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Tried to post this last week

I went with my auntie and her friend – two little old Chinese ladies, and my second cousin, niece or whatever she works out to be, I am never clear, but we went down to the fish market at Glebe. Things certainly have changed down there. I didn’t ever spend a lot of time there, however now there are a lot of places to eat and inside under cover not a lot of places to sit. The prices of everything in Sydney are through the roof, but so are pay rates so it all works out – if you have a job, which I do not. Yet.

With auntie wanting to buy, but in the end me not letting her, i brutalised my own already tragically light hip pocket. I did however have some grilled barra, some steamed prawns, some fried chilli and pepper prawns, a niiiiiiiiiiiiiice chunk of grilled snapper, half a lobster and for the first time in forever oysters.

Oysters have always repulsed me, eating something with the consistency of snot, and being entirely entrails (I eat no offal, no liver, tripe, kidney pies, menudo etc) has always been a massive turn off. But I thought fuck it, why not have a go. Certainly I cheated, with one oyster mornay, slathered with cheese and potato, and the other kilpatrick, buried under bacon. Not being able to taste the oyster heavily disguised as it was, made it amazingly palatable to me. Of course a mouthful of bacon, and hot mashed potato and cheese could disguise perhaps the worst of things.

Another change to the fish markets were the number of places to eat, and the addition of a small tourist trap mall, and the overwhelming number of Chinese. I can make that distinction, partially because I was with Chinese, and partially because I have had enough experience with asians, to be able to tell the difference. Like Maroubra Junction, the Glebe fish markets have become chinatown. For Maroubra junction this is an extension of, I believe is called urban creep, as the university population from UNSW, a couple of suburbs up have started to spread further into the community, and expand their presence, particularly with all the development in the area. The old houses are still there, and the residents as well, as much as the usual attrition rate joined with the skyrocketing real estate of the area has allowed. Bottom line, what this means for Maroubra Junction is a whole slew of fucking great restaurants for me to try. And asian faces in every store, supermarket, pharmacy, shoe shop, bank, and bus stop. Along with the greeks, islanders, russians, arabs, and anglos who have been there ever since I grew up.

Later that day, I got to visit my old stomping grounds of Lurline Bay and Mahon pool, where I spent many a summery afternoon.

Lurline Bay was a place that my friends and I would walk up the hill and down again, to catch frogs and tadpoles, or crabs, or wrigglers to feed the fish during the aquarium days. We’d go rock-hopping, bait hunting, or fishing, with or without the old man, swimming in the natural rock pools or in the bay itself, when it was calmer and the odd bit of snorkelling as we got older. Or we’d watch the older boys go scuba diving or cliff diving off the higher rocks where we weren’t game to dive. One of the older boys went showing off to a girl one day and speared a wobegone shark, a harmless, shellfish eating, camoflaged carpet-type shark. As he was climbing out of the water with his prize, as a final strike (although who knows because sharks aren’t very evolved creatures and its wound may not have been fatal) the shark decided to latch onto his calf, which had him screaming that “a shark had got me”, which the others took very seriously, and leapt out of the water and to his aid. Of course, when they realised the true gravity of the situation, in true australian fashion they wiped the tears from their eyes, stifled their sniggers and helped him get it off. Wesley wore his scar proudly and showed it off frequently, but always checked to make sure than no-one who knew the real story was anywhere around.

Mahon Pool lies at the north end of Maroubra beach, about a klick away from the beach itself and was carved/dynamited out of the rock some fifty or so metres back from the low water mark. As well as being home to its own host of sea creatures (according to the sign posted and my own recollections one of the most poisonous of local wildlife, the blue ringed octopus), it was also the oft temporary home to whatever might have got swept in during particularly high tides – although as far as I recall never a real shark like the similar pool at Bondi. At high tides on a rougher day, waves would crash right up to the pool itself and the chains hanging between the bollards that border the oceanside would be our destination. We would grimly hang onto the chains as the waves buffeted us. At times the waves so strong we would lose our footing and eventually our grip before being swept back into the shallower end of the pool.

Today, the waves were just like that, tumbling over the flat plateau of rocks towards the pool and rushing past the bollards, and my niece looked at me like I was crazy when I told her about our old amusements. I wanted to jump in today, and I had been thinking about it on the plane over, however the weather has been shitty, not that I should have let that stop me, but I’m not that wacky and zany and can do without hypothermia. I did not jump in, partly because I was not dressed for it, but I did shuck the boots, and splash me toes, because I am, like all of us, tied to the ocean, my brief time in Miami confirmed that. My date with Mahon pool and Maroubra beach and the Pacific Ocean is merely postponed.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
The story about your friend with the shark made me smile.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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