Sem gas

(First published in Debbish.com on 31 January 2013)

I’ve been struggling with cravings since last week. Hot and sweaty and enroute home from a Zumba class in my new hometown I decided I was too lazy to cook and stopped at the first ‘Asian’ takeaway I came to. Thai and Chinese are my favourites and the place I found chose was Thai. After a few false starts I discovered which dishes could be made gluten-free (for I am coeliac) and left 25+minutes later (having been told 10mins) with two dishes and rice in hand.

I scoffed most of the meal that night and had the rest for breakfast the following morning. The garlic and pepper chicken was TO DIE FOR!

It kills me that I cannot cook Thai / Chinese food that tastes as good as the stuff I buy.

As so often is the case, it gave me a taste for something delicious and spicy and I’ve pondered the idea of takeaway almost every day since.

However, earlier this week I convinced myself I would be satisfied with a more logistically-simple option, available at a cafe just a few hundred metres from my apartment.

SaltWhen I first arrived here I indulged in Salt Cafe‘s steak sandwich on gluten-free bread and served with chips a number of times. In fact, the friendly waitress who served me the day I hung out waiting to get into my apartment (while I waited for settlement and the removalist) remembered me each time I went back.

And before I knew it I was imagining myself biting into the sandwich, onion relish dripping down my chin.

For various reasons I didn’t get there yesterday so while phaffing about this morning I texted my aunt and uncle who live nearby, asking if they were keen to meet for lunch. Fortuitously we agreed on Salt and I sauntered down in the oppressive heat eager for my steak sandwich.

Once settled however, I was greeted by a waitress I didn’t know and handed a dodgy one page menu aptly named “Emergency Menu – available all day” and listing cereals, bread rolls, a couple of salads and chicken or ham toasted sandwiches. What. The. Fuck?!

“The gas is out,” the waitress explained.

Not convinced she wasn’t conspiring against me to avoid offering me the fulfillment I needed (ie. steak sandwich and chips) I turned to Twitter and Facebook to have this confirmed. And sure enough… my Facebook feed was full of local cafes and restaurants either announcing their reduced menus or sprouting that they use electricity and were offering their full array of food.

Apparently a gas pipeline was damaged a bit further north during our recent storms and until flood waters have receded it can’t be fixed… and there’s no gas. (I have to confess I’ve never really thought about where the gas comes from or how it gets here!)

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 5.49.18 PM

I’m not a gas-y girl you see. I’d love a BBQ but only gas makes sense and the notion of a gas bottle freaks me out. I’ve always bought places which have electric ovens and stovetops rather than gas cos of the whole ‘freaking me out’ thing. And… I always thought I would be the one to suffer – during an electricity outage; that I’d be regretting my no-gas decision.

And yet… here I am, still with electricity with which to cook, while the cafes and restaurants of Hervey Bay serve cereal.

Are you a gas or electricity person? Or perhaps both?

 * Sem gas = without bubbles (in Portuguese and possibly similar in Spanish and Italian!)

Life in a Tourist Town

(First published 5 February 2013)

Three months have passed since I moved into my esplanade apartment at Hervey Bay, and I have just survived my first holiday period as a local* amongst a throng of holidaymakers.

viewThe biggest fear I had about my choice of ‘home’ was that – my esplanade view and lovely modern accomodations would be counteracted by living in an apartment complex which would possibly be home to noisy holidaymakers on a regular basis.

I’m not, you see, the most (ahem) tolerant of people… so I had visions of myself screaming at drunken tenants partying at 1am or devil-possessed children frolicking about our complex pool.

But, I have to confess – it hasn’t been as bad as I expected.

Sure there were the guys in the apartment below me trying to channel Freddy Mercury before dinner one night; and there were a few badly behaved children in the pool – torturing siblings or crying hysterically about some world crisis or another. (Bloody little sooks!) And of course, the place in general has being busier than usual with overflowing caravan parks and beachside apartments.

But, on the whole… it was quite pleasant to see my new home AND hometown being enjoyed by so many visitors.

The people-watching is surprisingly interesting and has the potential to be quite exciting. Like Hotel. Or Adventure Island. Or Melrose Place. Or similar.**

poolI got a giggle out of a couple of oldies who seemed to strike up a bit of a romance friendship at the poolside. And smiled every time another guest headed off to the local pier with his fishing rod and supplies (and came home empty-handed); proud that my new hometown offered such simple pleasures.

And then there’s the opportunity to chuckle in a smug superior manner when visitors do those silly things that cause we locals to roll our eyes. “Tourists!” we groan.

And now… school’s back in and the Vacancy signs are again littering the esplanade as the holidaymakers have headed back to their own part of the world.

Although I haven’t been too disrupted by our visitors, I must confess I much prefer having the place and the town to ‘ourselves’ again.

There’ll be no more queueing for a table at the Boat Club for a while, no need to book at pub down the road and no need forpatience at the overflowing playgrounds. And the supermarkets will again (mostly***) belong to we locals.

* I grew up nearby so feel I can call myself a local despite having only lived here for thee months!
** There could be a TV series in this!
*** I say mostly because I DO live in a beachside town so there are always a few overseas tourists and weekend vacationers here.

PS. Am showing my age and channeling The Dream Academy’s Life in a Northern Town in the title. In case you didn’t get the way-too-clever reference!

And your thoughts…Tourists: love em or hate em?