Friday, March 25, 2011

Post Nineteen: terrible conclusions

This morning was the first time I was able to sleep in past 7am. I was pretty excited and ready for a restful experience. Not to be, not to be.

Most of you readers know that when at home in the states, there is a certain bird associated largely with spring and summer, that I cannot stand. It's incessant ugly warbling loud imposing call rouses me from slumber and pesters my ears daily during these months of the year. Yes, I am speaking of the house wren.

Here in Australia, there are no house wrens. this is good, however, there are crows and the sulphur-crested cockatoo....Never in my life did I imagine that there could be a worse bird than the house wren. Australia has sadly lead me to the most terrible conclusion that perhaps the house wren is not all that bad. I know. its amazing. But the crows here and the cockatoos are now officially more annoying than any other bird, insect, or creature I have encountered.
Do not be fooled by the pretty appearance!

yuck yuck yuck, I can imagine the sound it is making and to that I say YUCK!
Crows here do not sound like real crows, they sound like dying lambs mixed with complaining babies. Worse are the cockatoos. These birds make a noise as loud as a lawn mower and the sound is similar to that of a coffee-grinder and the screeching of brakes/crunching in an automobile accident.

This morning (and a couple mornings this week), these cockatoos decided to have a conference outside my window at 5:30am and at 7am. Twice as loud as the house wren, and yes, even uglier and impertinent, the cockatoo (and the Australian crow) has now topped my list as the worst bird. Compared to these birds, the house wren is ALMOST musical. However, I maintain that the house wren is by no means a pleasant sounding bird, and it is still on my bad list, but it can be redeemed by these other two extremely unpleasant creatures.

Second: I must take the liberty to complain a bit more about Aussie food. I have tried and tried and tried, but no matter where I have looked I have failed to find 1.) Ketchup that tastes properly like ketchup 2.) tomato/spaghetti sauce 3.) good chocolate (that is not either American, Swiss, British, French, or German made). The conclusion is, that here, some things just taste different and I will not experience good versions until my return to America. I must say that, it is not that they are essentially bad, but just that they do not suite my previously formed taste preferences. Having said that, 

Australian Ketchup...
The Ketchup here is called "tomato sauce" and while it has the semblance of proper ketchup (it is red and thickish) and tastes...ok...If I found ketchup like this in the states I would say it had been open for too long, it just doesn't have the fresh tangy taste that I am used to. It is more of a darker almost burnt (for lack of a better word) flavor. I am not the only one who has had this experience! It is a matter of taste preference yes, but there are others who agree on what I have written.

What regular spaghetti sauce looks like. Australians really don't know what this is.
Tomato Sauce (careful, here one needs to call it spaghetti sauce or marinara sauc, as 'tomato sauce' means ketchup here), is non-existent basically. I recently had lasagnia and there was not any tangible tomato flavoring except one or two stray tomato skins (meaning there must have been SOME sort of sauce somewhere, but.... ) there was no sauce visible, or tasteable. This has also been my experience with pizza as noted in earlier posts. really, the concept of sauce is foreign. Even the pasta sauces are more like bunches of diced tomatoes, not really a 'sauce' there. It is also really difficult to find spaghetti sauce in stores, which leads me to believe it is not only DLC and pizza places which have this problem of no sauce.

Lastly, as I have mentioned before, the chocolate does not taste like chocolate BUT ALSO! one has to be careful when one goes to buy 'real' chocolate, because sometimes things such as M&M's are made in Australia! Make sure to check the label to see where they were manufactured!

It must be noted however, that most of my eating experiences (with the exception of chocolate) have been through the DLC cafeteria, probably not the best representation of Australian cuisine. Extrapolating conclusions from here to the rest of AU would be a bit like comparing the college food at old Downer in Lawrence as representational of American food. So I do make some allowances for quality. However, the ketchup is the same as any grocery brand, and I have noticed that pizza elsewhere comes with little or no sauce as well. I have not tried pasta.

To conclude my food talk, since I was feeling a little down and I did dip into my ANRCN (Ariana Needs Real Chocolate Now) fund a bit this past weekend, making sure to check labels for manufacturing I indulged in some Cadbury's (which to me will always taste like England since we ate it there as treats for being good, thanks Mom!) and M&M's.However, real chocolate is expensive here, and Reeses are really hard to find (when one finds them they run at about $1.50 per peanut butter cup, cup, not package, just cup, so a normal package is usually $3). I have also decided maybe to try making chocolate brownies since I found a fair trade shop with Cocoa from not Australia, and one of my resident leaders at DLC. So! Due to all of these food experiences the ANRCN organization has now expanded into the "THANKS ALOT" (Taste of Home, Ariana Needs Ketchup Sometimes And Loads of Other Things) anti-homesickness fund for donations!

Ok, that was not a cry for money, it was just a joke :) I just enjoyed trying to come up with a cool acronym.

In other news, I have not done anything particularly interesting in awhile, I am trying my best at my schoolwork, though since I have not gotten any assignments back I still have no idea where I stand regarding my classes.

Tomorrow Angie and I are going with the Exchange Club to see a Rugby game at the ANZ Olympic Stadium, so that should be heaps (an Aussie word that means 'alot') of fun!

I have also ALMOST finalized my spring break plans. I will post them up soon I promise, along with my adventure at the rugby and perhaps a description of the Global Leadership Program that I am doing. I will TRY to do this this weekend, but blogging is time consuming and, depending on a paper and a presentation that I must finish, I may have to wait until next weekend.

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