Leaving Nepal was not an easy thing to do. After all, we had volunteered with the Nepal Volunteers Council, Trekked the Annapurna Circuit, Kayaked Lake Phewa and caught up on lost time in Pokhara, Launched the OnlyABuck: Notebooks for Nepal Campaign, stretched, meditated and cleansed at Sadhana Yoga Ashram, and Cared for Elephants in Chitwan. Considering our dream list going in, we had more than accomplished our goals but knew deep down we would be returning. OnlyaBuck™: Free Health Clinic, anyone? (It’s OnlyaBuck™ now by the way…long story.)
Our intention was to fly from Kathmandu to Hong Kong and spend a few days with my old friend from high school (and Penn State), Chi Tsang. Arriving in Hong Kong, we were both ill and completely wiped from, well, travel we guess. We just needed rest and weren’t in top form. We emailed Chi and broke the bad news, switched our flight to Sydney (for free, thanks OneWorld!) and after 40 hours of travel, landed in Australia’s beautiful city that we had left behind in 2008. This time, however, we had some friends from San Francisco waiting, Chris Piro and Claire Fabricante, and were hell bent on arriving early, and giving them a surprise. Yes, I am my father’s son.
Checking into our hostel, we knocked on Chris and Claire’s door and as expected, they were out and about exploring. This gave us the perfect opportunity to dive head first into our pillows, get caught up on some
quality sleep and try to shake the bug. Nine hours later, we felt great, left a note for Chris and Claire to meet us at the Sydney Food Festival in nearby Hyde Park and most importantly, to bring wine.
The food festival was hopping, and would ultimately begin our foray into the food scene of Australia. From $2 salmon and avocado sushi rolls to $20 all you can eat seafood smorgasbords, we arrived with one mission in Australia: eat what we missed most and eat well. And boy, we were hungry! We opted for steamed duck and BBQ pork buns and roasted chicken and sage pot stickers. Laughing at ourselves for selecting Asian as our first meal after having just left Asia, we sprawled out, enjoyed the meal and cracked into some goon, Oceania’s word for bagged wine. The food was delicious, albeit overpriced, but we’ve become experts in finding value on any menu worldwide. And we realized, just like the USA, Asian food IS part of the Australian food culture. Unless you’re from Europe, Asia, or Africa, we are all just immigrants after all, right?