had to laugh at how this American company tries to fit the Australian theme into it's food selection.  One example is the Bloomin Onion.  A deep-fried, batter covered onion cut to resemble a flower.  Bloomin is considered a kinder version of bloody and to have it used back in the States is even more funny when you consider Outback's famous slogon is "Home of the Bloomin Onion!"  Makes me think the marketing staff got fed up one day and one guy yelled that so they could all finally get to lunch.

Now that I'm thinking of it, when I hear someone say "Maccas" it takes me a sec to remember they're talking about McDonalds and not some trendy new eatry.  And Burger King has been changed to "Hungry Jacks".  Same menu but I have an unconfirmed theory it's due to the Commonwealth and the Queen, that no fast food place should have a King in its name.  I haven't seen a Blimpies, just Subways, which makes me think there's probably something else using Blimpies which customers might consider objectionable if used in relation to a sub shop. 

Of course there's the Chemist instead of Pharmacys.  Which to this day I still enjoy saying the former of the two.

And there's the whole coffee discussion I could go into but will save for another time.  I'll just add, never say skim milk when you want it added to your coffee.  Say skinny or if they don't have it say milk.  Saying cream is definitely a give a way that your from the Americas.  As for types, you'll find all the versions of espresso and lattes but the common ones most people get are flat whites and long blacks.  Flat whites are a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a bit of frothed milk on top.  While the long blacks are espresso with hot water added to dilute it a bit but still have the strong coffee flavor. For awhile I had the long black as a favorite, but always had them add milk to it.  I switch to the flat white when I realized the irony of my ways and now everyone breaths a bit easier when I come to the counter of my favorite coffee shops.

All this talk, I need a fix..


Monday means back to work, but at least it's a short week with the Easter holiday coming up.  I've added another set of pics from Fremantle in the side panel.  They're from the Fremantle Motor Museum.  Lots of motorcycles and cars along with a few boats and other prototype test vehicles.  The weather has started to cool off a bit which is a nice change.  On occasion, I've even broke out a light jacket  when I took off for work. 

Lately, I've had Sudan on my mind.  Looking over the news of the past few months it's still painful to see fighting going on in the Darfur region.  From the sound of it, it's gotten worse since I left last August.  Last week I had a dream I signed up for a second tour back in Khartoum.  I was there the next day.   Funny how dreams can seem so real.  I don't know how I felt but there was a certain calmness about knowing what a place is like and going back there again. 

perth holiday pix

Photos are up from my trip to Western Australia.

Looking back I'm embarrased that I don't have any photos from just Perth itself.  A great city and plenty to do but I guess we were flat out from getting there in the first place.  While in Perth I did check out some of the museums and resturants.  I even took in a "How to make a Monster" at the WA Museum.  Displays included the croc that was made for the movie Peter Pan.  Unfortunately, they never used the robotic croc for the scene they wanted.  I've seen the display advertised around Sydney but never got a chance to check it out.  It also included other displays from Inspector Gadget II and the monsters from Pitch Black.  I also checked out the Perth Art Gallery which had a nice showing of year 12 students work.  It really put me to shame for some of the stuff I was proud of back in the day.

The 2nd day in WA was spent riding a boat out to Rottnest Island for a day of cycling around the island.  Unfortunately, snorkling wasn't in the cards.  Headed back to Fremantle on the coast for dinner and more sight seeing.

The 3rd day, it was Fremantle again via rental car for more sight seeing and shopping at the Fremantle markets.  A trip to the Maritime Museum and also the Motor Museum. Then it was down to Margaret River and dinner at the end of the day.

The 4th day was spent touring the wineries and vineyards around Margaret River.  A trip to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near the town of Augusta, about 40 min south the town of Margaret River. 

The 5th day was a ride back to Perth to grab a lazy lunch and then hop a plane back to Sydney.  The plane trip was around 3 hours if that gives you an idea of flying coast to coast from Perth to Sydney.  We fly over the southern part of Australia most of the way which surprised me a bit until I though about where the best place to land would be if there was trouble.

All in all I had a great week out in WA and there's so much to do there as there is in all the cities in Australia.  I'd love to get out there again and head north to the Kimberly and some of the cool places around Broome.

Last note:  I got to see the Indian Pacific train after landing at the airport in Perth.  Another great way to see the country from land, but one that will have to wait for another time.

I've only put the first three days up and have to add Margaret River and some of Fremantle yet.  So don't get bent outta shape just yet.

back from wa

Back and working on putting the pics up from my Perth trip.  I made it to Perth, Fremantle, Rottnest Island and the Margaret River area.  Unfortunately, the weather was rainy the first couple days I got there so I didn't get a chance to snorkel around the island.  But all in all it was a nice trip and I got to see a lot of WA.  I'd like to go back to do some more things later but it'll probably be next year.

I'm running around the house trying to make sure all my clocks match.  We set ours back and gain an hour while back in the states you'll be jumping ahead.  So there's another 2 hour delay between here and back in my hometown.  Total will be 9 hours difference.  Not that anyone is interested but I thought I'd work it out here so I'd remember what time it really is.