Thursday, July 17, 2008

Snippet from a countryside

I just came back from holiday in Buckland Valley near Bright. The mesmerising view of snow-capped mountain, chestnut trees and vineyard are breathtaking. The place where i was staying is also offering a relaxing experience in a very different way: fireplace, a proper espresso machine, plasma TV, comfortable king size bed, and L'Occitane body care products. All of these modern stuffs give you a huge sense of familiarity of urban luxurious life. Yet, fresh and clean air, the bush and the farms send constant reminders of how far away i was from a familiar and modern urban life.

The Bright itself sucks, i must say. It is a small town in which its busyness owes much from tourists who want to go for skiing or just playing in the snow. However, i am not saying that all small towns have nothing to offer. There are few good places to eat at Bright. Simone's has a raving review in several culinary and travel mags and website. It is Italian-inspired dish and i didn't go as having driven three hours from Melbourne only to find Italian food is not really adventurous. What i expected is a sort of rustic country-style food which use local produce. Not far away from Bright there is a small town called Milawa in which their local produce could lure Nigella Lawson to include Milawa into her retirement plan. Their cheeses are fantastic! It has also a small olive shop which sells variety of olive products. Of their products, the winner is, i think, a small olive marinated with lemon and orange zest. Some wineries are also located in Milawa and the big one is Brown Brothers.

Speaking of wine, i fail to understand how people become a wine aficionado. It requires a highly sensitive palate to be such an expert who is able to describe the structure of wine. These days many people in my generation have been grown up with packaged foods such as fish fingers and take away. Surely, preservative and flavour enhancers we have consumed can cause calluses on our tongue. When i stopped at the winery and saw people testing the wine, i wasn't impressed at all. About four people surrounded the table and each had a glass of wine in their hands. They sniffed, looked at the colour, and swirled the glass before take a good sip. You can blame my philistine tongue for my failure to tell the difference between Merlot and Cabaret Sauvignon. To me these people are no more than glorified pissheads. As internet connection become more accessible, it probably takes few hours for people to bluff about their expertise on wine. Just perusing wikipedia before testing it, and careful but excessive use of adjectives, it will give people under impression that you are such a connoisseur.

The use of adjective words when describing wine is apparently very crucial. If you check the label on the bottle, at least four or five adjective words are used. When i was in this cafe at a little vineyard located in Mount Beauty, i counted how many adjective that they use in every type of wine. There is one particular type, either red or white wine i can't recall, that uses twelve adjective words! Twelve adjective in more or less than 50 words is excessive. It's like reading 14 years old's love poetry. Yet, you can't call it cheesy with wine. I thought flowery words might be a trick to persuade people to buy them. However, i was gobsmacked to notice the style of writing in the book The Science and Art of Wine that i found on the studio. It's full of adjective: vibrant, elegant, smooth, silky, refreshing, intense, supple and so on.

I haven't had a long chat with these connoisseurs but would love to take the piss out of them. There was one moment i remembered but it wasn't about wine but an expert in general. A girl came to cafe where i work and asked the flavour of muffin that we sell at that time. She told me that she is a bit picky about her muffin. In my response, "So you seem to be a muffin connoisseur, why don't you write up a muffin review in a culinary mag?". This poor girl took it seriously and went on about what good muffin should be like and liked the idea of writing up a muffin review. I was laughing my head off after she disappeared from my sight. Her response to my taking-the-piss-question has a lingering finish, nevertheless.

Mt Beauty

Lake Catani

Trees recovering from bushfire at Mt Bufallo

Buckland Valley

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Who Needs a Historian?

First semester has finished and that really excites me as during holiday term i can be a social creature again. Next semester will be commencing in late July and this will be my last semester before i graduate. No doubt i am very stoked about this, yet at the same time anxiety starts to step in. 'What i am gonna do next?' is the important question to which i should find the answer.

Usually i often get asked by people about my life when i told them that this year is my last year at uni. Mostly they are surprised when i told them that i am studying history and then throwing a question of what sort of job that i am going to do after this? My response will normally be beginning with 'mmmm, uh, ummm, well'. Maybe a writer, or journalist, research assistant, or could do anything different to my field. It's hard to answer this sort of question as it relates to my big plan in life and ultimately links to my being. Sometimes i wish i could say to them: Thank you very much for being concerned with my life, i was happy before you asked me 'what sort of job that i am gonna do'!

Some people suggested that i could be a teacher. I thought this idea is good but then i realised that i am interested more in the history of sexuality, which makes the idea of being teacher is bad. I can't imagine if some parents will be happy to hear from their children about what they've learnt at history class.

What did you learn today darling? Well, i learnt about fellatio in England during late 19th century mum! And guess what? Buggery was common amongst sailors but they didn't call that homosexual! Mum! Mum! Are you alright?

Most international students in Australia are seldom doing Arts degree. Engineering, commerce, science, or even hospitality are sort of majors that they are doing. Maybe i am a stupid migrant because i just follow what i like without thinking about the available opportunity in the future. Sometimes i think that i should have chosen commerce or accounting or something similar and would have been working in a big office in the city, having 9-5 routine and wearing nice suits everyday.

I really don't know what happens next. The plan is to do honours degree next year and after that i will find a job. If i am not that lucky, you might see me selling Big Issues magazine or roasted chestnut. Or i might call your home during your leisure time and offer a fantastic deal of holiday plan, or ask you random question about particular products.