Hi From Sydney!

I’m in Sydney for AIESEC’s 60th Anniversary Cocktail Event, to have a short holiday and see friends. The cocktail event last night was fun and I caught up with some fellow AIESEC alumni I hadn’t seen for years. At least 7 of us who attended the December 2000 WANC (Western Australian National Conference) in Perth were there: Dan, Josh, Lil, Brea, Trent, Brett and myself. Afterwards we went to the Slip-Inn and then Cargo.

I’m staying in Dave’s pad in Pyrmont, next to Darling Harbour. Coincidentally, it is also very close to the Hotel Ibis, where I stayed in 1998 for U2’s Popmart tour concert, the last time I was overnight in Sydney.

The weather is beautiful and I should get off this computer and hit the town…

Persimmon Season

The 2008 persimmon season is peaking in South Australia. The above Riverland-grown fruit were purchased at the brilliant Sunday morning Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market. I first fell in love with persimmons in Turkey where they are known as ‘cennet meyvesi’ (‘heaven fruit).

Whereas persimmons sold in Turkey are largely astringent and sold very ripe, soft and squishy, I’ve only seen hard, non-astringent fruit in Australia.

Although hard non-astringent fruit are delicious to eat, I prefer softer persimmons and have a basket full ripening in the dining room.

Lost: One IKEA Virginity

Yesterday I saw the inside of an IKEA store for the first time. IKEA Adelaide is located next to the Airport on Sir Donald Bradman Drive (the old Burbridge Road), Richmond. Not bad for someone who’s visited 19 IKEA countries 🙂

My main reason to visit IKEA was to take the niece and nephew to a free Mother’s Day children’s promotion. Afterwards, the kids showed me around the shop-they knew every corner and attraction. I didn’t have much time or peace for a proper look but enough to grab a 5-pack of coat hangers for $1.50.

After checking out we ate a $1.00 hotdog at the IKEA cafe. The pink artificial sausage in a lifeless white bun was almost worth the money and I swear it suited vegetarians (not containing any meat).

From my short visit I could see how IKEA keeps its overheads low:
– Utilising the space from the shop floor to the roof to store excess stock
– Minimal input required to transform pallets from container storage to shop-floor readiness
– Not allowing shopping trolleys in the car park
– Only opening one huge IKEA market in a city instead of several smaller outlets

After observing so much ugly nationalism in different parts of the world I enjoyed the pleasant nationalism on display at IKEA. The products contained Scandinavian names and there was a Swedish food section. I write “nationalism” because there is no real reason for a global brand like IKEA to promote these things (besides creating an image) and it struck me being odd for such a place to promote Swedish food.

I’m sure I will return to IKEA sooner than the 30 years the first visit has taken, particularly if I need to furnish a house in the future.