Posts Tagged ‘airport’

Can the pumpkin save the world?

June 7, 2018

IMG_0075Salvia.JPG

Salvia

 

The world is holding its breath. Soon, Kim Jong Un and  Donald Trump will meet and hopefully come to an agreement on their weaponry. I wonder who is more of a dictator now? With Trump seemingly able to pardon himself for any wrongdoing, I reckon they are both neck on neck with claiming the winner of the race to an ultimate dictatorship.

Helvi and I often end up discussing politics. She is getting more and more despondent about the situation in Australia. ‘So little is decided and so little is being done’ , she said last night. ‘There is so much of nothingness in Australia now.’ We are still living of the success of SSM but for how long will that continue to nurture us? The same old stuff seems to get regurgitated over and over. I was a young and ambitious man when the second Sydney  airport was discussed. Has anyone heard anything about that lately? The same with education. All sorts of rapports and tests but nothing improves. The only time we read about it, it talks about a student getting a haircut or how the school bullying has resulted in misery and suicide. Anything about the fast trains or how the hydro electricity in the Snowy mountains is progressing?  Plastic shopping bags and non deposit glass was dealt with and banned in Holland in the seventies.

The only positive that has happened is that pumpkins are now for sale at 99c a kilo. We do not need to just live of the glory of SSM!  We rushed out and stocked up for the rest of the winter. Nothing can be more positive than a nice pumpkin and what can be made of it. A warning though!. There are hidden dangers. Pumpkins, sharp knives and over- enthusiastic cooks have often come to grief.

We snapped up four pumpkins for starters, with a large bag of potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic, lots of garlic. We noticed many doing the same. It seems that the message of good diets might be getting through. Some shoppers still try to sneak in a carton of Coke or lemonade but you can tell by their furtive eye movements that they are battling with their conscience. I used to give them stern looks but in my dotage have mellowed, and now manage a generous smile of understanding. I too used to sip a Coke!

Going back to my pumpkins. A good friend said that she never peels the pumpkin. It is even possible to bake an entire pumpkin without even cutting it in half. This is the wonder of having friends that share cooking and politics. I never knew one could bake an entire pumpkin. There I was sharpening my chopper and large knife including, a filleting knife (from Finland) trying to cut my pumpkin in sizeable portions to be baked in the oven. I never just boil pumpkin without first baking it together with the leeks, garlic and onions drizzled with a nice olive oil. There used to be a bar near central Sydney railway where you could actually sit on a stool and sample different oils and vinegars.

That’s what I miss here in Bowral. It is all so Anglo and nice! We have a lot of different salvias growing. The gardeners were here today, and I just said (in jest) in the presence of a neighbour peering at our salvias. ‘You know, this salvia is very good for rolling and smoking! In some US states it is forbidden to grow it because it can give you the smile of an angel and mildly hallucinates.’ The neighbour looked wry. Helvi kicked me in the shin.

Anyway, from now on I will not peel pumpkin. It will just be part of the soup. I add a little chilli with a good spoonful of turmeric. After baking it for 30 minutes I whisk the lot to a fine harmonious and mellow yellow soup. It is truly a magic dish.

My suggestion is to Singapore and the meeting between those giants of atomic might, to be given the best chance of peace resolution and give them this pumpkin soup lavishly, with dollops of sour cream and crusty sour-dough bread .

A food worthy of peace.

 

First day after Bali.

June 24, 2015
Bali

Bali

It shows some courage to begin writing again so soon after Bali. One does not really know how one is affected by surroundings and mood of a country, till one leaves. It is even stronger on the return. While Bali’s airport seems just as busy as Sydney’s if not busier, the smiles were still free. I don’t know if smiles are free in Sydney too. We just did not see them. Perhaps they were in hiding, deep inside the multi pocketed ‘Border Control& Protection’ uniforms.  There were hundreds of them carrying serious frowns and some had guns!

At Sydney’s airport rail station we asked for 2 tickets to Bowral. The man did not look up from his computer; kids or adults, he asked crankely?’   ‘Have a look,’ Helvi smiled back. ‘That’s 42 dollars then’, the man said grimly. ‘We are pensioners, Helvi said!’ ‘That’s 28 dollars,’ the station man said, and ‘show me your pension card’. Fair enough, but does it have to be so unfriendly and with so much officialdom, such sticking to facts and rules? Many foreign people arrive in Australia as tourists. What do they make of that sort of treatment? He could have smiled. He could have advised us the nr of platform and the time of departure. Helvi always smiles. No, we had to ask for each item separately.

And now the train; It was unheated and for us it was a killer of a downer. I mean at 7am Sydney’s winter is serious and at 9c climbing steadily towards a balmy 12c at 10am, it wasn’t tropical. We were prepared but not to the arctic blasts coming through the doors every time they opened. Again, there were some people with huge suitcases. They might well have been tourists. You wonder what they will report back? We had to change trains at Campbelltown. Again, difficult to find out which platform. A loudspeaker kept saying, over and over, that the train at platform 4 was not to be boarded because it had terminated. That was fine, except there was no train to board (or not as the advice was bleating) at platform 4.

Bali (Ubud)

Bali (Ubud)

Another message warned people that all platforms were smoke free. All the platforms were in open air and outside. A strong wind was merrily blowing around. Surely, someone wanting a smoke could have been given that freedom. There were no shortages of Coca Cola machines and chocolate bars, crunchy violent bars and other snacks to tempt the terminal obese with. I would rather see a smoking person than hear a slurping Coke being downed.  Anyway,  both sugar and smoking is bad, so perhaps I am just cranky or being difficult again. The loudspeakers at Campbelltown rail station certainly work and the next dire warning came soon after the advice of not boarding a non-existent train.

Listen carefully to this one now! ‘Will all train passenger, please disperse along the entire platform, please (second time). None of the 4 platforms had more than 12 passengers. I can only surmise the messages were on an endless tape that would just drone on and on, giving the warnings over and over again. The last message now. Again, a beauty for making tourists welcome and safe; ‘All platforms will be regularly patrolled by our police to make sure no criminality will be committed on our platforms or trains.’ Indeed, we noticed police and dogs strolling around the platforms. It made us pass the time as there was 55 minutes waiting for the next train (another unheated one) on platform 4 to take us to our final destination. The loudspeaker was still warning us endlessly not to board the train at platform 4 as it had terminated!

Ah, we knew we were back. All this made us feel home!