Day 5

“এই এখানে দেখো…আরেকটি রংয়ের একই জিনিস পেলাম। সাধারণত পাওয়া যায়না কিন্তু। এটি নিয়ে নিই, কি বল?”

(Hey! Look here. I got the same thing in a different colour, you generally don’t get it. Perhaps I can take it.. what say?)

Oh yeah… loud and clear thats what a lady was telling her partner in Bengali, inside Myers Departmental Store in Queen Street Mall.🙂

So the day began yet again with the ‘oversleeping’ routine. Thankfully the others were running late as well and so there was enough time for me. We returned to the breakfast joint downstairs and after a round of ‘hi, how are you?’, ‘how is your trip going so far?’, ‘lovely morning’….I ordered for the egg and bacon muffin (what else!) again. After breakfast we walked down to the Taxi zone which was empty. Already a few people were waiting. Not too long after we found a cab and went off to work. Bag, jacket, take-away coffee in hand, I don’t think I was looking too much out of place. On the way I spotted the poster for the upcoming movie ‘New Moon’ – the second one in the Twilight Series. It is scheduled for release on the 19th of this month, so I would not be able to make it. And I guess, just like the earlier one, its not releaseing in India.

Sometime mid-morning, I met up with a few others in the cafetaria and we were discussing plans for the weekend. Most of the really impressive sites seem to be around Gold Coast which is about 80 kilometers away from Brisbane. So things are still being planned and cancelled and planned again for the weekend. A colleague, Corina came by with a handful of wonderful smelling flowers (Gardenia) from her garden. She was passing around 1 to each of the ladies. This looks like a smaller version of the flower that we call “Gandharaaj” (গন্ধরাজ), but with an equally divine fragrance.

The day flew by really fast and soon someone came poking for lunch. Today, we went to this Japanese Ramen chain called Ajisen. I’ll have to try hard a bit to remember the name of what I had, but it was a kind of soup and noodles with a lot of salad greens, pork and half an egg served in a big bowl with a wooden ladle. Truly delicious. Post lunch was a rush of meetings and other stuff.

Later during the evening, Chester took us around to the main City area further down Queen Street Mall. On the way we went inside Myers, which was unexpectedly still open (probably for Christmas shopping). We looked around all the floors. In the toy section, there was a 6ft model of Darth Vader made out of black Lego bricks. Super impressive! I was unsure about the store policies and hence did not dare bring out any sort of camera. Maybe I’ll go back later again and see if they allow it. Overall, prices are way too prohibitive, even by general Aussie standards (as per the locals).

We went further down and came by a Hunger Jacks outlet. From what I understood, Hungry Jack’s is really Burger King, but due to a copyright issue they had to change their name in Australia. We found a Singaporean food joint right next to a police station (which btw had also downed shutters at 6 in the evening. so for any emergency, the only way to get to the police was to call the emergency number). Anyways, once inside we ordered for some veggie puffs to check if they were samosas, and satays. Whatever sauce came with the satay was delicious. Meanwhile, I coaxed Chester to teach me how to use chopsticks. Too complicated! And I suspect its not very easy for people with short fingers. Ankit tried it out and very soon he was dangling some salad with it. Next up came a roast duck! It was kind of chewy and had an interesting taste. Chester had also ordered something called ‘Nasi Lamek’. Besides a lot of other things it contained some fried tiny mourola (মৌরলা) fish and a fish sauce on an egg. The fish sauce tasted very much like the famous (and immensely popular!) Sylheti Shidol Chutney (a kind of pungent sauce made with a dry fish known as Shidol and is very much a cultural thing for Sylhetis).

All through the meal we spoke about various things like, life in our countries, living in multicultural environments, misconception about Chinese food, postal system of Australia, expenses of flying back home etc. etc. Bottom line.. another evening spent in excellent company (never knew Chester could be so funny!) with some great food and conversation.

After a cab-ride back to the apartment its time for some more pages of ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’. Meanwhile, Chester gave me a musical toy armadillo which has been playing a tune of some kind since the past 5 minutes. I am not sure if it has another switch to turn it off. Let me go check before the battery runs out!

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