Friday, October 31, 2008

From Florence to Australia

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. Maya Angelou 1928.

One thing I've noticed about Italians is that they tend to become friendlier once they get to know you. The first time I entered my favourite local bar for breakfast, the staff were very polite, but of course not overly friendly. I ordered a latte and received hot milk with no coffee in it as the word latte means plain milk and not a not a weak coffee like we say in Australia. I may as well have worn a TOURIST sticker on my forehead.

After visiting my local cafe, Golden View, almost daily for my caffe latte and chocolate pastry, they have become more like friends. Sometimes when I haven't come in at my usual time and there is only one chocolate pastry left, I notice they try to 'hide' it so no one else buys it as they know I love them. If husband and I don't come in for a couple of days they ask us 'Where have you been? ' with concerned expressions.

Any hopes of me practising my Italian on the staff have been dashed as they all want to speak English with me. One of the girls is particularly keen to practise her English so we have started engaging in a language tandem. We get together and speak half in Italian and half in English.

The staff are always so interested to hear about our home town in Australia. So, recently I took in some pictures of the place we have lived in for the last four years before coming to Europe for Jason's work assignment.

I had to explain that the animals in the photos were not in parks, they are actually wild. I'm not sure they believed me.

So today, I thought I would post a few pictures from the last town we lived in, Karratha in Northwest Western Australia. A place that is literally in the middle of nowhere with the nearest town about 250 kilometres away and our home for four years due to husband's work assignment. A place I hated at first, but grew to love.

When you look at these photos, bear in mind that we lived in the real outback of Australia. Don't expect these kind of sights if you go to Sydney or Melbourne. This here is like Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin territory. Think flying cockroaches, snakes, goanna's and dead kangaroo's lining the roads (killed by passing vehicles). I don't know many people who can say they had a poisonous snake under their desk at work , but unfortunately I can. And it took me a long time to put my feet down from my chair after that day!

It's hard to believe that it's been twelve months since we left Australia. And it's even harder to believe that in just seven months we'll be back there and Florence will be but a memory. A sweet memory. I wonder how many caffe latte's and chocolate pastries I can fit into the next seven months? My thighs shudder at the thought.

Here is husband with his number one not me his humble wife. His number one love is fishing and a romantic date with me is just never going to be as good as a day out fishing with his dad or his friends. I've accepted that and we move on. One of the reasons I have accepted it is that he always comes home with these beautiful red emperor. These are probably the most delicious fish you can catch and to buy them in a city is very expensive. Karratha is famous for it's fishing so we are lucky enough to have a freezer full of these delicacies.

Here is a relaxed kangaroo quite happy for me to pose with her. You can't see it very well in this photo but she actually had a joey in her pouch. There is a programme in Karratha where you can take on injured joey's into your home to nurse them back to health.

I haven't seen one of these signs in Italy! This was taken in Broome which is 800 km's from Karratha and one of Australia's premium tourist spots. To Europeans, 800 km's is a long way but in fact, I used to travel to Broome for work. I would drive on a Monday, do a presentation on Tuesday and drive back on a Wednesday.

Broome is famous for it's beautiful beach, Cable Beach. Unfortunately there are dangerous salt water crocodiles in it. It doesn't stop people swimming in there but I refuse to go in it. I can't imagine many worse ways to go!

Husband stops the car to say hi to a friendly local. This is probably a bit closer than you should get to an emu. But what can I say? We like to live dangerously.

Aaah crabbing season in Karratha. These beauties were made into a delicious Nigella Lawson Crab Pasta recipe. But they are most delicious simply boiled and served with a cocktail sauce. Not a good food for a first date since you end up being covered in shell and meat. But we are boring, old and married so we are allowed.

The one thing husband and I will always fight about is his love of diving. See when you are pulling up fish like this, it means one thing and one thing only: Jaws is out there. Please don't tempt him with your tasty body.


Anonymous said...

Lovely Memories Mon, I still say the Pilbara is my favourite place in Australia! It's a shame that the photo's don't reflect the heat, the strength of the sun on your skin. Or the feel of the red pindan underfoot, and the smell of delicious seafood (with salt and vinegar) from the restaurant at Samson!

Really made me smile kiddo. x

erin :: the olive notes said...

Thanks Monika - this was a lovely look at your life in Australia! It would be so crazy to have all that outback out in your backyard :)

Leanne in Italy said...

How cute is that little kangaroo! I have only ever seen a few wild Australian animals, as like you said I am from Melbourne and we DO NOT have kangaroos in the backyard like tourist think!

Scintilla said...

Thanks for the trip back home - well slightly more North but nice anyway.

In Melbourne you don't get anything more adventurous than possums, cockatoos, rosellas etc.
Thank goodness!

Welsh Girl said...

Aaargh - the shark bitten fish is scary, as are the salt water crocodiles - two excellent reasons that I could never live in Australia. Reason 3? Poisonous snakes under my desk. eeeergh and shudder....

Sue said...

Oh my gosh Monika - FANTASTIC pictures! It makes me want to visit Australia even more than I wanted to before! My Hubby and I are thinking seriously about going to Australia and New Zealand in 2010 to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Anonymous said...

i cannot believe those photos!!!!!

esp. the crocodile sign by the beach (there's no way i would go in either) and the pic of the fish chomped on by none other than jaws!

has your husband ever seen any larger sharks while fishing or diving???

Monika said...

Hi Guys :)
Rhons: please don't remind me of Point Samson fish n chips. At this point, i would gladly trade in any pizza for that!

Erin: Just as crazy as having a statue of David that I walk past every day ;) Hope you are well xx

Leanne: I get asked that all the time too! So finally when we moved up there we could actually say 'yes, we have kangaroo's on the street there!' Funny idea though that everyone thinks that isn't it?

Scintilla: but you get Melbourne shopping outlets and I would prefer that!

Welsh girl: it took me a LONG time to get comfortable with my desk again ;)

Sue: come and visit!! You won't regret it :)

Eryn: He hasn't seen any diving (friends of his have that go spear fishing which in my opinion is asking for trouble!). He has seen very large ones fishing though!! Oh, and we get to see beautiful whales too which i should have put a picture up of too!

Enjoy your day everyone!