Apparently, An Australian Afternoon Calls for a Beer

It’s all you’ve dreamed. And about a teaspoon more.

This is my first time in Australia and, so far, I love it. Although the bar isn’t set too high after being in Hong Kong.

In order to prepare for my time in this place, on the advice of some great friends, I read Bill Bryson’sIn A Sunburnt Country.” If you can’t tell, Mr. Bryson is a favorite author of mine and I highly recommend his work to you.

Although they attempt to hide it, Australians are very American in their demeanor. I’ve met many on my journey.

By way of example, when I was back in Hong Kong, I was at lunch one day and came across an Australian man. He thought my predicament was quite funny. You see, I’d tried to order the fried rice, but ended up with a cappuccino and a cup of tea. Then, I asked for water and got a spoon. My new-found (but as yet unmet) compatriot thought the circumstance was raucously funny. I fear the waitress must have spit in my Hainan Chicken Rice because she though I, too, was laughing at her.

Speaking of the Hainan Chicken Rice, it’s interesting. In very broken English, the waitress told me, “Don’t worry. You’ll think it’s raw. It’s not.”

She was right. I did think it was raw. Turns out Hainan Chicken Rice is popular throughout Southern Asia. It’s steamed and then quickly tossed into a cold water bath. The effect is that the chicken is very tender and the skin is thick. It was good, but I passed on the skin.

But you didn’t come here to hear about Hainan Chicken Rice. You came here to hear about Sydney. I don’t have much to say. Or, sadly many pictures to share yet as I’ve only just arrived. I was fortunate enough to be greeted at the airport by a friend of mine. After a weary walk-through at customs and quarantine,

“Are your shoes clean?”

“Yup.”

“Okay. Welcome to Australia. Don’t get bit by anything.”

My friend introduced me to a venerable Australian tradition: beer drinking in the afternoon. I don’t think it’s the jet lag (Australia’s only a few hours ahead of Hong Kong) that has me up at 2:00 a.m., it’s that my body had finished processing our afternoon’s take. And I decided to write to you.

We enjoyed views of the harbor…errr, rather harbour…and an unbelievable hamburger. Indeed, it was recently selected as the “Best Hamburger in Sydney.” Because it’s the only hamburger I’ve ever had in Sydney, I can’t tell you whether they got it right. But it was quite good. The place was called Rockpool and I most definitely recommend it. Among the jacket-and-tie crowd, we were a bit out of place in our shorts and t-shirts. After our first beer, it mattered much less.

In any event, I’m going back to bed. I look forward to sharing far more interesting information tomorrow.

By the way, I’ve yet to see a shopping mall!!

G’night and Good Morning.

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