Off to Asia… at home

Hot pot

Coming from Melbourne, with its huge Asian influence and entire suburbs chock-a-block with authentic Asian eateries, I miss the lack of it here. I understand that if I travelled further afield to a bigger city I would find more diversity, but I think the kind of food that you can find in say, Box Hill or China Town in Melbourne, would still be few and far between.

Sure, I grew up on western ‘Chinese’ food with sweet and sour pork and cashew chicken top of my favourites list. I once famously proclaimed that Thai food was too hot for me. Oh, how far I have come.

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Raisins vs sultanas

I don’t like raisins. I love sultanas. So imagine my surprise when I came to Austria and was forced to eat Rosinin (raisins), only to discover they were actually sultanas.

In fact, sometimes the packet says Rosinin… sometimes it says Sultaninen… but for all intensive purposes, they seem to be the same thing.

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Weird things Austrians… play… The Fur Game… (Was’n’das)

Wasndas - The Fur Game

I don’t mind a good board game. Of course, as you get older, the tone of board games changes. You move from Monopoly and Mousetrap to games requiring increased knowledge like Trivial Pursuit or strategy games like Risk.  Hubby and I regularly play Carcasonne and we recently started with Azul which is a pretty cool game perfect for two people.

At one of our Wine Wednesdays with my work colleagues (pre-Covid), one of them introduced us to a board game, which does not seem to exist in the English-speaking world. It’s called Was’n’das which translates to What’s That (but in slang)… though in our circle we’ve renamed it ‘The Fur Game’.

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A confession… I’m a hankie lover

handkerchiefs

I’m not even sure if everyone knows what a hankie is these days… let alone uses them. Of course, what I’m talking about is the humble handkerchief. You know that thing a handsome man presents when a woman becomes upset – a clean, ironed, folded handkerchief – even allowing her to take it home with her. It’s in the movies, so it must have happened in real life. I’m sure it was a ploy back in the days to get a piece of a beau’s belongings. Or to make an excuse to see someone again. And it would have worked great for me, since I’m a bit of a crier.

Still, hankies have gone out of favour – they’re old fashioned and they’re disgusting – tissues are far easier to contend with. Still, in a time of banning the straw and plastic bag, I think there’s a good case for bringing back the good ol’ hankie.

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Weird things Austrians… eat… Bifi Rolls

Bifi roll

I came across something new in the supermarket the other day – a Bifi Roll. Now, a disclaimer on this one, I have no proof that Austrians actually eat these, and in fact, this product seems to be originally American.

What is it, you ask? Well, apparently it’s a salami hidden in a crust of bread.

Did I buy one to try it? No, I did not. I guess it’s a good source of protein that you can eat on the go? A convenient snack?

I think I’ll stick to mixed nuts.

Daylight savings in lockdown – a non-event?

clock

Recently in Europe we moved our clocks forward an hour. Normally, this can be quite a traumatic event. Having to get up an hour earlier for work is just no fun. And there’s this weird sense of almost-jetlag that goes along with it. Is it time to eat yet? Am I even hungry?

For the loss of the hour I usually placate myself with the knowledge that it means summer is coming. And I have to say, I’m a fan of the time change. I know not everyone is – I know the cows are unhappy – I know the curtains are fading – but I’m down with it. There is a lot of talk of removing it altogether now – I know the original reason for introducing it is invalid – but for me, it adjusts the light of the day better. In any case, whatever is decided in the future, I’ll live with it.

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My greatest solo travelling fear

Egypt Pyramids

There was one thing I was terrified about when embarking on my first solo travelling adventure back in 2011. Was it that I was flying into Egypt shortly after the Revolution? No. Was it that I might get mugged and lose all my stuff? No. Was it that I would run of money? No. Well… maybe I had slight fear for those things, but the overwhelming thing was… I was scared of being lonely because I was convinced no one would like me.

In my then-group of many acquaintances and a few very good friends, some were connected to my childhood, and a lot of the rest were also my brother’s friends. What if no one actually really liked me, they just liked my brother, or were just stuck with me having played as kids?

What if I had to spend four months travelling completely on my own?

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Covid one year on – I think I’m doing ok – I hope you are too

Closed for covid

Who would have foreseen this? That the first lockdown (which began officially for us on March 13, 2020), would be ongoing one year later? Now, I know that there are different lockdown labels (I think we are in number 3?), but realistically, even though we opened up quite a lot for summer last year, we weren’t ever completely free. So basically it’s just one long lockdown.

What I see here in Austria is a lot of Covid-fatigue. People are sick of it. And fair enough too. It’s been a long haul. With numbers rising (around 3000 for the last few days) it’s hard to believe there are people who haven’t had it. How have we not reached herd immunity yet? Well… because we’ve been very very good (or most of us have), we’ve protected our fellow citizens and we’ve endured. And a lot less people have died than otherwise would have. And the cost of that (to the ecomony and what-not) is probably not fully understood yet. But I digress.

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Puzzling away a Corona Crisis

jigsaw puzzle time

I am a keen puzzler. And for those of you unfamiliar with my terminology, that means that I like doing jigsaw puzzles… a lot. One of my standard winter activites is puzzling. Even though I also usually spend a chunk of this time travelling, I usually have time to do a couple of puzzles. Because what’s better than sitting inside on a cold day, with the winter sun (or heating) streaming in to keep you warm, and an Aperol at hand to imagine you’re somewhere else entirely. I think it’s a kind of meditation for me… I listen to music… and my mind wanders.

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