Saturday, December 17, 2005

the continuing tassie saga

it's true: i'm waking every morning and saying to myself "girl, you're not just down under, you're in freaking tas-mania." how often can one say that you're, um, enjoying, the benefits of a cappuccino made in a cheerful rancilio s-27 in an internet cafe in northwest tassie?

as the amazing aussie barista judge paul haddon warned me, here in rural oz, you will often find that the coffee is made by carefully tamping nescafe in the portafilter before giving it a nice 10-second run. then they sweetly steam the milk mermaid-stiff.

the tasmanians have hearts of gold, being salt-of-the-earth miners, herders, fruit-growers, and fisherfolk. they really work hard to tamp the instant nicely!

it's just that they honestly don't know better; my suggestion is when in rural north tassie to stick to a beer and a chat over a package of nobby's porky bits. i hope you like waylon.

this is the hard part for me, as frankly, i've always been more of a willie person. . . (see? i'm learning aussie humor!) imagine if all of tennessee were blue-state people. . .in tassie it's true!

but the advantage here is that you can see a wider spectrum of the ozzie soul than in sydney, which i'm reliably informed by my new friends in strahan is just too flash to be truly australian.

tasmania can be ineffably beautiful and green; as i said before, think boulder, co., but with the weather of seattle. the bccy lifestyle isn't widespread here, unlike in sydney, so i don't have any chocolate or yoga news to report to you today.

i have seen many iconic animals in the wild -- the tasmanian devil, the echidna, the bennett's or red-necked wallaby, the sneak-thief currawong who will streak off with anything remotely edible if you set it down, kookaburras (they really do laugh), and huge wombats that resemble teddy bears, if your teddy bear happens to be the size of a dishwasher. these animals are so docile they just wander past you without fear.

we even saw the wake of a wild platypus in dove lake. the vegetation is a mix of tree ferns, grey gums, pepper trees, tea tees, small juniper, a striking red moss that grows on the white quartzite rocks. . .quite beautiful and so different than sydney.

i return to sydney in a few days after a short stay in hobart, where i have a date with oomph coffee. tassies describe hobart as a mini-vancouver, b.c., with an artsy, bohemian san francisco feel.

but it will be great to return to paul bassett's for a nice long black made from his fantastic rio harrar. . .then it's off to port douglas after a few days. . .

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