|I’m back from my lightning trip to the southern regions of Australia for my class in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Absolutely exhausted!
Saturday was certainly an action-packed day. It started at 2.00am when I awoke in the beautiful Melbourne Hare Krishna Temple guest quarters and performed my morning temple duties. Certainly a highlight and a much-needed boost to my dwindling spiritual fuel tanks.
I headed to the station at 5.30am, breathing frosty flumes, and after falling down an escalator at Flinders Street under all my heavy bags, limped to the train.
My host Geoffrey picked me up at Lilydale Station at 7.30. We set up for the class until 10.00am, when the guests arrived – an assortment of friends and relatives of Michele and Geoffrey.
That’s Geoffrey, top row, fourth from left. His wife Michele is fourth from left, front row.
The kitchen was the usual finely-honed hive of culinary activity: measuring spices, chopping fresh coriander, boiling the milk for fresh cheese, blanching spinach for the raita, dry-roasting fennel seeds, squeezing fresh lemons, slicing pumpkin for the soup, to name but a few.
Cathie escorts our West Coast Indian Cabbage, Coconut and Peanut Salad (Kobi Pachadi) to serving bowls. A pachadi is a raw vegetable salad with finely cut pieces of vegetables, lemon juice and oil dressing, nuts, freshly grated coconut with an incredible seasoning of mustard seeds, turmeric and asafetida. This attractive salad, a sort of ‘Indian coleslaw’, originates in the Maharashtra state on the West Coast of India. It always amazes me just how delicious it is.
The car ride back from Launching Place by a couple of lovely class attendees – Jayne and David (bottom left of very top photo) – found us stuck in football traffic as we approached the Melbourne CBD.
Then my taxi to the airport from Melbourne’s Southern Cross station was again swallowed in the ‘Footie Crowd’.
As I wandered around Melbourne airport I espied giant newspaper headlines about a similarly full Qantas jet to the one that I was about to board reporting a gigantic hole in it’s side and making a life-and-death emergency landing in Manila the evening before. The 346 passengers were cruising at 29,000 feet when the explosion took place. Cheery stuff! At least I had booked my usual exit row aisle seat. I’d be heading up the evacuation team in case of a similar event.
We landed in Sydney without incident, where my taxi home was again swallowed in a Sydney football traffic jam of monumental proportions. After paying another obscene taxi fare I crawled to bed at 10.00pm and here I am, Sunday morning, still yet to unpack, dazed, bruised but nevertheless reporting the events to you, dear readers.
These are the austerities of travel; but they are all more than offset by the joy of my work.
Posted by Kurma on 27/7/08; 10:03:07 AM