Let me clarify. I'm not talking about the performances--they were great. But I'm being egocentric and talking about how last week went for me.
I knew our schedule would be tight--five cities and five concerts in five days--and that I would see very little of the great cities of Melbourne and Sydney, but I had not expected to spend most of those days in hotel rooms, ordering room service, watching Animal Planet, going through a tissue box a day. I emerged from the hotel room only to attend the Melbourne and Sydney performances. Oh, and maybe to do the tiniest bit of shopping in Sydney.
But things are looking up, and the last few days have been packed with laughter and relaxation as we've had a few days off before this afternoon's performance in Nowra. We've spent the days sightseeing in Canberra, sipping coffee at a Nowra cafe, walking along the Shoalhaven River, and poking around a wildlife park. Ellie, Nick's wife, has joined us now, and the two of them have been so much fun.
|Graeme at Parliament House in Canberra|
|Shoalhaven River in Nowra|
|Ellie at the wildlife park|
|Nick and Ellie|
It's not often that I meet people that actually like the American accent and want to put it on.
We spent much of last evening's dinner swapping phrase usage and pronunciation notes. I'm coming to understand the many applications of the word cheers and getting closer to its pronunciation: chee-ahs. Nick and Ellie sound pretty good with their "Smoke 'em," though I'm not sure where they came across that phrase. They must have met a Texan at some point. They're still working on "Yo. What's up." It's the yo that's the problem, as it should be pronounced yoh, with a clipped /o/, not yo-oo-ou.
But that is not my point today. This is my point:
Dark chocolate pate, with crispy wafers and blackberry glace. Have you ever heard of something so wonderful? It was thick and rich and creamy and smooth. A bit like mousse, but denser. Banana dumplings are in the background.
It's been hard to go wrong with the food in New South Wales. It's all looked and tasted so wonderful, that I've forgotten to pause to take a picture before digging into it. But I've been making notes, and I plan to work on my own versions of these dishes when I get home: muesli pancakes, risotto with rocket (arugula), cornish pasty, pan-fried gnocchi in blue cheese sauce, chicken sandwich with cream cheese and mango chutney, chocolate pudding, and, oh-my-goodness, affogato!
If you're too far away to taste-test, don't worry. When I get them right, I'll share the recipes.
Our six weeks here are nearing their end. After today, we have only two more concerts. On Monday we'll board the plane for LA where we'll spend a couple days. Then, a week from tomorrow, we'll be home. It's been wonderful and wearying. While we're looking forward to returning home, we plan to enjoy our last several days. Our mobile broadband account has two more days on it before it expires, and there's much more to share between now and then.